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Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre

Royal National Park Environmental Education Centre

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I investigate living things

Science and Technology - Living World

Supports the Primary Connections unit - Feathers, fur or leaves

Students embark on a day of scientific discovery. They participate in a range of hands-on activities to investigate living things and the natural environment.

Program feedback

"It was all about the classification of living things (both plants and animals). Students learned about classifying in informal ways (colour, texture) and formal ways (animal groups e.g. mammals, marsupials, monotremes). Students had really tactile experiences with knowledgeable leaders. There was also authentic integration of Dharawal language and Dreaming stories. My students loved the day and got a lot out of the sensory experiences...Very worthwhile!"

Key syllabus outcomes

A student:

  • questions, plans and conducts scientific investigations, collects and summarises data and communicates using scientific representations ST2-1WS-S
  • compares features and characteristics of living and non-living things ST2-4LW-S

Skills focus - working scientifically

Planning and conducting investigations

  • conduct scientific investigations to find answers to questions
  • use appropriate materials and equipment safely (ACSIS054, ACSIS065)
  • collect and record accurate, honest observations using labelled observational drawings, basic formal measurements and digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS055, ACSIS066)


  • represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings, using formal and informal representations (ACSIS060, ACSIS071)

Inquiry questions

  • How can we group living things?
  • What are the similarities and differences between the life cycles of living things?


Classification of living things


  • collect data and identify patterns to group living things according to their external features, and distinguish them from non-living things (ACSSU044) SysT
  • identify that science involves making predictions and describing patterns and relationships (ACSHE050, ACSHE061) SciT

Life cycles of living things


  • identify that living things have life cycles (ACSSU072)
  • conduct an investigation into the life cycle of plants and/or animals (ACSSU072) SciT

Learning activities


  • observe the external features of preserved animals and group them in various ways
  • use their senses to examine living things and their evidence on a bushwalk
  • examine leaf shapes and/or seed pods and use them to identify and group plants
  • complete a scratch art of leaves, take a leaf rubbing or create ephemeral art using leaves and seed pods
  • relate seeds to plant life cycles 
  • search for invertebrates on land (leaf litter) or in the water (dipnetting)
  • create a model of a lifecycle using natural materials
  • depending on site, birdwatch, find and classify feathers, search for crabs, collect and classify litter and/or group flotsam and jetsam found on the beach

Recommended excursion sites