Rain is a crucial element to the lifecycle of many species living in the Australian desert. In this wide-ranging lesson, students explore how desert species flourish in the advantageous conditions present after a rainfall, and, conversely, how they have adapted to survive long periods of dry weather. Older students explore the interconnectedness of desert species through a food chain, and how rain can indirectly impact predators that live on the top of the food chain.
In partnership with The Conversation, the Beyond the Bushfires series brings the words of scientists who are actively involved in research and science communication into classrooms throughout Australia. Students will explore evidence-based research embedded in the context of real-world practice.
Additional thanks to the Ian Potter Foundation, John T Reid Charitable Trusts and The Myer Foundation, for generously supporting the development of these lessons
- Students understand how the survival of some native Australian desert species is linked to the cycle of rainfall
- Students understand how the survival of some native Australian desert species is linked to the lifecycles of other desert species.
21st century skills:
Australian Curriculum Mapping
Core Content descriptions:
Year 4 Science
- Living things have life cycles (ACSSU072)
- Living things depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)
Year 6 Science
- The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)
Years 3 & 4 Visual Arts:
- Present artworks and describe how they have used visual conventions to represent their ideas (ACAVAM112)
Extended Content descriptions:
Year 7 Science
- Interactions between organisms, including the effects of human activities, can be represented by food chains and food webs (ACSSU112)
Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.
Relevant parts of Year 4 Science achievement standards: Students describe relationships that assist the survival of living things and sequence key stages in the life cycle of a plant or animal.
Relevant parts of Year 3 & 4 Visual Arts achievement standards: Students use visual conventions, techniques and processes to communicate their ideas.
Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things.
Relevant parts of Year 7 Science achievement standards: Students predict the effect of human and environmental changes on interactions between organisms and classify and organise diverse organisms based on observable differences.
This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: Beyond the Bushfires – Primary
Time required: 50 mins.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – facilitate class discussion, support students in their independent research and artwork
- Art supplies – coloured pencils and textas
- A device capable of presenting a video to the class
- Student Worksheets – one copy per student
- White Paper.
Keywords: flora, fauna, desert, drought, climate, hawk, marsupials, birds, honeyeater, rat, budgerigar, grasshopper
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.