Units of work involving our environment enable your students to immediately apply their learning in the real world giving them greater motivation and opportunities to excel.
Curriculum materials are designed to meet a wide range of educational needs throughout Australia including:
1. Australian Curriculum
2. Other State curricula
3. Latest innovations in learning and teaching practice eg Principles of Learning and Teaching (PoLT)
4. The e5 instructional model – engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate
5. The curriculum component of AuSSI – the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative
6. Education for a Sustainable Future, Australian Government
You will find everything you need to teach a curriculum unit on biodiversity for grades 7 and 8 in the teacher Curriculum section of the website. Student research materials can be found under Student Toolbox in the top menu bar along with self directed activities and various tools.
Find what you need by selecting the year levels and topic. Otherwise use the built in search engine.
All units of work developed integrate most areas of learning including English, Science, Geography and Mathematics. ICT, Civics and Citizenship etc.
Every week Cool Australia will further build the Student Toolbox sections of the website culminating in hundreds of incredible learning resources. Please keep referring back to these areas.
We always appreciate both student and teacher feedback. If you find anything that requires minor revision please contact us.
A model of Inquiry learning has been chosen to design the Cool Australia units of work as it can be used to incorporate and accommodate all the various educational changes and innovations to curriculum and teaching practice that have occurred over the past ten years. It is also recommended by The Australian Government’s current document Education for a Sustainable Future, 2005
Cool Australia’s inquiry learning approach has been sub-divided into Prior learning, Tuning in, Finding out, Drawing conclusions, Finding solutions, Considering social action and Reflection and evaluation.
Prior learning activities enable students to value what they already know about a topic. While they establish what students already know, they also help the teacher to identify some of their misconceptions. Prior learning activities can be used as the start of the assessment process.
A tuning in activity helps students to define and focus on the issues they will be dealing with in the unit of work.
Students will need to obtain more information about the issues they are going to investigate. They can identify questions of interest and research these either in small groups or on their own. Once information is gathered, it can be shared using chosen communication methods e.g. short presentations.
Students can continue finding out by completing a range of investigations, including gathering data. They use appropriate methods to present and communicate what they have found out.
Students are provided with activities that help them further develop their ideas and opinions. They describe issues from different perspectives. They identify, examine and justify different points of view.
Considering social action
Students are given opportunities to apply their learning in real world situations, in the classroom, school, home or the local community.
Reflection and assessment
Reflection time provides students with an opportunity to value what they have learnt and the learning processes in which they have been involved.
Evaluation or assessment tasks during the unit of work will need to conclude.
Units of work involving our environment enable your students to immediately apply their learning in the real world, so they have greater motivation and opportunities to excel. They become empowered as they discover their ability to create positive change for a sustainable future.
In designing the units of work, Cool Australia has identified the age appropriate actions for students so that as they grow older, they accept greater and more rewarding challenges. Students can progressively develop into community leaders and when they leave school have a wide range of skills and self confidence in creating positive changes around them.
Foundations years: Students learn to be responsible for their actions and belongings
Years 1 and 2: Students take responsibility for their classroom
Years 3 and 4: Students start taking greater responsibility for environmental tasks around their school
Years 5 and 6: Students assist in creating change in their school and local communities
Years 7 and 8: Students instigate and plan environmental projects and campaigns in their schools and local community
Year 9 and 10: Students take initiatives in sustainability projects in their school and local community.
In this unit on Biodiversity, Year 7 and 8 students are provided with action-based activities that will enable them to:
- measure biodiversity for local species
- map significant local biodiversity locations
- create a schoolground biodiversity project or help a local landcare/friends goup
- create a local indicator list that indicates high and low biodiversity.
Assessment and curriculum links
Assessment background: Education systems have high expectations concerning assessment. Many schools will have very prescriptive assessment policies. Having assessment processes in place throughout a unit of work and involving students in their assessment, will assist teachers to meet these expectations. The current overarching understanding of assessment is:
- Assessment for learning will help teachers respond to students’ learning needs during the unit of work.
- Assessment as learning occurs when students monitor their own progress and make learning choices.
- Assessment of learning occurs when teachers use evidence of what students have achieved. Teachers are often obliged to measure this against Learning Outcomes or Standards.
To assist teachers, activities have been identified to assist with assessment. Teachers will first need to decide what aspects of their curriculum they wish to assess. This will be determined by their State’s official curriculum policies and documents. This in time may be superseded by an Australian Curriculum.
Teachers who work with Cool Australia often use the following process to develop their assessment:
1. Once the unit of work has been chosen, choose which learning outcomes, standards etc. that are going to be assessed. Often this is around five outcomes, standards etc for the entire unit..
2. Link the appropriate activities throughout this unit with the areas to be assessed.
3. Decide how are students being assessed during their learning
4. When students are developing learning goals, and then link the goals to the assessment.
5. Decide how individual student’s learning goals will be assessed
6. Modify activities where needed so they are a neat fit with your assessment needs.
7. As the unit develops, choose self-assessment tools with which students are familiar for self-assessments.
8. Inform students at the start of the unit about their assessment requirements.
A unit of work on an environmental topic will provide a range of tasks suitable for assessment. Identify the tasks that best assist with the learning outcomes/standards etc you wish to assess.
Tow list of assessment ideas have been develop as follows:
1. General – could apply to any unit of work on our environment using an inquiry approach
2. More specifically – identifies activities in this unit of work that has tasks suitable for assessment.
- Use a prior learning activity as a self assessment tool by asking students to review how their understandings and misconceptions have changed over the course of the unit.
- When doing activities such as cool question, students are able to choose and modify questions of interest to research and locate and extract relevant material to answer the questions.
- When students produce informative texts they can support their material with evidence diagrams and graphs.
- Students present their research information or findings in a variety of ways for specific audiences justifying their chosen media.
- They incorporate data and expand on mathematical concepts to explain environmental issues and solutions.
- Use the ‘Considering social action activities’ to demonstrate students can apply the things they have learnt.
- Students are able to provide examples of genetic, species and ecosystem diversity.
- They create imaginative methods for measuring and collecting data on schoolground biodiversity.
- They contribute to a plan to protect or increase biodiversity making sure they demonstrate the structure of a small ecosystem.