Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson students will explore the benefits of time in nature by going on a nature walk, then drawing a picture of a time when they were in nature. In a class discussion, students will hear about the researched benefits of time in nature, and will assert their personal opinion on the value of doing so. Students will then learn about the importance of goal setting and the connection that it has to being gritty. They will link the two concepts by setting themselves a S.M.A.R.T. goal that focuses on increasing their own time in nature.

This lesson is an ideal way for students to participate in Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day – the largest nature-care event in Australian schools. You and your students will join thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference, fostering a child’s love of nature and creating positive environmental change. So, get growing! It only takes a minute to register for Schools Tree Day.


Learning Intentions:

  • Students will understand what grit is.
  • Students will know about the benefits of time in nature.
  • Students will understand how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals to achieve positive outcomes.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

This lesson can be used with all learning areas of the Australian Curriculum, however it has been explicitly mapped to the English and Health and Physical Education learning areas.

Content descriptions

Year 3 English

  • Listen to and contribute to conversations and discussions to share information and ideas and negotiate in collaborative situations (ACELY1676)
  • Write using joined letters that are clearly formed and consistent in size (ACELY1684)

Year 4 English 

  • Use interaction skills such as acknowledging another’s point of view and linking students’ response to the topic, using familiar and new vocabulary and a range of vocal effects such as tone, pace, pitch and volume to speak clearly and coherently (ACELY1688)
  • Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning to expand content knowledge, integrating and linking ideas and analysing and evaluating texts (ACELY1692)
  • Write using clearly-formed joined letters, and develop increased fluency and automaticity (ACELY1696)

Year 5 English 

  • Use interaction skills, for example paraphrasing, questioning and interpreting non-verbal cues and choose vocabulary and vocal effects appropriate for different audiences and purposes (ACELY1796)
  • Use comprehension strategies to analyse information, integrating and linking ideas from a variety of print and digital sources (ACELY1703)
  • Develop a handwriting style that is becoming legible, fluent and automatic (ACELY1706)

Year 6 English

  • Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse information and ideas, comparing content from a variety of textual sources including media and digital texts (ACELY1713)
  • Develop a handwriting style that is legible, fluent and automatic and varies according to audience and purpose (ACELY1716)

Year 3 & 4 HPE

  • Explore how success, challenge and failure strengthen identities (ACPPS033
  • Identify and practise strategies to promote health, safety and wellbeing (ACPPS036
  • Participate in outdoor games and activities to examine how participation promotes a connection between the community, natural and built environments, and health and wellbeing (ACPPS041)  

Year 5 & 6 HPE:

  • Examine how identities are influenced by people and places (ACPPS051
  • Plan and practise strategies to promote health, safety and wellbeing (ACPPS054
  • Explore how participation in outdoor activities supports personal and community health and wellbeing and creates connections to natural and built environments (ACPPS059

Syllabus outcomes: EN2-1A, EN2-6B, EN2-3A, EN2-4A, EN3-1A, EN3-2A, EN3-3A, GDS2.9, GDS3.9, SLS2.13, SLS3.13, ALS2.6, ALS3.6.

General capabilities: Literacy, Personal and Social Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 3 English achievement standards: Students read texts that contain varied sentence structures, a range of punctuation conventions, and images that provide extra information. They create a range of texts for familiar and unfamiliar audiences. They contribute actively to class and group discussions, asking questions and providing useful feedback.

Relevant parts of Year 4 English achievement standards: Students fluently read texts that include varied sentence structures, unfamiliar vocabulary including multisyllabic words. They create structured texts to explain ideas for different audiences. They contribute actively to class and group discussions, varying language according to context.

Relevant parts of Year 5 English achievement standards: Students analyse and explain literal and implied information from a variety of texts. Students create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts for different purposes and audiences. They contribute actively to class and group discussions, taking into account other perspectives. 

Relevant parts of Year 6 English achievement standards: Students compare and analyse information in different and complex texts, explaining literal and implied meaning. They listen to discussions, clarifying content and challenging others’ ideas. Students create detailed texts elaborating on key ideas for a range of purposes and audiences. They contribute actively to class and group discussions, using a variety of strategies for effect.

Relevant parts of Year 3 & 4 HPE achievement standards: Students investigate how emotional responses vary and understand how to interact positively with others in a variety of situations. They understand the benefits of being healthy and physically active. They describe the connections they have to their community and identify local resources to support their health, wellbeing, safety and physical activity.

Relevant parts of Year 5 & 6 HPE achievement standards: They describe the key features of health-related fitness and the significance of physical activity participation to health and wellbeing. They examine how physical activity, celebrating diversity and connecting to the environment support community wellbeing and cultural understanding.

Topic: Schools Tree Day

Unit of work: Schools Tree Day – Primary

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate and supervise outdoor learning activities, including class discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Blank paper, pencils and textas (enough for all students), Selected outdoor learning space, such as a school oval, garden or lawn area. S.M.A.R.T goal template.

Keywords: grit, perseverance, time in nature, S.M.A.R.T. goal, Schools Tree Day, Planet Ark.

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 what grit is.
  • Students will know about the benefits of time in nature.
  • Students will understand how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals to achieve positive outcomes.

Success Criteria:

Students can…

  • …identify examples of gritty behaviour.
  • …draw a picture that shows them in nature.
  • …set a S.M.A.R.T. goal to increase the time they spend in nature.

Growing Grit

This lesson introduces the concept of grit and explores some of the benefits of and ways to develop this character trait. Find out more about grit, and other character strengths at Character Lab.

Grit: the power of passion and perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth | TED (

What are the links between time outdoors and grit? It could be said that many people use time outdoors and connection with nature as a strategy for coping with setbacks and persevering to achieve their goals. Time outdoors and in nature is a great way to re

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What are your long-term goals?



What was the easiest thing about setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal?


What was the most difficult thing about setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal?


In your opinion, is setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal helpful? Why?


Write down one thing that might stop you from achieving your goal to spend more time in nature, and what you can do to persevere.

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