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YEAR LEVEL: YEAR: 5/6 STAGE: 3 TERM: Term 4

CURRICULUM AREA: Science UNIT LENGTH: Five Days

TOPIC: Strive to Survive TEACHER: Miss Melissa Bolluk

UNIT DESCRIPTION
This unit contains subject material related to the curriculum area “science”. Within this unit, it aims to focus on animal and plant internal, external
and behavioural adaptive features required for survival in diverse environments. Furthermore, this unit aims to teach students the diversity among
species due to natural selection and evolution. The unit plan encompasses and promotes high collaborative learning experiences, where they begin to
utilise scientific skills. The key skills are observing, predicting, communicating, questioning and researching.
In this unit students are provided with opportunities to link their prior knowledge to new knowledge through discussions and tasks. This enables
students to strengthen their understanding on how plants and animals adapt to particular environments. As the unit continues, the focus will lead to
adaptations needed for desert and semi-arid regions. This will make a link to Australian wildlife, and their success for surviving in such conditions.
Students will then engage in a case study on kangaroos, looking closely at what specific features of adaptions they require to survive in semi-arid
environments.

BIG UNDERSTANDINGS or KEY INQUIRY QUESTIONS LEARNING OUTCOMES


 How do plant/animal adaptations help an organism to survive? ST3-4WS investigates by posing questions, including testable questions,
 Observe and describe the structural features of some native making predictions and gathering data to draw evidence-based
Australian animals and plants. conclusions and develop explanations
 Present ideas and explanations about how the structural features
and behaviour of some plants and animals help them to survive in ST3-10LW describes how structural features and other adaptations of
their environment, e.g. shiny surfaces of leaves on sand dune living things help them to survive in their environment
plants and nocturnal behaviour in some animals.
 Research the conditions needed for a particular plant or animal to ST3-11W describes some physical conditions of the environment and
grow and survive in its environment, e.g. an indoor plant, plants in how these affect the growth and survival of living things
deserts, drought-resistant wheat or salt-tolerant plants.

ESSENTIAL CONTENT LEARNING EXPERIENCES ASSESSMENT


In this lesson students develop Lesson 1: Diagnostic:
an understanding of the
differences between Introduction –
behavioural and structural Organise students into pairs and ask them to think of an animal they know a lot about. Ask them to
adaptations. describe the environment in which this animal is found and to discuss all the different features that help
their chosen animal to survive in that environment.
Learning Intention: Distribute the worksheet What could it be? To students. Ask them to identify the plant and animals each
To know the difference between descriptions may be.
behavioural and structural Discuss what all of these descriptions have in common. What is it that the descriptions identify? (This is
adaptations. leading students towards identifying the term ‘adaptations’.)
Discuss the meaning of the word ‘adaptations’ and develop a class definition.
Success Criteria:
- I can name a structural Body –
adaptation for an animal 1. Ask students to think about their responses to the following questions:
or plant. - What different environments do plants and animals live in and what adaptations do they have
- I can name a that enable them to survive in these environments?
behavioural adaptation - How might a change in environment impact living things?
for an animal. 2. Write names of each of the following environments on separate pieces of A3 paper and distribute
them around the room OR create a paddlet for each environment and work as a class– desert,
Notes: polar, marine, tropical, grassland, forest, cave, river, mountain
3. Provide students with time to move around the room to think of adaptations that enable plants and
animals to survive in such environments (for example, a polar bear has white fur, a desert animal
moves around mostly in the early morning or evening). After students have sat down again ask
them to volunteer their ideas. Record each individual response on a separate sticky note (or
paddlet) and attach it to the correct environment.
4. Introduce the terms ‘structural and behavioural’ to the class and ask for suggestions about what
these words might mean in relation to adaptation. Ask students to provide examples of both
structural and behavioural adaptations. On the whiteboard, categorise student responses under
the headings of structural and behavioural adaptations.
5. Ask the students to look through the list of adaptations to different environments created earlier in
the lesson and sort them according to whether they are behavioural or structural adaptations.

Conclusion –
Engage students in a discussion about the importance of adaptations for the survival of plants and animals
in different environments. What happens to those that cannot adapt to the conditions? What happens if
conditions change? Ask students to demonstrate their understanding of the differences between
behavioural and structural adaptations by recording their own definition of each and supported by at least
two examples.
In this lesson students develop Lesson 2: Summative:
an understanding of the
physical conditions of Introduction –
environments and how plant Revisit the list of environments and adaptations generated in Lesson 1.
and animal adaptations vary Introduce the term ‘physical conditions’ and ask for suggestions about what this might mean in relation to
between environments. different environments.
As a class, generate a list of the physical conditions for two different environments, such as, desert and
polar regions. Discuss how these physical conditions impact on the plants and animals living within these
Learning Intention: very different environments. Ask the students what would happen if the environment in which these plants
and animals lived changed in some way. What if the polar regions got warmer? What if there was
Success Criteria: consistently more rain in a desert region?
Provide students with the time to create their own creature for an environment of their choice using the
learning object Create a creature. Ask the students to share with the class the features of their creature
Notes: and the physical environment in which they think the creature will survive best. Or cut out.
- Physical condition meaning – land, air, water, plants and animals (physical factors)
Body –
1. Explain to the students that they are going to research how an adaptation can vary depending on
the physical conditions of the environment in which an animal or plant lives. They will then display
their research to the class.
2. Distribute the worksheet Plant and animal adaptations: research task to the students. Ask students
to select a topic to research.
3. Provide students with the time necessary to successfully research their topic and develop their
presentation.

Conclusion –
Provide students with the opportunity to share their research by displaying the work around the classroom
and provide time for students to move around the room and view the work of others.
Ask students to record four key points from their research that they believe are important for other people
to know. Share these key points during a class discussion.
In this lesson students identify Lesson 3: Summative:
the physical features of desert
and semi-arid regions. They Introduction –
also develop their Ask students to individually record their ideas on what they think the terms ‘desert; and ‘semi-arid’ mean.
understanding of how Also ask what rainfall, temperatures, sunlight and environmental features they think are specific to such
kangaroos have adapted to suit regions.
these environments. Organise students into cooperative learning teams and have them share their ideas as well as identify the
words or phrases the two teams have in common. Use these to develop group definitions.
Share these definitions with the class and look for commonalities. Compare these with definitions from a
Learning Intention: dictionary or other sources, such as, the websites listed in Useful Links.

Success Criteria: Body –


1. Explain to the students that they are going to be learning about how the kangaroo has adapted to
the desert environment and how it is able to adapt to the changing conditions of this environment
Notes: in order to survive.
2. Inform students that they will be presenting an annotated diagram to demonstrate their
understanding.
3. Write the following questions on the whiteboard for the class to see.
- What structural adaptations do kangaroos have that enable them to survive in a semi-arid
environment?
- What behavioural adaptations do kangaroos exhibit that enable them to survive in a semi-arid
environment?
4. Ask the students to share their thinking with a partner then record the class responses.
5. Distribute the worksheet Kangaroo adaptations to each student. Provide them with time to read
through the information and ask any clarifying questions.
6. Engage in a discussion about the text then ask the students to identify the key information they will
need to create an annotated diagram of a kangaroo. Discuss the features of a correctly annotated
diagram and show them some examples from appropriate reference materials so they have clear
expectations.
7. Ask students to complete an annotated diagram showing the structural and behavioural
adaptations that enable kangaroos to survive in semi-arid environments and how kangaroos are
able to adapt to the changing conditions within this environment.
8. Teacher note: instructions on created annotated diagrams can be found in Background
information.

Conclusion –
Use the 4-2-1 strategy, by first recording four phrases or sentences that best sum up how kangaroos adapt
to their environment. Request students to then work with another person to reduce this to two sentences
or phrases. Then have them work with another pair to agree on the one sentence that best describes how
kangaroos have adapted to their environment and the changing conditions.
Record these outcomes and display in the classroom.
In this lesson students develop Lesson 4: Summative:
their scientific inquiry skills
through planning, organising Introduction –
and conducting a practical View the video Plant adaptations and discuss the different adaptations that plants have to assist them to
investigation into the structural survive in different environments.
features that help conserve Revisit the physical conditions of deserts and semi-arid regions and ask students to suggest adaptations
water. plants have to help them survive in these regions. Ask students what might happen to these plants if the
environmental conditions change.
Organise students into cooperative learning teams and provide each team with a variety of different leaf
Learning Intention: types (from Australian indigenous plants and from non-Australian plants), hand lenses and light scopes or
microscopes. Ask students to identify what is the same about the leaves and what is different.
Success Criteria: Ask students how they think the features of the leaves of the plants relate to the physical conditions of the
environment in which they live.
Teacher note: As students are working with plant samples be aware of possible allergies to some leaf
Notes: types and ensure students wash their hands after handling resources.
Video link –
Body –
http://studyjams.scholastic.com/
1. Explain to students they are going to work in cooperative learning teams to plan and conduct an
studyjams/jams/science/plants/p
investigation that simulates a water conservation technique used by some plants.
lant-adaptations.htm
2. Organise students into teams and present them with an investigation topic. (This could be a
teacher choice from the list below or students may be able to develop their own investigation,
depending on their level of confidence). Possible ideas for investigation:
- What difference does the waxy coating on leaves make to water retention? Use petroleum
jelly on the underside of leaves to simulate the waxy side of leaves.
- How does the shape and size of leaves impact on water retention? Use kitchen sponges to
represent leaves and determine how quickly water evaporates.
- Do curled leaves help retain water? Use pieces of kitchen sponge to represent the curled and
uncurled leaves.
- How much water do different types of leaves release? Use plastic bags over leaves to collect
water given off by the transpiration process. Which leaf types released the greatest amount of
water? What conditions impact on the amount of water lost from leaves?
3. Give each team a copy of the Investigation planner and explain the different sections to them.
Provide students with the time necessary to set up and conduct their investigations.
4. Ask students to complete questions 1 and 5 of the planner and then share predictions with the
class.
5. Ask teams to discuss how they are going to set up their investigations. How will they ensure the
test is fair? What does this mean? What will it look like during the investigation? What variables
are they going to have to consider? Meet together as a class to discuss the possibilities and to
highlight the need for fair testing.
6. Ask teams to develop their procedure and record how they are going to complete the
investigation. Ask them to complete questions 2, 3 and 4 of the planner.
7. Students conduct their investigations.

Conclusion –
Once the investigation is complete, give students time to record and present their results and conclusions
and complete questions 6, 7 and 8 of the investigation planner. Meet as a class to share conclusions and
discuss the success of the investigation and ways students could improve or further develop the
In this lesson students develop Lesson 5: Formative
an understanding of the
strategies humans have Introduction –
implemented to ensure their Briefly revisit the different ways that plants and animals have adapted to desert and semi-arid
survival in desert and semi-arid environments. Ask students to discuss the following questions:
regions. - What strategies did Australian indigenous people use to successfully live in deserts and semi-
arid regions?
- How did early settlers work out which regions of Australia were suitable for growing crops,
Learning Intention: raising livestock or establishing communities?
- What strategies did early settlers use to survive the harsh environmental conditions?
Success Criteria: - What were the differences between survival techniques of indigenous people and those of the
early settlers?
Notes: Body –
1. Show students a map of Goyder’s line and ask them to suggest what they think the line may
represent. If students need help, show them the Satellite image of eastern South Australia.
2. Distribute the worksheet Goyder’s line to each student. Allow students time to read the information
provided. Engage in a class discussion about the information they have just read. Ask the
following questions.
- Where is South Australia and who Goyder is.
- What information did Goyder collect and how was this information collected?
- How was the information used to inform personal and community decisions?
- What were the advantages and disadvantages of the development and implementation of
Goyder’s Line?
- How did Goyder use information about the physical conditions of the environment to
determine a limit to areas that could be cropped in South Australia?
- Was the development and implementation of Goyder’s Line a good idea? Was it fair to tell
people that they should not grow crops, raise livestock or develop settlements in land that was
beyond Goyder’s Line?
- How did Goyder’s Line impact on the indigenous people?
3. Organise students into cooperative learning teams and ask them to complete a PMI (plus, minus,
interesting) char on the following statement: ‘People should use scientific knowledge about the
physical conditions of the environment to work out where they can and cannot grow particular
crops.’

Conclusion –
Meet together as a class and look through some of the responses recorded on the PMI charts.
Ask students to form a human graph based on whether they agree or disagree with the following
statement:
- ‘Science knowledge is important in helping to inform choices of where to live and grow crops
in relation to desert and semi-arid environments.’
Then ask the students:
‘What are your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with this statement?
RESOURCES EVALUATION
Work sheets:
- What could I be?
- Plant and animal adaptations: research task
- Kangaroo adaptations
- Investigation planner
- Map of Goyder’s Line + worksheet
- Satellite image of eastern South Australia
Tools:
- A3 coloured paper
- Sticky notes as exit slips
- Fur/leather from spotlight
- Sponges and plastic bags
- Magazine full of animals (cut and create)
- Australian/non-Australian plants
Equipment:
- Laptops
- Microscopes
- Light scopes
Lesson 1:
Lesson 2:
Lesson 3:
Lesson 4:
Lesson 5: