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Photo/Illustration Credits: Cover: Photodisc Collection/Getty; pp. 26, 8: Victor Kennedy; p. 7: Eva Cockrille.

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by Dorothy Spangler

Orlando Austin New York San Diego Toronto London

Visit The Learning Site!

Miranda and her pet rabbit, Tico, are full of energy. When Miranda lets Tico out of his cage to play in the back yard, he runs. Zoom! Zoom! Tico can run very fast. Miranda is very fast, too. She runs in races at school. She usually wins! She also plays on a soccer team. She can run down the eld faster than anyone else on her team. Zoom! Zoom! Where does Miranda get all of that energy? Mirandas mother asks. Good question! Where does Miranda get her energy? And where does Tico get his?

Lots of energy

Wanted: Energy!
All living things need energy. Moving, growing, and breathing all take energy. It takes energy to keep your heart pumping. Your body also needs energy to grow your bones and your hair. You even use energy when you think. Guess what? You are using energy just by reading this page! Not all living things use the same amount of energy. A large plant or animal needs more energy than a small plant or animal. An animal that is moving uses more energy than one that is at rest.

Using energy to run

Energy and Food

Miranda and Tico both get their energy from the food they eat. They are food consumers. Plants are food producers. They cannot sit down and eat a meal like Miranda does. They do not have mouths like we do. And they cannot hold a knife and fork! Plants must get their food in a different way than animals do. Plants must make their own food. Plants use their roots and leaves. They send roots down into the soil to nd water. Plants use their leaves to make food.

Energy from food

Plants: Energy Factories

Plants get their energy from the sun. They take in the suns energy through their leaves. Plants use the suns energy to help make their food. They also use a gas called carbon dioxide that is in the air. When plants make their food, a different gas is left over. That gas is oxygen. Oxygen is the gas that we need to breathe. The food that plants make is called carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are an important fuel for energy in animals. Fruits contain carbohydrates, and so do pasta and beans. All of these foods come from plants. You can think of a plant as an energy factory. Plants make and store the energy that is needed for all life on this planet.
ne su ns e rg y

Making energy

Food Chains
A food chain describes how energy and matter go from one living thing to another in the form of food. The tree in Mirandas yard has leaves. The leaves are eaten by worms. A bird eats one of the worms. Look out! The neighbors cat is trying to catch the bird! This food chain is: tree leaf > worm > bird > cat Sometimes a large animal hunts and eats a small animal. This is a predator food chain. The large animal is the predator. The small animal is the prey. The worm is prey to the bird. The bird is prey to the cat. Sometimes a small animal feeds on a larger one. This is a parasite food chain. The small animal is the parasite. The large animal is the host. A ea is one type of parasite. Can you nd the ea from the neighbors cat?
Host and parasite

The food web in Mirandas yard





tree leaf cricket

A food source may be eaten by more than one animal. Both birds and lizards eat the crickets in CXEFL07ARD24_ALR_6T_fpo.eps MirandasText_ back HSPyard. Vag Rounded Bold _ 12pt. Every large system, like a eld or forest, has many feeding relationships. This is a food web.

Energy for Life

Why is energy so important? Without energy, there would be no life. All living things are connected by energy. Plants get energy from the sun. Animals get their energy from plants and other animals. Next time you eat a meal, think about this. You are getting energy from your food! Here is Tico eating a spinach leaf. He is getting energy from it. Miranda has a race at school tomorrow. Do you think she will eat a good breakfast to get energy for the race? You know that she will. Zoom! Zoom!

Energy for Tico

Think and Write

1. Think about how you feel when you have no energy. What things do you want to do? 2. Now think about how you feel when you have lots of energy. What things do you want to do? 3. Plants are important for making energy. Which plants do you eat to get energy? 4. Descriptive Writing Write a paragraph that tells how a bird catches a worm, or how a cat catches a mouse.

Hands-On Activity
Zoom! Zoom! Draw a picture of something you like to do when you have lots of energy.

School-Home Connection
Animal List Have family members help you list several different predator animals and prey animals.