Activity Introduction

regen lesson frame

Subjects: Science

Year Levels: 5 & 6

Topics: Sustainability, Regenerating Australia, Science, experiments.

Teaching Time: 120 minutes.

Quick summary: 

In this science lesson, students first learn about the transpiration of plants and then plan and perform an experiment in groups to investigate the water loss through the leaves of different types of plants in the playground. They will share their findings by creating informative graphs and discover that Australian native plants tend to have less water loss than exotic plants. Through careful observation, they will be able to explain how the special design features of native plants reduce the rate of transpiration. Finally, students work in groups to research how native plants can play a crucial role in the regeneration of Australia. 

Learning intentions:

  • Students learn about the process of transpiration
  • Students recognise the difference between native plants and exotic plants
  • Students design and carry out a scientific valid experiment to determine the water loss between a native plant and an exotic plant
  • Students will identify structural design features of the leaves of native plants which enable them to reduce transpiration rates
  • Students will better understand the type and role of plants required to regenerate Australia.

21st-century skills: 

  Critical Thinking Creative Thinking  CommunicatingSocial Skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5 Science:

  • Year 5 Science: Biological Science – Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)

  • Interpret data and information displayed in a range of formats to identify, describe and compare distributions, patterns and trends, and to infer relationships (ACHASSI100).

Year 6 Science:

  • Year 6 Science: Biological Science – The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094).

Syllabus outcomes:  ST3-10LW, ST3-11LW.

General capabilities: Literacy, Numeracy and Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.1, OI.2, OI.3.

Relevant parts of Year 5 achievement standards:

Students analyse how the form of living things enables them to function in their environments. Students follow instructions to pose questions for investigation and predict the effect of changing variables when planning an investigation. They use equipment in ways that are safe and improve the accuracy of their observations. Students construct tables and graphs to organise data and identify patterns in the data. They compare patterns in their data with predictions when suggesting explanations. They describe ways to improve the fairness of their investigations and communicate their ideas and findings using multimodal texts.

Relevant parts of Year 6 achievement standards:

Students describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things. Students explain how scientific knowledge helps us to solve problems and inform decisions and identify historical and cultural contributions.

Students follow procedures to develop investigable questions and design investigations into simple cause-and-effect relationships. They identify variables to be changed and measured and describe potential safety risks when planning methods. They collect, organise and interpret their data, identifying where improvements to their methods or research could improve the data. They describe and analyse relationships in data using appropriate representations and construct multimodal texts to communicate ideas, methods and findings.

Topic: Regenerating Australia

Unit of work: Plants

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – support student movement around the classroom during learning activities, and facilitate class discussions.

Resources required:

  • Access to the film Regenerating Australia
  • Dropper (to collect water drops) – one per student or pair
  • Plant Identifier App for Phone – optional
  • Plastic freezer bags – two per student
  • Regeneration Factsheet – one copy per student.

Keywords: Regenerating Australia, transpiration, sustainability, regeneration, experiment, native, exotic, Australian, plants

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


Teacher Worksheet

regen lesson frameTeacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ...learn about transpiration and the differences between Australian native and exotic plants
  • …be able to measure the water loss from the leaves of Australian native plants and exotic plants.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ...describe the process of transpiration and identify some Australian native plants
  • able plan and carry out an experiment to determine the water loss through the leaves of different plants
  • ...communicate their findings and make implications to the Regeneration of Australia from their results.

Teacher content information:

About Photosynthesis and Transpiration:

Plants are crucial to life on Earth as they provide the oxygen and food required for all living things through the process of photosynthesis. Transpiration is the process where water is drawn up through the roots of plants and eventually evaporates from the leaves. This water loss occurs during the process of photosynthesis

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Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: "If you had the opportunity to plant lots of trees around your home or school - what types of trees would you plant?"

Photosynthesis and Transpiration

1. Why is photosynthesis so important to life on earth?


2. On the plant pictured below, show how water travels using arrows and labels.

3. Next to the plant – list some of the benefits plants bring to our planet.


plants and roots

Experiment – Transpiration Rates of Native and Exotic Plants

1. In your experiment, what will you change, measure and keep the same? 




Keep the Same:

2. Results: Complete the following results table for your experiment and show results on a column graph below:

Type of plant The number of drops transpired 

3. Conclusions and Implications:

What conclusions can you make from the class's results?

How can you help regenerate Australia?

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