Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will understand the steps needed to undertake a bush blitz in their schoolyard to find what animals live there. Students will work in small groups to observe, record and report back on what they find in the microhabitats in their schoolyard.

Although this lesson can be taught by itself, it also forms the fourth lesson in a unit of eight lessons that can be delivered in sequence to take your students through a complete backyard sustainability project.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand why a bush blitz is important
  • Students understand the role of teamwork in collecting animals
  • Students understand the role of entomologists.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingCultural UnderstandingEmpathy

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5 English

  • Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations for defined audiences and purposes incorporating accurate and sequenced content and multimodal elements (ACELY1700)
  • Clarify understanding of content as it unfolds in formal and informal situations, connecting ideas to students’ own experiences and present and justify a point of view (ACELY1699)

Year 5 Science

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)
  • Identify, plan and apply the elements of scientific investigations to answer questions and solve problems using equipment and materials safely and identifying potential risks (ACSIS086)
  • Decide variables to be changed and measured in fair tests, and observe measure and record data with accuracy using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS087)

Year 6 English

  • Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)
  • Make connections between students’ own experiences and those of characters and events represented in texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1613)

Year 6 Science

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)
  • Identify, plan and apply the elements of scientific investigations to answer questions and solve problems using equipment and materials safely and identifying potential risks (ACSIS103)
  • Decide variables to be changed and measured in fair tests, and observe measure and record data with accuracy using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS104)

Syllabus outcomes: EN3-1A, EN3-8D, ST3-10LW, ST3-4WS, ST3-11LW.

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 5 English achievement standards: Students contribute actively to class and group discussions, taking into account other perspectives. 

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how the form of living things enables them to function in their environments. Students predict the effect of changing variables when planning an investigation and communicate their ideas and findings using multimodal texts.

Relevant parts of Year 6 English achievement standards: Students contribute actively to class and group discussions, using a variety of strategies for effect.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things. Students design investigations into simple cause-and-effect relationships, and construct multimodal texts to communicate ideas, methods and findings.

Topic: Biodiversity, Sustainability.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Backyard Bush Blitz – Years 5 & 6.

Time required: Minimum 3 hours. 

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – minimal scaffolding if the class has completed the previous lessons. High if teachers have not completed the previous lessons.

Resources required: 

  • A2 birds eye maps of school grounds
  • Beat sheets
  • Berlese funnel traps
  • Recorder Worksheet
  • Reporter Worksheet
  • Clipboard
  • Insect nets
  • iPad for each group (optional)
  • Magnifying box
  • Magnifying glass
  • Paper
  • Pencils (coloured and writing)
  • Pens
  • Pitfall traps
  • Pooter
  • Ruler (for each group)
  • String (for each group).
  • Student Worksheet
  • Watch

Related professional development: Teach Science Inquiry in the Primary Classroom.

Keywords: Mapping, jobs, traps, insects, teamwork, schoolyard, habitats, spiders, observations, collections, ecology, leave no trace, identification, I-Naturalist.

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 why a bush blitz is important
  • ... understand the role of teamwork in collecting animals
  • ... understand the role of entomologists.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … explain how to carry out a bush blitz
  • … describe how to use an insect collection method safely
  • … actively contribute to a team environment while collecting insects
  • … evaluate and discuss improvements to the scientific process
  • … identify what has been collected
  • … share and compare findings with another group.

Teacher content information: Although it is possible to teach this lesson in isolation, it forms part of a unit of eight lessons designed to introduce place-based learning to your class and to encourage students to consider what is in their backyard and school grounds. To allow flexibility for you and your students, the design of this unit is such that you can work through all eight lessons in sequence.

Place-based le

...
 
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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Over 90% of the animals on earth are invertebrates.

Scientists Work In Teams

There are several different roles involved in finding new species. Read through these different roles in the table below.

Your group will be assigned one or more of these roles. Your task is to work collaboratively in your groups to write or draw a description of your assigned role/s in this table.

If you need help working out what your role would do, think about conducting a small role-play activity around an insect collection scenario - this could help you identify the tasks that each role could take on.

Table 1.

Reporter Recorder Observer Catcher

Now work in your groups to think about what equipment your assigned role/s would need to complete their tasks. Record these in the table below:

Table 2.

  Reporter Recorder Observer Catcher
Name
Equipment needed

Reflectio...

 
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