Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This activity is a quick introduction to ecosystem through the use of a word association game called ‘Mind-Meld’.

Year Level: 9 & 10

Topic: Biodiversity 

Time needed: 20 minutes

Learning goals for this activity include: Students expand their subject-specific vocabulary and develop an understanding of an ecosystem’s components.

Australian Curriculum:

Year 9 Science:  Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems (ACSSU176)


  • exploring interactions between organisms such as predator/prey, parasites, competitors, pollinators and disease
  • examining factors that affect population sizes such as seasonal changes, destruction of habitats, introduced species

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low

Resources needed: Mind-Meld Student Worksheet, paper, pens (if available, mini-white boards).

Digital Technology: None

There’s an app for that: Top-rated app with trusted reference content from & WORKS OFFLINE – no Internet connection needed when searching words. Free. 

Whiteboard Lite: Collaborative Drawing – Collaborate with friends and family with Whiteboard, the easy-to-use collaborative drawing app. Two users can write words or create pictures together over local Wi-Fi or Bluetooth peer-to-peer.

Prior learning: Students should have a basic understanding of ecosystems.

Extension opportunities: This game could be used with a range of other topics.

Key words: Ecosystems, biodiversity, abiotic and biotic components, coral reef, desert, bush land, rainforest.

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 OutcomesSC5-12ES, 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

Teacher Preparation

Overarching learning goals: Students build on their understanding of an ecosystem's components and of subject-specific vocabulary.

Teacher content information:

The biosphere describes our living world, from the upper areas of the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean. Biodiversity is a term used to describe all the living organisms that make up the web of life on Earth. From a microscopic bacteria, to a naked mole rat! Biodiversity consists of three levels: species diversity, ecosystem diversity and genetic diversity - all of which are equaily important when considering conservation.

As the biosphere is too big to study as a whole, scientists study smaller parts called ecosystems. An ecosystem is made up of living things (biotic components) and non-living things (abiotic components) that interact in a particular area called an environment. The key to understanding ecosystems is realising that nothing exists in isolation, but rather all living things are connecte

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starters: Does your mind and your friend's mind work in the same way?

What you need: Student Worksheet, pens.

What to do:

Step 1: Pair up with another student.

Step 2: The whole class will be given a word, for example 'iPod'. Each team member silently writes down three words that come to mind about the word iPods. The aim is for both members of the team to create a mind-meld by coming up with the same word.

Scoring: Each mind-meld scored is worth five points. .

Step 4: The team with the most amount of points after three rounds wins!


Team Name:

Round 1:  1.





Round 2: 1.


Round 3: 1.
Total Score:
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