Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This is a STEAM lesson, which adds the Arts to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). To find out more about STEAM and STEM click here. In this lesson, students will connect knowledge and skills from the areas of Visual Arts, Science and Mathematics to develop geometric string art based on an animal of their choosing. Students will initially explore animal adaptations that allow them to survive in different world environments, then select a specific animal to research further. Students will then explore geometric drawing and create a string art piece using this technique.

Learning intentions: Students will…

  • … understand that animal adaptations allow them to survive in harsh environments.
  • … create geometric pictures using straight lines.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5 and 6 Visual Arts

  • Develop and apply techniques and processes when making their artworks (ACAVAM115).
  • Plan the display of artworks to enhance their meaning for an audience (ACAVAM116).

Year 5 Science

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043).

Year 6 Science

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094).

Year 5 Mathematics

  • Estimate, measure and compare angles using degrees. Construct angles using a protractor (ACMMG112).

Year 6 Mathematics

  • Investigate, with and without digital technologies, angles on a straight line, angles at a point and vertically opposite angles. Use results to find unknown angles (ACMMG141).

Syllabus outcomes: VAS3.1, VAS3.2, ST3-10LW, ST3-11LW, MA3-16MG, MA3‑1WM.

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

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Relevant parts of Year 5 and 6 Visual Arts Achievement Standards: Students explain how ideas are communicated in artworks they make and to which they respond. They describe characteristics of artworks from different social, historical and cultural contexts that influence their art making. Students structure elements and processes of arts subjects to make artworks that communicate meaning. They work collaboratively to share artworks for audiences, demonstrating skills and techniques.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science Achievement Standards: Students analyse how the form of living things enables them to function in their environments.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science Achievement Standards: Students describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Mathematics Achievement Standards: Students measure and construct different angles.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Mathematics Achievement Standards: Students solve problems using the properties of angles.

Topic: Art & Craft.

Unit of work: Learning Through Art & Craft – Primary.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – this lesson has elements that draw on a range of skills. Some students may require support to research, others may require support applying new artistic skills, and others again may require support to identify and measure angles.

Resources required: 

  • Device capable of presenting video
  • Digital devices for students to use for research and printing
  • Example of completed task 
  • Equipment capable of projecting to the class.

For each student:

  • Black embroidery floss
  • Canvas
  • Copy of the Student Worksheet
  • Embroidery needles
  • Masking tape
  • Mechanical pencils with HB leads or HB pencils
  • Notepad/notepaper
  • Plain white paper
  • Protractors
  • Ruler
  • Tracing paper

Keywords: Animal, biology, adaptation, hibernate, migrate, environment, line, geometric, angle, art, craft.

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 that animal adaptations allow them to survive in harsh environments.
  • ... create geometric pictures using straight lines.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... explain adaptations of a selected animal that help them survive in their environment.
  • ... use a picture of an animal as the basis for a geometric picture.
  • ... use a ruler to draw straight lines.
  • ... use a needle and embroidery thread to create an image on canvas.
  • ... identify geometric shapes within their artwork.
  • ... identify and measure angles of a shape and around a point.

Teacher content information: 

Animal Adaptations

Adaptations are the anatomical, behavioural and/or physiological differences in living things that allow them to survive in their environments. Often these adaptations have occurred so that plants and animals can live in harsh environments such as the desert or snow. Some examples include seals having a layer

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Student Worksheet

How do the characteristics of plants and animals allow them to survive in different conditions?


Geometric Animals

1. In this activity, you will watch two clips about animal adaptations with your class. As you watch the clips, record notes below:

Clip 1 - Animal Adaptations

  The environment they live in Features that help them to survive

Clip 2 - Winter Adaptations

What challenges do animals face when they live in areas that have extremely cold winters?

Explain the following...

•  What is migration?

        •  What are some animals that migrate?

•  How does migration help them survive the winter?

•  What is hibernation?

•  What are some animals that hibernate?


•  How does hibernation help them survive the winter?



Note features of three animals that stay active during winter:

Animal Feature How the feature helps them

2. Complete the foll

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