Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students get out into an ecosystem and record the sounds that they hear. The sounds can be recorded (e.g. on a tablet), or through drawings or brief explanatory notes.

Learning goals:

  • Students use their audio observation skills to identify the kind of activities occurring. They sort the sounds into natural and those are not natural.
  • Students interpret what they have heard as an indication of some aspects of the local biodiversity.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 3 Science

  • Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (ACSSU044)

Year 3 English

  • Learn extended and technical vocabulary and ways of expressing opinion including modal verbs and adverbs (ACELA1484)

Year 4 Science

  • Living things, including plants and animals, depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073)

Year 4 English

  • Incorporate new vocabulary from a range of sources into students’ own texts including vocabulary encountered in research (ACELA1498)

Syllabus OutcomesEN2-9BST2-10LW

Topic: Biodiversity

Year levels: 3 and 4

Indoor or outdoor activity: Outdoor

Time required: 40 mins

Learning areas addressed: Science, Geography.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Guide students through activity and lead discussion around findings.

Resources needed: Outdoor habitat locations where students can sit undisturbed for a short period of time, clip boards, paper, pencils, camcorder or a sound reordering device, e.g., tablet (optional).

Keywords: observation, biodiversity, ecosystem, natural.

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


We often overlook or don’t even consider sound as being an important part of biodiversity. But can you imagine if there were no birds, and subsequently, no bird songs? What about if there were no bees? Or no wind whooshing through the pine trees? Ok, so no mozzies buzzing in your ears at night would be a bonus, but you know what we mean.

Before heading outside
Ask your students to briefly think about what sort of nature noises they think they might hear if they went out into the bush, or to the local park, or even somewhere with a bit of nature at your school. 

Head outside
Explain to your students that they are going to spend a bit of time in nature just listening. Each student should grab a clipboard and some paper and pens and head out to a local bit of nature and sit on their own for 10 – 15 minutes, just listening to the sounds around them. They may need to sit for a couple of minutes with their eyes closed, just so their hearing adjusts to the s

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Student Worksheet

Head outside

You are going to spend a bit of time in nature just listening to the sounds around them. You will sit for a couple of minutes with your eyes closed.

Consider the following questions:

  • What can you hear?
  • Where do you think it’s from?
  • Who or what do you think is making the noise?


Bringing it together

1. On the wheel below, list the things you heard under each of the headings.

2. Around the outside the wheel, use the list of 'descriptive' words below to match with each heading on the wheel. The descriptive word can be written twice.

  • Annoying
  • Soft
  • Feel like in the bush
  • Feel like in the city
  • Enjoyable
  • Dangerous
  • Musical
  • Persistent
  • Gentle
  • Noise pollution
  • Angry
  • Excited
  • Friendly.


1. How much of the local sound was natural?

2. How much of the local sound wasn’t natural?

3. From the noises you heard, which did you like the best? Explain your answer.

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