Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students brainstorm traits that help organisms survive in their environment, identifying them as structural, behavioural or physiological. They then explore how adaptations only help an animal thrive in their particular habitat. Students will create a poster showing the adaptations of a newly discovered subspecies that allow the organism to survive in its habitat. They will also learn about mimicry and research plant and animal mimicry.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand that adaptations, or adaptive traits, help an animal survive and reproduce under the specific biotic and abiotic factors in their environment
  • Students understand how to identify and describe the adaptations of specific animals
  • Students understand the biotic and abiotic factors in an environment
  • Students understand the advantages of mimicry in relation to a specific plant or animal.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCritical ThinkingProblem SolvingTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

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)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS174)

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-9WS, SC5-14LW.

General capabilities: Literacy, Creative and Critical Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students analyse how biological systems function and respond to external changes with reference to interdependencies, energy transfers and flows of matter. They evaluate others’ methods and explanations from a scientific perspective and use appropriate language and representations when communicating their findings and ideas to specific audiences.

Topic: Biodiversity, Sustainability.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Backyard Bush Blitz – Year 9.

Time required: 75 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and activities.

Resources required: 

  • A3 paper or a digital poster-making app.
  • Device capable of accessing the internet and presenting a video to the class (optional)
  • Bush Blitz Information Sheet – one animal per pair
  • Student devices capable of creating audiovisual recordings, such as iPads or cameras
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.

Keywords: Adaptations, ecosystems, mimicry, bush blitz, survival, animals, biotic, abiotic.

Bush Blitz is Australia’s largest nature discovery program run by EarthWatch who kindly provided the images in these lessons. Thank you to the Ian Potter Foundation and John T Reid Charitable Trusts for generously supporting the development of these lessons.

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

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will…

  • … understand that adaptations, or adaptive traits, help an animal survive and reproduce under the specific biotic and abiotic factors of their environment
  • ... understand how to identify and describe the adaptations of specific animals
  • … understand the biotic and abiotic factors in an environment
  • ... understand the advantages of mimicry in relation to a specific plant or animal.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … predict outcomes and provide justifications
  • … create an informative poster
  • … conduct research and communicate findings
  • ... work collaboratively and independently.

Teacher content information: It is estimated there are 435,000-510,000 undiscovered species in Australia. 45% of the land and over 90% of our marine areas have never been comprehensively surveyed by scientists, leaving a massive gap in our knowledge of Australia’s biodiversity and the impacts of land use. Bush Blitz is a project aiming

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: A dolphin’s body has similar water-retaining processes to a desert animal. Why is this so, when it is surrounded by water?

Flipped Classroom

Prior to participating in this lesson, complete the following flipped classroom activity.

Watch this clip on Biotic and Abiotic Factors - (https://youtu.be/0mjafH5pVLA) (3:45mins). Once complete, respond to the following:

1. Define biotic factors and give three examples

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2. Define abiotic factors and give four examples

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Adaptations Brainstorm

Note down the things that you SEE, THINK and WONDER when you watch the following clip:

Adaptations of Sea Snakes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8E_I4AgsIok).

What do I SEE? What do I THINK? What do I WONDER?

Adaptation Posters

In pairs, draw a Bush Blitz animal and label its adaptations. You could use an A3 sheet of paper or a poster app, like Canva.

Requirements:

  • First, describe the environment the animal
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