Activity Introduction

cc-secondary16-heroQuick summary: During this lesson students head outside to collect and analyse data about the biodiversity in their schoolyard and consider the implications of population sampling. They are asked to compare the biodiversity index of their area with other areas and calculate a total average for the schoolyard. Finally, they are asked to reflect on the task and consider how to increase the biodiversity of their school.

This lesson is designed to be taught outside. It contains all the tools required for students to reap the benefits of being outdoors while learning the outcomes of the Australian Curriculum. By spending time outdoors and connecting to nature, students are more likely to care for and conserve nature as adults.

We’ve taken elements of this lesson and adapted them for remote learning. You can find this activity here.


Learning goals:

  • Students identify situations where data can be collected by census, and those where sampling is a more appropriate means of data collection.
  • Students recognise that sample properties can be used to predict characteristics of the population.
  • Students understand how to use displays of data to explore and investigate effects.
  • Students recognise the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside.

21st century skills:

tree tally skills cc

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 8 Mathematics

  • Investigate techniques for collecting data, including census, sampling and observation (ACMSP284)
  • Explore the practicalities and implications of obtaining data through sampling using a variety of investigative processes (ACMSP206)
  • Explore the variation of means and proportions of random samples drawn from the same population (ACMSP293)

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Numeracy.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 8 Mathematics achievement standards: Students explain issues related to the collection of data and the effect of outliers on means and medians in that data.

Topic: Outdoor Learning, Biodiversity.

Unit of work: Outdoor Learning Unit.

Time required: 90-100 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity and facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Biodiversity Index – Practice Worksheet for individuals or pairs. Biodiversity Index – Data Collection for groups. Biodiversity Index Data Analysis – Your School for each student.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Data, statistics, biodiversity, schoolyard, Biodiversity Index, outdoor learning.

Cool Australia would like to thank the Albert George & Nancy Caroline Youngman Trust – managed by Equity Trustees.

Youngman Trust Logo

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


Teacher Worksheet

cc-secondary14-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students understand how to record data and analyse it in a meaningful way. Students understand how to obtain data through sampling using a variety of investigative processes, and recognise the differences between sampling and performing a census. They understand how to use the class data to build up a picture of the biological health of their schoolyard. Finally, students recognise the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside.

Outdoor learning information:

Outdoor Learning Series: (


To help guide teachers through suggested activities in this lesson, we have developed a series of icons designed to show what types of activities are involved and where these activities may take place (see Learning Acti

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What are the chances of seeing a kangaroo at school?


1. Complete these sentences:

During this outdoor lesson I noticed that …

I think it happened because …

2. How many of the living things that you counted had you noticed for the first time?

3. Are there any living things that you personally enjoy or have a connection to? (E.g. birds, trees, etc.)

4. What living things not observed do you think would improve your enjoyment of this outdoor space?

5. How do you think you could encourage more living things into your schoolyard to increase the biodiversity index?

6. Do you see any risks involved with encouraging living things into a school environment?

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