Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will explore how they view different kinds of animals (e.g. mammals versus insects). They will discover that all animals are important in an ecosystem, not just cute or majestic ones. They will create an adoption profile for an insect to convince the public that they should care about the creature and fund research and conservation for it. They will then present these profiles to the class for evaluation.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand that the general public can influence scientific research and funding
  • Students understand the key role all organisms provide in an ecosystem
  • Students understand how to persuade and inform the general public.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingEmpathyInitiativeSocial SkillsProblem SolvingTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 Science

  • Values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (ACSHE228)
  • 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: SC5-11PW

General capabilities: Literacy, Creative and Critical Thinking, Ethical Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2, OI.7.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Science achievement standards: Students describe social and technological factors that have influenced scientific developments and predict how future applications of science and technology may affect people’s lives. 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, STEM.

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

Time required: 95 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion.

Resources required: 

  • Bush Blitz Information Sheet (one creature per small group)
  • Device capable of presenting a video to the class
  • Poster paper
  • Sticky notes
  • Student devices with internet and audiovisual recording capability
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.

Keywords: Threatened species, funding, ecosystems, public, influence, communication, insects, preservation.

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 the general public can influence scientific research and funding
  • … understand the key role all organisms provide in an ecosystem
  • ... understand how to persuade and inform the general public.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … recognise and reflect on their personal biases
  • … conduct research
  • … communicate ideas informatively and persuasively
  • … evaluate and provide constructive feedback to peers
  • … reflect on their presentation
  • ... 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 to categorise as many plant and animal species as possible to protect our biodivers

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Why is the WWF logo a panda?

What Makes Us Care?

1. If you had to choose between saving the panda or a species of spider, which would you save and why?

2. Research the benefits to an ecosystem of either a spider or a panda. Write them here:

3. Have you changed your mind about the first question? Why/why not?

Adoption Profiles

You are the marketing department for a not-for-profit that wants to save animals that aren’t considered cute and cuddly. You must convince the general public to donate money to your animals.

You will be given a subspecies that has been found in Australia by Bush Blitz. In groups of 3-4, you will create a resource that will inform the public about the importance of your animal, why they should care about its survival and why they should donate money to the cause.

You will create either an adoption-style profile or a reality TV contestant-style profile of the animal. Options: You could record a video, make an informative poster, write

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