Activity Introduction

Activity details: In this prior learning activity, students begin to understand the concept of biodiversity and explore why there is poor public understanding of the word.

Learning goals for this activity include:

1. Understand the complexity of the concept – ‘Biodiversity’.

2. Investigate and research real world concepts of biodiversity.

Module: Biodiversity

Year levels: 9 and 10

Indoor or outdoor activity: Indoor

Duration of activity:  30 mins

Learning areas addressed: Science, English, Geography, ICT.

Teacher input: Facilitate students in sharing their ideas about an alternative.

Resources needed: Writing material, internet access, computers.

Homework and extension opportunities: None.

Australian Curriculum Link:

Year 9 Science :

  • Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems (ACSSU176)

Year 10 Science:

  • Scientific understanding, including models and theories, are contestable and are refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community (ACSHE191) 

Syllabus Outcomes: SC5-12ES, SC5-14LW

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet


As a prior learning activity, provide students with minimal input. Keep their work and revisit this activity at the end of the unit of work when students can modify their definition.

In this unit students will explore the concept of biodiversity, which is a multifaceted term that has many different meanings. 


1. Write on a whiteboard or smartboard ‘Biowhat?’

2. Tell students that when the BBC asked members of the public what they thought biodiversity was, the most common answer was 'a kind of washing powder'. Discuss the problem with this misinterpretation. If people don't understand the complex concept of biodiversity, how can we expect them to help with conserving it? 

3. Instruct students that they have five minutes to Google 'biodiversity' and copy and past as many definitions as possible into a word document.

4. Students need to create a word cloud using Wordle ( Wordle is a tool for generating 'word clouds' from text that you provide.

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Student Worksheet

Did you know that when the BBC asked members of the public what they thought biodiversity was, the most common answer was 'a kind of washing powder'?

You have five minutes to Google 'biodiversity' and copy and paste as many definitions as possible into a Word document. Use Wordle ( to create a word cloud for biodiversity. The cloud produced will give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. Print or save your cloud.

Example of Wordle for 'Ecosystem'.

1) Which words are most prominent in your biodiversity cloud?

2) What are the three factors you must consider when defining biodiversity?

3) Explain why it is important to understand these three factors when thinking about conservation


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