Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students investigate ecosystem diversity by comparing a variety of Australian ecosystems. They identify the key features of ecosystems and suggest the main factors that influence them. They ask questions about the conservation and threats to ecosystems of interest.

Key lessons and understandings of activity: Ecosystems can be understood by investigating its physical characteristics including climate, and the plants and animals that live in them. Most ecosystems are influenced by people’s activities and many are threatened as a result.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 5 Science

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)

Year 5 English

  • Use comprehension strategies to analyse information, integrating and linking ideas from a variety of print and digital sources (ACELY1703)

Year 6 Science

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)

Year 6 English

  • Create literary texts that adapt or combine aspects of texts students have experienced in innovative ways (ACELT1618)

Syllabus OutcomesST3-10LW, ST3-11LWEN3-3A, EN3-7C

Topic: Biodiversity

Year levels: 5 and 6

Indoor or outdoor activity: Indoor

Time required: 45 mins +

Learning areas addressed: Geography, Science.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Lead class discussion and assist with research.

Resources needed: Student Worksheet, writing materials, internet access.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: biodiversity, ecosystem, conservation.

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

Activity 1 - What's in an Ecosystem

Give students three minutes to write three words that come to mind when visualising these ecosystems. They can record them in the Student Worksheet.

- Desert

- Rainforest

- Beach/rocky shore

- Mangrove

- Coral reef

- Mountains

- Burnt eucalyptus forest

- African savannah

- Woodland

- River or lake.

What kind of things did they write?
Did they write words associated with the physical environment or the biological environment.

Use a thinking tool such as a bubble map to organise the students’ ideas about the overall concept of an ecosystem:

  • Have a central bubble with "ecosystem" in it.
  • What physical conditions influence an ecosystem?
  • What are some of the major biological components in an ecosystem?
  • How do people have an influence over many ecosystems?

Activity 2 - Identifying Ecosystems

The Student Worksheet has ten pictures of different ecosystems. Ask students to try to identify the type ecosystem th

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Student Worksheet

Part 1: Three word ecosystem description



Beach/rocky shore


Coral reef


Burnt eucalyptus forest

African Savannah


River or lake

Part 2: Know your ecosystem


Part 3: Research an ecosystem.

My ecosystem is: 

1. How do people use the ecosystem?

2. How might people damage the ecosystem?

3. How can people help the ecosystem remain healthy?

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