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Classroom activities for students in years 5 to 12

Knowing & understanding

1. Create a poster or PowerPoint presentation using the photographs you took during your visit to the Museum. You could do this as a class or in groups. The poster or presentation could focus on an environmental theme you explored, including water, biodiversity, disasters, resources, habitat and land over time.

2. Research a native animal in your state or territory that is endangered. Do this in groups or as individuals. Why is your animal endangered? How should it be protected? What is being done to protect it? Present your research in a speech, report or multi-media poster at

3. Brainstorm places in your local community that fit into the following categories – home, community, fun, landmarks, flora and fauna. Again, you could do this as a class or in groups, Remember to discuss natural features as well as built landscapes. What does your brainstorm reveal about your local community?

Applying & analysing

1. Explore the ABC's climate history timeline at and as a class or in groups make similar timeline of your community's environmental history. How have Aboriginal people in your area lived with the land? How did European settlers change the land? Have there been any environmental disasters? You could create your timeline online at

2. Hold a class debate on a topic such as:

  • Australia's environmental policies are adequate for the 21st century.
  • In the history of the Australian continent, humans have done more bad than good.
  • Fires and droughts are the worst natural disasters in Australia.

3. Conduct a field study in your local area or school playground. Mark out an area of grassland and record the animals and plants present, including animal tracks and birds overhead. Observe your designated area over a school term.

4. Explore your local community – as a class or in groups – by:

  • creating a concept map of the distinguishing features of your community
  • taking a walk around the area to discover clues about your local history, for example street names, building dates, creek names etc

5. Construct a 3D table map of your community using recycled and natural materials. What local features should or should not be included, and why?

Evaluating & creating

1. Create an exhibition, as a class or in groups, on a topic such as:

  • Australia's native animals (and introduced species
  • Australia's natural resources
  • Australia and water
  • The environmental future of Australia

Remember to include a selection of objects and images in your exhibition with detailed labels identifying what the artefact is and why it was selected for your exhibition.

2. Visualise land change over time. As a class or in groups, choose a local area you know well, like your school or a playing field. Using your imagination discuss how this piece of land may have changed over time. Draw a set of pictures of what this piece of land looks like

  • 300 years ago
  • 150 years ago
  • 50 years ago
  • now

In your pictures you may like to include animals, objects, people and buildings where appropriate. Then conduct research into your local area to see how accurate your imagination was!

3. Imagine encountering an entirely new species of animal. The following is a 1792 account by Lt George Tobin of his experience of an echidna:

A kind of sloth about the size of a roasting pig, with a proboscis two or three inches in length on the back were short quills like those or a porcupine. This animal was roasted and found of a delicate flavour.

a. Imagine that you are an early pioneer in Australia and you encounter two native animals you have never seen before. Write a letter to your family home in England describing the 'new' animals.

b. Consider the words Lt George Tobin used to describe the echidna. How do you think European settlers viewed native animals? Have attitudes towards native flora and fauna changed since colonial days? If so, in what ways?

4. Adopt a native endangered animal and develop a program to aid its survival, including recommendations to the government. Present your program in a speech, photo essay or multi-media poster at