Activity Introduction

cc-secondary5-heroQuick summary: During this lesson students will design and carry out a survey, collecting data on the mini-beast populations of the schoolyard. Students are asked to collect and analyse data from a primary source and draw conclusions in the context of the situation. They will practise creating stem-and-leaf plots using authentic data that they have collected from their local environment.

This lesson is designed to be taught outside. It contains all the tools required for students to reap the benefits of being outdoors while learning the outcomes of the Australian Curriculum. By spending time outdoors and connecting to nature, students are more likely to care for and conserve nature as adults.


Learning goals:

  • Students recognise the differences between primary and secondary data and understand the benefits of each of them.
  • Students understand how to display and describe data using column graphs and stem-and-leaf plots.
  • Students recognise the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside.

21st century skills:

tree tally skills cc

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 9 Mathematics

  • Identify everyday questions and issues involving at least one numerical and at least one categorical variable, and collect data directly and from secondary sources (ACMSP228)
  • Construct back-to-back stem-and-leaf plots and histograms and describe data, using terms including ‘skewed’, ‘symmetric’ and ‘bi modal’ (ACMSP282)
  • Compare data displays using mean, median and range to describe and interpret numerical data sets in terms of location (centre) and spread (ACMSP283)

General capabilities: Numeracy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Mathematics achievement standards: Students compare techniques for collecting data from primary and secondary sources. They make sense of the position of the mean and median in skewed, symmetric and bi-modal displays to describe and interpret data.

Topic: Outdoor Learning, Biodiversity.

Unit of work: Outdoor Learning Unit.

Time required: 100 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity and facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. One copy of the Mini-Beast Tally – Table and Mini-Beast Tally – Analysis of Class Data for each group. One copy of the Mini-Beast Tally – Group Analysis for each student. One copy of the Stem-and-leaf plot practice sheet for individuals or pairs. Sampling Instructions – Quadrat Sampling. 4 metre length piece of string, four pegs (optional) and a small piece of paper for each group.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Data, statistics, primary source, outdoor learning.

Cool Australia would like to thank the Albert George & Nancy Caroline Youngman Trust – managed by Equity Trustees.

Youngman Trust Logo

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


Teacher Worksheet

cc-secondary1-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will understand the differences between primary and secondary data and will recognise why we might use both types of data. Students will know how to display and describe data using column graphs and stem-and-leaf plots. Finally, students will recognise the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside.

Outdoor learning information:

Outdoor Learning Series (


To help guide teachers through suggested activities in this lesson, we have developed a series of icons designed to show what types of activities are involved and where these activities may take place (see Learning Activity Key below).

learning activity icons key updated-v3

This lesson is designed to support students and teachers undertaking the Outdoor Learning Unit. Click here to

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What would we do without worms?


What was the most frequently occurring mini-beast?

Do you think this was a useful way of collecting data about the environment? Why or why not?

What are the limitations of quadrat sampling?

When you were looking at the other group’s totals do you think this was Primary or Secondary data?

What do you think are the benefits of primary data?

What are the benefits of secondary data?

Mini-beasts are a vital part of part of our environment. How can you use the information you gathered to help improve the habitats for mini-beasts in your schoolyard?

- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.