Beyond Bushfires – Animal Adaptations And Fire – Science – Years 5 & 6

Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students explore animal adaptations and how these can help animals live with fire. They begin by exploring their understanding of the relationship of bushfires and the Australian landscape. They then review their understanding of the term adaptation, before exploring the structural adaptations of some Australian animals. They then look at the adaptations Australian animals have in response to bushfires, before exploring the ways we can help animals who have been affected by bushfires.

In partnership with The Conversation, the Beyond the Bushfires series brings the words of scientists who are actively involved in research and science communication into classrooms throughout Australia. Students will explore evidence-based research embedded in the context of real-world practice.

Additional thanks to the Ian Potter Foundation, John T Reid Charitable Trusts and The Myer Foundation, for generously supporting the development of these lessons

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand that animals can have structural and behavioural adaptations
  • Students understand that some animals have adaptations that help them live with fire
  • Students recognise that people can help animals affected by fires, no matter where they live.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingProblem SolvingTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 5 Science

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)
  • Identify, plan and apply the elements of scientific investigations to answer questions and solve problems using equipment and materials safely and identifying potential risks (ACSIS086)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093)

Year 6 Science

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS110)

Syllabus outcomes:ST3-10LW, ST3-4WS, ST3-11LW.

General capabilities:Critical and Creative Thinking, Literacy.

Cross-curriculum priority:Sustainability OI.2, OI.9.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how the form of living things enables them to function in their environments and communicate their ideas and findings using multimodal texts.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things and construct multimodal texts to communicate ideas, methods and findings.

Topics: Climate ChangeThe ConversationBeyond the BushfiresSustainability.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: Beyond the Bushfires – Primary.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in class discussions, oversee group activities, facilitate and oversee online tasks.

Resources required:

Keywords: animals, adaptation, bushfire, structural adaptation, behavioural adaptation.

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

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