Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Introduced species are a huge problem in Australia. They can outcompete native species, and introduced predators can take advantage of prey that haven’t adapted to their presence.

In this lesson, students will cover a number of case studies analysing the ways introduced species can outcompete native species and the negative impact introduced species have had on Australian plants and animals, of which Lord Howe Island is just one example. They will then write a persuasive letter to inform and convince influential members of the community to join Lord Howe Island’s conservation efforts and continue the fight against introduced species across all of Australia.

These lessons were made possible with thanks to Joshua Yeldham.

Cool Australia also wishes to recognise Ian Hutton. Ian is a trained biologist, amongst many other skills, and has been living on Lord Howe Island since 1980. He is the author of 11 books on Lord Howe Island, including the most recent 264 page beautiful coffee table book on the World Heritage values of Lord Howe Island, contributed to some 60 papers and articles working with scientists across numerous fields, run a number of conservation and research project, and has been employed as a location guide for film documentary projects. If you are visiting Lord Howe Island, get in touch with Ian for a private guided tour, as he is keen to share his passion for the island and its environment.

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand how introduced species outcompete native species
  • Students will understand how specific introduced species have negatively affected native plants and animals in Australia.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCritical ThinkingProblem SolvingSocial SkillsTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 8 Geography:

  • Human causes and effects of landscape degradation (ACHGK051)
  • Ways of protecting significant landscapes (ACHGK052)
  • Evaluate sources for their reliability and usefulness and select, collect and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS056)
  • Present findings, arguments and ideas in a range of communication forms selected to suit a particular audience and purpose; using geographical terminology and digital technologies as appropriate (ACHGS061)
  • Reflect on their learning to propose individual and collective action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social considerations, and predict the expected outcomes of their proposal (ACHGS062)

Year 10 Science:

  • The theory of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of living things and is supported by a range of scientific evidence (ACSSU185)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS208)

Syllabus outcomes: GE4-2, GE4-3, GE4-5, GE4-7, GE4-8, SC5-14LW, SC5-9WS

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

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 8 Geography achievement standards: 

Students explain geographical processes that influence the characteristics of places and explain how places are perceived and valued differently. They explain interconnections within environments and between people and places and explain how they change places and environments. They compare alternative strategies to a geographical challenge, taking into account environmental, economic and social factors. Students evaluate a range of primary and secondary sources to locate useful and reliable information and data. Students present findings, arguments and ideas using relevant geographical terminology and digital technologies in a range of appropriate communication forms. They propose action in response to a geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social factors, and predict the outcomes of their proposal.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Science achievement standards: 

Students evaluate the evidence for scientific theories that explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of life on Earth. They explain the processes that underpin heredity and evolution. They construct evidence-based arguments and select appropriate representations and text types to communicate science ideas for specific purposes.

Topic: Biodiversity.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Lord Howe Island – Years 8 & 10.

Time required: 90 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and groupwork.

Resources required:

  • Device capable of creating presenting a video to the class
  • Devices capable of reading articles online – one per student. Alternatively, print out physical copies of the articles found below for students
  • Student Worksheet – one copy per student.

Keywords: Evolution, speciation, adaptation, natural selection, game, introduced species, invasive species, competition, Lord Howe Island, habitats, environmentalism, conservatorship.

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...

  • ... understand how introduced species outcompete native species
  • ... understand how specific introduced species have negatively affected native plants and animals in Australia

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... think critically to evaluate primary and secondary sources explaining the damage caused by introduced species
  • ... apply their knowledge through practical, real-world tasks by writing informative and persuasive texts to inspire change

Teacher content information:
Lord Howe Island is approximately 600km east of Port Macquarie in NSW. It is a World Heritage site with high biodiversity, including seabird nesting sites, flightless birds such as the Lord Howe Woodhen, and the world’s rarest insect, the Lord Howe Island Phasmid. Approximately 75% of Lord Howe Island’s original natural vegetation remains intact and undisturbed. Likewise, its beaches, coral reef and marine environment are pristine. These cond

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Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: Are Invasive Species Breaking Ecosystems?


Step 1. Watch: Are Invasive Species Breaking Ecosystems? (

Step 2. Answer the following questions:

1. What are invasive/introduced species?

2. List 3 ways they outcompete native species.

3. Why were cane toads introduced to Australia?


4. What negative impact do cane toads have on native Australian species?

5. How did species like the Asian Tiger Mosquito, Warty Comb Jelly and the Black Rat spread throughout the world?


Step 1. Read one of the following articles:

Step 2. Answer the following questions:

1. As you read, create a glossary of words you do not understand, then find the definitions for them.

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