Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This activity is a quick introduction to ecosystem through the use of a word association game called ‘Mind-Meld’.

Learning goals for this activity include

  • Students expand their subject-specific vocabulary and develop an understanding of an ecosystem’s components.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Year 9 Science

  • Ecosystems consist of communities of interdependent organisms and abiotic components of the environment; matter and energy flow through these systems (ACSSU176)

Year 10 Science

  • Scientific understanding, including models and theories, are contestable and are refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community (ACSHE191)

Syllabus Outcomes: SC5-12ES, SC5-14LW

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low

Resources needed: Mind-Meld Student Worksheet, paper, pens (if available, mini-white boards).

Year Level: 9 & 10

Topic: Biodiversity 

Time needed: 20 minutes

There’s an app for that: Top-rated app with trusted reference content from & WORKS OFFLINE – no Internet connection needed when searching words. Free. 

Whiteboard Lite: Collaborative Drawing – Collaborate with friends and family with Whiteboard, the easy-to-use collaborative drawing app. Two users can write words or create pictures together over local Wi-Fi or Bluetooth peer-to-peer.

Prior learning: Students should have a basic understanding of ecosystems.

Extension opportunities: This game could be used with a range of other topics.

Key words: Ecosystems, biodiversity, abiotic and biotic components, coral reef, desert, bush land, rainforest.

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

Overarching learning goals: Students build on their understanding of an ecosystem's components and of subject-specific vocabulary.

Teacher content information:

The biosphere describes our living world, from the upper areas of the atmosphere to the depths of the ocean. Biodiversity is a term used to describe all the living organisms that make up the web of life on Earth. From a microscopic bacteria, to a naked mole rat! Biodiversity consists of three levels: species diversity, ecosystem diversity and genetic diversity - all of which are equaily important when considering conservation.

As the biosphere is too big to study as a whole, scientists study smaller parts called ecosystems. An ecosystem is made up of living things (biotic components) and non-living things (abiotic components) that interact in a particular area called an environment. The key to understanding ecosystems is realising that nothing exists in isolation, but rather all living things are connecte

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Does your mind and your friend's mind work in the same way?

What you need: Student Worksheet, pens.

What to do:

Step 1: Pair up with another student.

Step 2: The whole class will be given a word, for example 'iPod'. Each team member silently writes down three words that come to mind about the word iPods. The aim is for both members of the team to create a mind-meld by coming up with the same word.

Scoring: Each mind-meld scored is worth five points. .

Step 4: The team with the most amount of points after three rounds wins!


Team Name:

Round 1:  1.





Round 2: 1.


Round 3: 1.
Total Score:
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