Activity Introduction

Module: Biodiversity

Year levels: 7 and 8

Activity details: Students investigate the concept of a species and how the concept is applied.

Learning goals for this activity include:

1. Use distinguishing features to separate species.

2. Apply scientific concepts to identify species.

3. Propose differences between natural and human causes of extinction.

4. Sort species of plants and animals living in Australia into indigenous, domesticated and pests.

Indoor or outdoor activity: Indoor

Duration of activity: 60 mins+ (ideal for two lessons)

Learning areas addressed: Science, Geography, English.

Teacher input: Assist students in applying the concept of ecosystems, species and biodiversity.

Resources needed: Internet and library access and writing materials or tablets if available.

Homework and extension opportunities: Some parts of this activity can be set as homework.

Australian Curriculum Link:

Year 7 Science:

  • There are differences within and between groups of organisms; classification helps organise this diversity (ACSSU111)
  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions (ACSIS130)

Year 8 Science:

  • Summarise data, from students’ own investigations and secondary sources, and use scientific understanding to identify relationships and draw conclusions (ACSIS145)

Syllabus OutcomesSC4-7WS, SC4-14LW

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


Teacher Worksheet


Generally, biodiversity is described as the variety of life on Earth. To be more specific, biodiversity is thought of as the combination of genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. This concept is extremely important and is helping people responsible for conservation to do a much better job. It helps us to understand our interdependent and complex environment by seeing the whole picture.

The definition of a single species is a group of organisms that can interbreed to produce a new generation of offspring that can reproduce themselves. The concept is muddied by some organisms that can reproduce asexually and the constant and slow process of evolution.

Extinction of species is an ongoing process. There have been periods during the long history of Earth where extinction rates were extremely high. We are in one of those periods right now. It is not difficult to work out why the extinction rate is so high.

Activity outline

Students work in small group

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Student Worksheet

Student Instructions:

1. Write the definition of a species:



2. Scientific names:

  • How many words are used to name an organism?


  • What sort of language does it appear to be written in?


  • Is there any special way capitals are used or the kind of type?


  • Can they work out which of the words is the genus?


  • What can they find out about the genus?


3. Indigenous, domestic and pests activity sheet

Write Australian examples of indigenous, domesticated and pest species in the right column.

Indigenous plants
Indigenous animals
Domestic plants
Domestic animals
Pest plants (weeds)
Pest animals (feral animals)

 4. What causes species to become extinct?

  • What may have been the cause for dinosaur extinction?



  •  List as many causes as the
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