Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students explore food chains using local species and Earthwatch’s ClimateWatch citizen science program. Students begin this lesson by investigating how energy flows through a food chain and look at the range of trophic levels that may be present in a food chain. They then work in groups to use the ClimateWatch app to guide research into a species in their local area, and make hypotheses on how climate change might impact these species. Students then create a scientific poster to share their work with the class.

 

This lesson has been developed in partnership with Earthwatch. Earthwatch developed the ClimateWatch program with the Bureau of Meteorology and The University of Melbourne to understand how changes in temperature and rainfall are affecting the seasonal behaviour of Australia’s plants and animals. 

 

 

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand how food chains can help us comprehend the relationships between species.
  • Students understand how climate change might affect species in their local area.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 7 Science

  • Interactions between organisms, including the effects of human activities can be represented by food chains and food webs (ACSSU112)
  • Classification helps organise the diverse group of organisms (ACSSU111)
  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions based on evidence (ACSIS130)
  • Communicate ideas, findings and evidence based solutions to problems using scientific language, and representations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS133)

Year 8 Science

  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions based on evidence (ACSIS145)
  • Use scientific knowledge and findings from investigations to evaluate claims based on evidence (ACSIS234)
  • Communicate ideas, findings and evidence based solutions to problems using scientific language, and representations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS148)

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-7WS, SC4-8WS, SC4-9WS, SC4-14LW, SC4-15LW.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, ICT Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.2.

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. They summarise data from different sources, and communicate their ideas, methods and findings using scientific language and appropriate representations. 

Relevant parts of Year 8 Science achievement standards: Students use appropriate language and representations to communicate science ideas and findings in a range of text types.

Topic: Biodiversity, Climate Change.

Unit of work: ClimateWatch: Citizen Science – Science – Years 7 & 8.

Time needed: 60 minutes.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activities and lead students in discussion.

Resources required: Poster-making materials. Internet access. Tablets with ClimateWatch app installed. Enough Scientific Poster Assessment Rubrics for each student to make peer reviews on at least 3 of their peers (reduce paper usage by printing in this sheet in A5, two to an A4 page). Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class.

Digital technology opportunities: ClimateWatch app.

Keywords: Earthwatch, ClimateWatch, citizen science, biodiversity, food chains, climate change, environment, citizen science, app.

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 understand how food chains can help us comprehend the relationships between species.
  • Students understand how climate change might affect species in their local area.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... describe what a food chain is, in their own words.
  • ... create a food chain.
  • ... hypothesise how climate change might affect species in their local area.
  • ... create a scientific poster.
  • ... use the ClimateWatch app.

Teacher content information: ClimateWatch is a citizen science initiative developed by Earthwatch that seeks to educate people from across Australia on the issue of climate change and empower them to contribute to solutions. Through its ClimateWatch program, Earthwatch works with educators to help them bring their experiences back to the classroom to foster new generations of environmental leaders. By incorporating ClimateWatch into curriculum, students and teachers will become more knowledgeable abo

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Are you part of a food chain?

Types of relationships between organisms:

  • Producer – producers are organisms that make their own food (also known as autotrophs). They get their energy from chemicals or the sun and are able to convert this energy into food. Plants are the most common type of producers. Through photosynthesis green plants are able to convert sunlight and water into food. Producers are at the beginning of the food chain; they produce and provide nutrients and compounds for other organisms in the food chain.
  • Consumer – Organisms that need to eat food to obtain their energy (also known as a heterotroph). Consumers often eat other organisms or organic matter.
  • Decomposer (or Detritivore) – Organisms who feed on dead or decaying material, and in doing so perform the natural process of decomposition. Examples of decomposers include fungi and bacteria.
  • Herbivore – An animal that feeds on plants.
  • Carnivore – An animal that feeds on other animals.
  • Omn
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