Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students complete a survey of the native animals at their school. This lesson includes four activities for gathering survey data and helps students match how various animals use the school grounds. They use indirect and direct observation to survey their school grounds then analysis the results. 

This lesson can be used when working on the Biodiversity Module of ResourceSmart AuSSI Vic Certification. By completing this lesson you will have completed the following actions:

Biodiversity Checklist Compulsory Actions:

  • A1.1 – Have you identified, monitored and documented the native animals at your school? E.g. using motion-sensing cameras in nesting boxes, visual audits, scat and track identification, bird observations or photo point monitoring?

Checklist data goals:

  • No data goals.

Australian Curriculum Links:

Cross curriculum priorities

Sustainability – OI.1 – The biosphere is a dynamic system providing conditions that sustain life on Earth. O1.2 -All life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their wellbeing and survival.

General capabilities

Critical and creative thinking

Explicit content description

Science Year 5

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)

Geography Year 5

  • Locate and collect relevant information and data from primary and secondary sources (ACHASSI095)

Science Year 6

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)

Geography Year 6

  • Locate and collect relevant information and data from primary and secondary sources (ACHASSI123)

Syllabus OutcomesGE3-4ST3-10LW, ST3-11LW

Connecting lessons: Biodiversity audit – must be completed as a compulsory action.

Resources required: Internet access, students worksheet, collecting jars or plastic petrie dishes, school ground map (use Google Maps if hard copy unavailable), Scat identification sheet. Optional: binoculars.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

There’s an app for that:

  • Google Maps: Explore new places, discover local favourites, and navigate your world with Google Maps.
  • Field Guide to Victorian Fauna: Detailed descriptions of animals, maps of distribution, and endangered species status combine with stunning imagery and sounds to provide a valuable reference that can be used in urban, bush and coastal environments.
  • The Michael Morcombe and David Stewart eGuide to the Birds of Australia: The foremost field guide to Australian birds with a comprehensive collection of bird calls.
  • Sea Life Australia: An informative guide to over 200 of the marine animals that live in Australia’s southern habitats. The southern Australian coastline is known for its extraordinarily high number of unique species that are found nowhere else in the world.
  • Bunurong Marine National Park Field Guide: This app presents images and information on over 300 species of marine and coastal animals and plants that can commonly be seen in Bunurong Marine National Park and nearby waters.
  • Project Noah: Project Noah is the best way to share your wildlife encounters and help document our planet’s biodiversity.
  • Field Guide to Pest Animals of Australia: This app contains pest information, distribution maps, photos, animal calls, control information and resource links for 53 pest species.

Keywords: Biodiversity, ecosystem, conservation, audit, survey, species, weeds.

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Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation:

Overarching learning goals:

  • Students recognise there are a range of different native animals at their school.
  • Students understand that animals can be identified through the traces they leave behind as well as through visual sitings.
  • Students understand that there are a range of habitat types at their school.

Teacher content information: Animals need a home. Many are really fussy about where they live and what they can eat. By measuring the number of animal species for different locations in the school, students can show the variation in biodiversity in different school ground habitats. Measuring biodiversity on school grounds can be confusing. It is important to build an understanding of which species are native to the area and which are uninvited weeds.

Students are not expert biologists and can’t be expected to do a comprehensive survey. However, if they use the same survey techniques for different locations, any problems they may have won’t affect t

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: If moths are attracted to the light, why don't they come out in the daytime?

a) Bird survey

Which location: 

For each bird seen, type number 1 or tick the box to mark the behaviours they exhibit.

Behaviour 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.
Sun bathing


b) Soil or leaf/tree mini beasts survey

Which location: 

How many species of mini beasts are there? (This includes the animals caught, plus any distinctive animals that got away.


Where do they like to live? (E.g., on the top of the soil or leaf litter, among dry dead leave

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