Stage 3
Name of Unit: Survival
Unit duration: 9 weeks
Odd Years
Physical World
Earth and Space
Living World
Material World
Built Environments
Need / problem / opportunity :
1 - Question and predict
2/3 - Explore and define a task
From observations ask a question or pose a problem
Research: find out what is already known
Make a prediction
Explore the needs for, opportunities to undertake the task - observations
Developing a design brief individually and in collaboration with others.
4/5 - Plan investigations
4/5 & 6/7 - Generate and develop ideas
With guidance, collaboratively research and plan fair tests.
Select suitable methods for gathering data.
Develop a design brief that will be your criteria to evaluate success.
Create initial design ideas – question and predict the suitability
4/5 - Conduct investigations
7/8 - Produce solutions
Work collaboratively in conducting fair tests to answer questions.
Use formal units for measuring and recording data.
Suggest improvements.
Develop a plan and specifications to guide production
Construct your project, safely selecting and using appropriate tools, materials
and techniques.
Carry out ongoing evaluation throughout the process.
2/3 & 6/7 - Process and analyse data and information
9 - Evaluate
Measure, analyse results, construct representations using tables/graphs.
Compare findings with predictions.
Reflect on process and knowledge and draw conclusions.
Identify strengths and limitations of the processes used.
Self/peer assessment of the final product using the established design criteria.
2/3 - Communicate
Assessment for/as/of learning
Use multimodal text to honestly and accurately communicate your findings? To
whom does it need to be communicated?
Individual assessment: 'Design a Species'. Create a design brief - a labeled and annotated
diagram for one plant and one animal species designed to be a 'super survivor' in a
selected habitat. Group assessment: Design & build a zoo exhibit/enclosure that
represents your habitat and that could sustain all of the animal/plant species of the
habitat group.
Working Technologically – applying a design process
Working Scientifically – conducting scientific investigations
Why do some species of plants and animals survive while others do not?
In order for species of plants and animals to survive in particular environments, they have had to adapt to the conditions of the environment in which they live. The adaptation to
environmental conditions occurs over many generations. In order to survive in the environments in which they live, plants and animals develop both behavioural and structural
adaptations. In this unit students initially share their current understandings of how plants and animals adapt to particular environments and how adaptations vary between
environments. They then look more specifically at the adaptations of plants and animals in Australian and local ecosystems/habitats. Through class discussions, individual work, group
research tasks, and investigations they develop an understanding of behavioural and structural adaptations that enable plants and animals to survive. Students have opportunities to
pose testable questions, make predictions and investigate to gather data to support evidence based claims and develop explanations. Students plan and implement a design process to
apply their knowledge to create a 'super survivor species' adapted to a particular habitat. They will also have the opportunity to design an enclosure/zoo exhibit for their plant and animal
ST3-10LW - describes how structural features and other adaptations of living things help
them to survive in their environment
Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their
The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their
 observe and describe the structural features of some native Australian animals
and plants
 present ideas and explanations about how the structural features and behaviour
of some plants and animals help them to survive in their environment, eg shiny
surfaces of leaves on sand dune plants and nocturnal behaviour in some animals
 research the conditions needed for a particular plant to grow and survive in its
environment, eg an indoor plant, plants in deserts, drought-resistant wheat or
salt-tolerant plants
 identify some physical conditions of a local environment, eg temperature, slope,
wind speed, amount of light and water
 make predictions about how changing the physical conditions of the environment
impacts on the growth and survival of living things, eg different amounts of light or
water on plant growth or the effect of different temperatures on the growth of
yeast or bread mould
 use gathered data to develop explanations about how changing the physical
conditions of the environment affects the growth and survival of living things
ST3-4WS investigates by posing questions, including testable questions, making predictions
and gathering data to draw evidence-based conclusions and develop explanations
ST3-5WT plans and implements a design process, selecting a range of tools, equipment,
materials and techniques to produce solutions that address the design criteria and
identified constraints
Students explore and define a task by:
 constructing and using a range of representations, including tables and graphs, to
represent and describe observations, patterns or relationships in data including
using digital technologies as appropriate
Students question and predict by:
 with guidance, posing questions to clarify practical problems or inform a scientific
 predicting what the findings of an investigation might be
- describes some physical conditions of the environment and how these affect
the growth and survival of living things
 applying experience from similar situations in the past to predict what might
happen in a new situation
Students plan investigations by:
 with guidance, planning appropriate investigation methods to test predictions,
answer questions or solve problems including surveys, fieldwork, research and fair
 deciding which variable should be changed and measured in fair tests while
keeping everything else the same
 collaboratively and individually selecting suitable methods for gathering data and
information first-hand and from reliable secondary sources
Students conduct investigations by:
 working individually and collaboratively in conducting a range of appropriate
investigation methods, including fair tests, to answer questions or solve problems
 using suitable equipment and materials, checking observations and measurements
by repeating them where appropriate
 using equipment and materials safely, identifying potential risks
 accurately observing, measuring and recording data, using digital technologies as
 using formal units and abbreviations for measuring and recording data
 suggesting improvements to the methods used to investigate a question or solve a
Students process and analyse data and information by:
 constructing and using a range of representations, including tables, graphs
(column, picture, line and divided bar graphs) and labelled diagrams
 using numerical techniques to analyse data and information, including calculating
the means and percentages of small sets of data
 drawing conclusions and providing explanations based on data and information
gathered first-hand or from secondary sources
 comparing gathered data with predictions, and using as evidence in developing
explanations of events and phenomena
 reflecting on their gathered evidence in relation to:
 the process used to gather, process and analyse their data and information
 their own prior knowledge as well as accepted scientific explanations
 their own and others' conclusions
Students communicate by:
 constructing and using a range of representations, including tables and graphs, to
represent and describe observations, patterns or relationships in data including
using digital technologies as appropriate
 using a variety of ways to honestly and accurately communicate ideas,
explanations and processes, including multi-modal texts, labelled diagrams, as well
as written and oral factual texts as appropriate
 exploring needs for, or opportunities to undertake, the task
 identifying the users' needs and wants using techniques, eg observations, surveys,
interviews and market research
 developing a design brief individually and in collaboration with others
 developing design criteria that considers, where relevant, function, aesthetics,
social and environmental considerations
 planning the process considering constraints where relevant, eg time, finance,
resources and expertise
Students generate and develop ideas by:
 selecting and using creative thinking techniques, including mind-mapping,
brainstorming, sketching and modelling
 selecting and using research techniques appropriate to the task
 selecting and using techniques for documenting and communicating design ideas
to others, eg drawings, plans, flow charts, storyboarding, modelling and
presentations, using digital technologies
 identifying a range of appropriate materials for the task
 selecting and using techniques to investigate the suitability of materials
 applying established criteria to evaluate and modify ideas
Students produce solutions by:
 testing the suitability of materials, considering whether the test was fair or not
 developing a plan and specifications to guide production
 using their plans and production sequence
 for a design project, selecting and safely using a range of tools, equipment and
related techniques to cut, edit, join, manipulate and shape materials and/or
Students evaluate by:
 identifying the strengths and limitations of the process used
 self or peer assessing the final product by using the established design criteria
Literacy considerations for this unit
Reading texts
Cluster 11 Analyses and evaluates the relative importance of key ideas and information in a text to construct an overview.
Responds to and analyses texts by discussing the ways language structures and features shape meaning.
Responds to and interprets texts by integrating sources of information in texts.
Cluster 11 Manipulates multiple texts that include a variety of purposes and modes to locate information for a specific purpose.
Uses text navigation skills such as skimming and scanning to efficiently locate specific information in literary, factual and electronic texts.
Vocabulary knowledge
Cluster 11
Demonstrates an understanding of new words for new concepts
Aspects of writing
Cluster 10
Shows awareness of the need to justify opinions with supporting evidence.
Aspects of speaking
Cluster 10
Listens attentively and responds appropriately to spoken and multimodal texts that include unfamiliar ideas and information.
Cluster 11
Uses multimedia to enhance meaning when communicating ideas and information to others.
Numeracy considerations for this unit
Counting sequences
Early arithmetical strategies
Pattern and number structure
Place value
Multiplication & division
Selecting and applying an appropriate scale when presenting data.
Reading markings on measuring device.
Selecting and interpreting an appropriate unit of measurement.
Learning sequence 1: pre-test handouts + unit notebook
Learning Sequence 2: unit notebook
Learning Sequence 3: unit notebook + teacher created task cards (paper or digital)
Learning Sequence 4: unit notebook + bird beak investigation student booklet (provided) + investigation equipment
Learning Sequence 5: unit notebook + teacher created claim cards + student investigation booklet + students/teacher to organise necessary equipment
Learning sequence 6: unit notebook (as stimulus)
Learning sequence 7: unit notebook + assessment task proforma (design brief)
Learning sequence 8: unit notebook + student resourced equipment for 3D model & group habitat enclosure
Learning sequence 9: unit notebook & jointly constructed rubric
Learning Sequence
Teaching Learning and Assessment
Question and predict/what is already known?
Brainstorm and discuss what animals and plants need in order to survive and
 Animals - food, water, shelter, a mate.
 Plants - water, air, sun and soil? (SWAN)
Pre-test 1
What are adaptations?
Why are adaptations important to a
species' survival?
What I already know
Pretest 2:
Look at a picture of a plant/animal species and annotate the picture describing the
features that enable it to survive.
Suggested resource: resource sheet 2 'comparing plants and animals' from Desert
Survivors, Primary Connections.
Pretest 3:
Misconceptions about adaptations: agree/disagree statements (resources) administer
as pre and post test.
Explore a task - guided Research
Define Adaptations - the way in which a species becomes better suited to living in its
environment unique adaptations that organisms have in response to their
Learning Adjustments
Why do animals adapt? What happens if they don't adapt?
Discuss evolution and extinction.
 Darwin's finches & the theory of evolution/natural selection/variation = genes
+ environment
 Video - introduction to adaptation (Unit Notebook)
Discuss quality examples of labelled and annotated diagrams (Unit Notebook)
Define task/pose question: what are survivor qualities? can we design a supersurvivor?
Explore and define a task - guided research
Modify/scaffold task cards as required.
Mixed ability groups.
Identify physical conditions of our various environments:
 introduce biomes/ecosystems/habitats - as a place that provides a group of
plants and animals shelter and food.
Our local environment:
 bushland
 sub tropical rainforest
 salt water mangrove estuaries/lagoons
 fresh water wetlands
 rocky foreshore and sand dunes
 deep ocean
Other Australian habitats:
 Australian desert/Outback
 Gondwana Rainforest
 Antarctica
Task cards - guided research (mixed ability group work). Students research adaptive
features of three animals and three plants in allocated habitats.
Teacher creates a range of task card in order to ensure a wide variety of data (could be
digital with embedded pathfinder links). Adjust the task cards prompts to suit ability
Cards can require students to either:
research a habitat and the features needed to survive (ie: salt water estuary,
rainforest, rocky foreshore, desert)
research a particular species and its adaptive features (water holding frogs; thorny
devils; seagrass; mangroves; spinifex)
research an adaptive feature and identify a variety of species that utilise this
Communicate: Each group presents a brief multimedia presentation and whole class
adds new information to class data retrieval chart (AaL).
*First hand observation opportunities: arrange a guided visit to a zoo/botanical
garden. Have a local expert lead students on a guided walk of local habitats.
Model how to plan/conduct investigations; process/analyse data; communicate
Look at a range of pictures of birds and discuss the habitats they live in, how they
get food and water, what they use for shelter and what may prevent them from
surviving in their habitat
Guide students to plan and conduct Investigation using 'Brilliant Bird Beaks'
graph and analyse data - discuss scientific process
Independently plan/conduct investigations; process/analyse data; communicate
 Reflect upon bird beak investigation procedure. Revise the steps/factors involved
when investigating using the correct scientific process.
 Discuss importance of evidence-based claims in science.
 Explain that pairs of students are going to select a claim and devise their own fair
test to investigate this claim.
Organise students into pairs/teams and have them select a claim card to investigate.
Use teacher prepared claim cards with suggested investigation starters/materials OR
students may be able to develop their own investigation, depending on their level of
Scaffold students by providing investigation
suggestions and data representation skeletons where
required (see Primary Connections 'Desert Survivors'
for examples).
*Students may need grid paper to prepare an accurate
That the larger the ear, the
cooler the animal.
warm water
Devise a fair test to investigate this claim. Complete the
investigation-planning sheet and have this checked by your
teacher. Once you have been approved, conduct your experiment
and record your findings carefully. Graph your data and analyse
the results. Prepare a presentation to the class that either verifies
or rejects the claim.
Possible claims for investigation include:
The waxy coating on leaves improves water retention? (Use petroleum jelly on
the underside of leaves to simulate the waxy side of leaves. Use different
fabrics/materials to represent leaves)
The shape and size of leaves impact on water retention? (Use kitchen sponges
to represent leaves and determine how quickly water evaporates).
Curled leaves help retain water. (Use pieces of kitchen sponge to represent
the curled and uncurled leaves)
Some plants grow in soil but not sand
All plants require light to grow
Some plants are more drought resistant than others
Rising temperatures affect the survival of plants (could investigate se plants as
The larger the ear the cooler the animal (surface area cooling investigation
from PC)
Camouflage helps animals survive
Colouration affects heat retention and survival
Underwater plants cannot survive in fresh water
Fresh water plants are not salt tolerant
1. Give each team a copy of the investigation booklet (resources) and discuss the
various steps.
2. 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
3. Ask students to complete the investigation planner and then share predictions with
the class.
4. Students consider how they will record and present their data prior to the
5. Provide students with the time necessary to set up and conduct their investigations
and complete the investigation booklet and prepare multi-modal
presentations (use digital technologies to represent data accurately).
6. Students present their investigation results and analysis to the class.
Process and analyse data and information/draw conclusions
Discuss some endangered or extinct Australian animals and plants (Unit Notebook)
 Are humans accelerating the rate of biodiversity loss?
 Which adaptations are most likely to ensure survival?
 Revisit Darwin's notion of variation (genes + environment).
 Discuss idea that species adapted to a range of extreme habitats are most able
to /likely to survive.
Generate and develop ideas and design brief to produce solutions
Select a habitat 'Design a Species' prompt card (there should be 5/6 to choose
from - students form groups according to their selected habitat) (these are
teacher created - some examples provided in notebook)
Jointly construct product evaluation criteria rubric
Individual assessment:
Create a design brief - a labeled and annotated diagram for one plant and one animal
Modify task/scaffold with annotation sentence stems.
species designed to be a 'super survivor' in a selected habitat. Student plant/animal
species will be fictional, but the adaptations are factual. Student annotations will
clearly justify adaptive feature selections.
Follow the design brief to create a 3D model of your animal and plant species.
Group assessment:
Design & build a zoo exhibit/enclosure that represents your habitat and that could
sustain all of the animal/plant species of the habitat group.
Produce solutions
Allow student time to create their models.
Peer and self evaluation of design process and product according to agreed criteria.
 discuss genetically modified foods/cloning and speculate whether the
animal/plant species they designed could be feasible in the future.
 explore biomimicry design challenges (see notebook links)

Survival Stage 3 - Kincumber Public School