How Do Plants, Animals, and People Get Energy?

Contributor: Nichole Brooker. Lesson ID: 11573

What does the sun do for us, besides warm and tan us? What is it made of, and how does it work? Energize yourself to learn how we get energy from the sun, then create a comic strip to teach others!


Life Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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All living things on Earth need the sun to live. Without the sun, we could not live. Find out how the sun helps to sustain all life on Earth with the energy it produces!

As the closest star to Earth, the sun is our main source of energy for all living things.

Plants get energy from the sun. Hmmm . . . You may wonder how the sun gives energy to plants.

The sun is made of several gasses, and when these gasses combine together, they create energy. Plants use this energy to make food for themselves in a process called photosynthesis, and that food gives the plant energy to grow. It is a very important process that makes human life possible!


People and animals do not get energy directly from the sun, like plants. We do, however, get our nutrients from plants that gain energy from the sun. Even if you eat meat, that meat comes from animals who ate plants to get their energy, and in turn, the plants got their energy from the sun.

  • What's that process called?

Tell your parent or teacher the name of the process from which plants get energy from the sun.

That's right, photosynthesis. As you can see, the sun helps create a cycle of energy that is passed from plants to animals! Without the energy from the sun, human beings would not have food to eat and would not survive.

carbon cycle

Here are other examples of how the energy of the sun converts to energy for living organisms:

  • Sunlight > plants > small animals > snake > hawk
  • Sunlight > plants > bunny > coyote
  • Sunlight > plants > deer > human
  • Sunlight > plants > cow > human
  • Sunlight > plants > chicken > human

As you can see, there are endless examples of how the energy from the sunlight affects living organisms.

In the next section, you will use your new knowledge to fill out a worksheet.

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