BPS Learning Activities

Learning Sequence 1:

DRAMA: Read Goldilocks & the Three Bears. Have students act out the story. Review the story focusing on Goldilock's needs with everything "just right". Explain the Goldilocks Zone as an area where conditions for species are just right - e.g. , food, water, shelter, nest sites, temperature range, etc. Have students re-enact the Goldilocks story but modify it where nothing in the story is "just right".

Learning Sequence 2:

WRITING: In small groups, have students draw a tree on a large sheet of paper (including an underground root system). Discuss ands define the terms habitat and ecosystem with the class. Explore a tree based ecosystem. Students add to the tree picture by drawing what might use the tree as a habitat, e.g - ants, brush-tailed possums, birds, termites, green tree snakes, koalas, fungus, mistletoe, frogs, etc. Discuss what could happen if the tree dies. Have students write an imaginative recount from the viewpoint of a creature displaced by the death of the tree.

Learning Sequence 3:

PDHPE: Discuss common threatening processes to the environment. List on board. e.g. - land clearance, habitat fragmentation and degradation, road deaths, feral animals, invasive weed species, hunting, disease, natural disaster, extreme weather events and climate change. Play The Remnant Game.

The Remnant Game; (Similar to Musical Chairs)

The remnant game:

Materials Needed:

  • Newspaper (Optional: enlarge a bird’s eye view of trees onto A3 paper – image can be modified to suit topics studied, e.g. rainforest, marine environment, Antarctica, etc.)
  • Marker
  • Music (I like Rip Rip Woodchip for this activity).

Key Terms & Concepts:

Remnant habitat, pristine, degraded, territory, holding capacity, threats, extinction.

How to Play:

As a class, compile a list of threats to the environment. Clear a space large enough for the group size (indoors if windy). Students stand in a circle around the game area and select a native animal they will represent (optional: they can move like their animal, e.g. birds can flap their arms, kangaroos can hop). Place sheets of newspaper on the floor inside the circle.

Explain that each sheet of newspaper on the floor represents a pristine remnant habitat that can support four animals. Students can claim a territory by placing a foot on the newspaper. NO PUSHING OR DIVING. They will need their own territory for food, water, shelter and nesting sites to survive. Explain that habitats capable of supporting life already do – there is no empty bushland. Displaced animals will become extinct, i.e. – out of the game. They can sit around the game play area and help judge who was last to claim a territory.

Start with more than enough territory (newspaper) for each student. Play music & students walk, dance or mimic animals around the game space. When music stops students must claim a territory. Ensure the correct number of students for the habitat’s holding capacity. Encourage students to find a vacant territory. Play a few rounds until students are familiar with game play. When satisfied, review the habitats.

When newspaper becomes crumpled and torn, explain to students that the habitat has become degraded and its holding capacity is diminished. It will now only support three animals. Label the affected newspaper with the new capacity limit. Continue play until animals outnumber habitat provisions and students start becoming extinct.

Explain that you are specific environmental threats, e.g. fox predation, and tear off sections of newspaper. Reduce the holding capacity and label the remnant habitat. Choose a new threat each round, e.g. bushfire, land clearing, etc. (Tip: use local environmental issues & real building developments) Review habitat conditions and reduce capacity as it becomes further degraded and torn. Continue until only one animal remains as the winner. (Optional: Claim to be climate change & tear up the remaining portion of habitat resulting in no winner).

Finish with a discussion where students share their thoughts. Reassure that all environmental problems have solutions but “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Modify to suit student group.

Learning Sequence 4:

SCIENCE: Begin with a discussion about students' favourite seasons, e.g. I like Summer because I love swimming at the beach. Have students list