Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students investigate the living things in their yard by completing an observational drawing activity. They begin this lesson by thinking about the living things that can be found in the school yard, and then head outside to participate in a brief observation of these living things using their senses. Students then identify one living thing and draw it, while recording any interesting observations they made. Finally, students share their work in pairs or groups and offer feedback on the work of other students. 

Faber-Castell have long understood the importance of creativity to all people, especially to young people. They are also continuously searching for environmentally friendly processes and high-quality materials to enhance children’s creative experience throughout every development phase. For more information about Faber-Castell, click here.


Learning intention:

  • Students understand what living things can be found in their yard, and can identify what these living things need, their main features and/or the stages of their life cycles.
  • Students understand how to do observational drawing.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Foundation Science

  • Living things have basic needs, including food and water (ACSSU002

Year 1 Science 

  • Living things have a variety of external features (ACSSU017

Year 2 Science

  • Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves (ACSSU030

Foundation to Year 2 Visual Arts

  • Explore ideas, experiences, observations and imagination to create visual artworks and design, including considering ideas in artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists (ACAVAM106)
  • Use and experiment with different materials, techniques, technologies and processes to make artworks (ACAVAM107

Syllabus outcomes: STe-8NE, ST1-10LW, VAS1.1, VAS1.2.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

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

Relevant parts of Foundation Science achievement standards: Students suggest how the environment affects them and other living things.

Relevant parts of Year 1 Science achievement standards: Students describe how different places meet the needs of living things.

Relevant parts of Year 2 Science achievement standards: Students identify that certain materials and resources have different uses.

Relevant parts of Year F-2 Visual Arts achievement standards: Students describe artworks they make and those to which they respond. Students make artworks in different forms to express their ideas, observations and imagination, using different techniques and processes.

Topic: Sustainability.

Unit of work: Creative Sustainability – Foundation to Year 2.

Time required: 60 minutes

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – Lead students in discussion and guide students in observational drawing activity.

Resources required: A range of art tools such as Watercolour Pencils, Jumbo Colour Pencils, Junior Grip Graphite Pencil and paper. Optional: Drawing Techniques handout.

Keywords: Visual arts, observational drawing, nature, sustainability, creativity.

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


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Learning intentions: Students will know what living things can be found in the school yard, and will be able to draw one of these living things and record any interesting observations.

Success criteria: Students can...

  • ... identify what living things are.
  • ... explain what living things need or what their main features are or what some of the stages of their life cycles are.
  • ... do an observational drawing.

Teacher content information: Sustainability describes the ability to keep going at the same rate and in the same (or better) condition as before. In order for our world to be able to sustain us, as well as the generations to come, we need to change. It’s time to think differently - and more creatively - about sustainability and the future of our planet.

Creativity and approaching challenges in a creative way has traditionally been seen as a natural gift, but in fact it can be grown just like a muscle. Creativity is like any other skill. It can be l

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