Activity Introduction

honeyeater-photoframeQuick summary: This lesson is designed for a flipped classroom, where students learn new content by watching a video in their own time. This strategy provides the opportunity for students to build their knowledge, attitudes and values by themselves, thereby freeing up class time for hands-on work.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand the basic principles of ecosystem ecology, including tropic levels and interactions between biotic and abiotic elements.
  • Students build their thinking and questioning skills.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 9 Science

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

Time needed: 30 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – allow students to explore the topic independently.

Resources required: Internet, laptops and earphones, Student Worksheet.

Key words: Ecosystems, ecology.

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


Teacher Worksheet

wetland-photoframeTeacher Preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students take responsibility for their own learning by watching a video on ecosystem ecology and completing a thinking routine.

The Flipped Lesson

This lesson provides the opportunity for students to explore/build their current knowledge, attitudes and values about ecosystems. While working independently, students are to view the following video and complete tables on the student worksheet. Teachers will also gain insight from students’ responses which can be used to plan other activities.

This visual thinking tool can be useful in examining how and why student thinking has changed based on learning specific content information. It also helps to develop their reasoning abilities and to recognise cause and effect relationships.

NOTE: It is only essential for students to watch the first seven minutes to be able to answer the questions on the Student Worksheet. However, the remaining three minutes are also useful in understanding ecosyst

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Can ecosystems exist indoors?


Before watching the following clip, answer the question below.

In your own words, describe what is meant by 'ecosystem':

Ecosystem Ecology: Links in the Chain - Crash Course Ecology #7 (


After watching the video, complete the following questions and table:

What is ecosystem ecology?

Why is it hard to define an ecosystem?

How can an ecosystem be measured?

What is the relationship between food chains and trophic structure?


How are the ideas and information presented CONNECTED to what you already knew?

What new ideas did you get that EXTENDED or pushed your thinking in new directions?

What is still CHALLENGING or confusing for you to get your mind around? What questions or puzzles do you now have?

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