Activity Introduction

Module: Biodiversity

Year levels: 7 and 8

Activity details: Students investigate and compare ecosystems.

Learning goals for this activity include:

1. Identify major features of ecosystems to distinguish between them.

2. Apply the concept of ecosystems to familiar locations.

3. Understand that small changes within an ecosystem can impact on many of the plants and animals that make up the ecosystem.

Indoor or outdoor activity: Indoor

Duration of activity: 60 mins+

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

Teacher input: Assist students in understanding the concept of ecosystems.

Resources needed: Internet and library access and writing materials or tablets if available.

Homework and extension opportunities: Some parts of this activity can be set as homework.

Australian Curriculum Link:

Year 7 Science:

  • There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (ACSSU111)
  • Interactions between organisms can be described in terms of food chains and food webs; human activity can affect these interactions (ACSSU112)
  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions (ACSIS130)

Year 8 Science:

  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions (ACSIS145)

Syllabus OutcomesSC4-7WS, SC4-14LW, SC4-15LW

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


Teacher Worksheet


In general, biodiversity refers to the variety and number of different species in a community. But in greater depth, biodiversity is described as the combination of genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. This helps us understand that biodiversity is the full variety of life forms on Earth, the genes they contain and the ecosystems they are part of. One of the key elements to biodiversity is the idea that everything is interconnected and relies on each other. This concept is extremely important in building a sustainable future and in helping conservationists do a much better job.

Living organisms are interdependent and require special conditions to survive. Understanding ecosystems and ecosystem diversity enables us to better protect our natural environment.

Activity outline

Students work in small groups and access information from the web, dictionary, library and/or textbooks.

This activity has three parts:

1.     Students develop a definition

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Student Worksheet

Student Instructions:

1. Ecosystem definition

Use web-based references to produce a clear definition for an ecosystem. Give your group definition to another group to be peer reviewed and in turn peer review another groups work. Review the feedback and refine your groups definition. Select a representative to read your definition to the class.






2. Ecosystem description

As a group select an Australian ecosystem. Make a list of the interactions that occur in this ecosystem. Think carefully about the living and non-living factors. What is the most important features of this ecosystem? Then identify and write any additional important information.






 3. Mapping 10 ecosystems

Using a map and the web locate ten ecosystems within at least 50 km - 100 km from your homes. Locate a place or shade an area where each ecosystem is located. Give each ecosystem a descriptive name that highlights its most important feature or features (does not need to be a scientific

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