Program Overview

This program is designed for Stage 2 students who are learning about their living world. Students will learn about how animals and plants have a variety of external features that help us to identify and classify living things. Students will undertake fieldwork to identify plants and animals in two different environments (one aquatic, one land based). They will use simple classification systems to identify plants and animals, recording and discussing their results. Life cycles of animals and plants in the two environments will be a focus point for discussion throughout the day. A variety of additional activities are also available to support the learning on the day.

Key Questions

1. How can we use external features of plants and animals to help us to identify and sort living things?

2. What are the life cycles of some living things in our local environment?

Learning Experiences

Students explore two different environments at Bournda National Park – one aquatic and one land based.

Minibeast hunt

Students learn how to create a small quadrat (sample area)  in a dry environment to explore an area for living things. Students are shown how to safely search for and catch bugs. They then use the minibeasts recording sheet with ID drawings to record the number of different types of minibeasts found. Students then record details of one of these minibeasts using the student worksheet. As it is likely that students will encounter minibeasts at different stages of their life cycles this is a great opportunity to explore this concept.  All organisms are returned unharmed to their environment.

Estuary dip netting

Students walk along the edge of Bournda Lagoon or Wallagoot Lake to a suitable location.  Using the dip nets students collect specimens by scooping along the lagoon bed.

All contents are emptied into white trays and students sort through specimens found, locating the same species. Students classify into plant and animal groupings. Students then investigate the collected live specimens and complete the classification worksheet.


Students play the role of botanists and name and describe some common plants found in Bournda National Park.  The students make detailed and accurate observations of the plants and make drawings of their features.  Botanical illustrations by the students can include: drawings of leaves and flowers, leaf rubbings, gum-nut drawings and bark rubbings.  Students will explore how the features they are studying relate to the plant’s life cycle. Students and teachers are encouraged to explore our fabulous digital herbarium before and after their visit.

Additional activities

Beach sculpture:

In pairs students build a sand model of one animal they have investigated during the day. Students also construct a suitable model of the habitat required to provide their model animal with its needs. Once complete students walk around to each model and the students who made the model explain what it is and the habitat required.


Students walk along the beach looking for the items listed on an identification sheet that are most frequently found along the shoreline. Students classify items by placing objects into groupings of plant, animal and once alive. Group discussion on the needs of each item that was once living.

Waterbug Survey 2016
Environmental Science S2

Syllabus Outcomes

Science and technology K-6: Knowledge and understanding


A student:
describes that living things have life cycles, can be distinguished from non-living things and grouped, based on their observable features

Science and technology K-6: Skills


A student:
investigates their questions and predictions by analysing collected data, suggesting explanations for their findings, and communicating and reflecting on the processes undertaken

Science Content

Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things.

  • sort objects according to whether they are living or non-living
  • identify some features of living things that distinguish them from non-living things, eg reproducing, growing and responding to stimuli
  • identify and use patterns in the observable features of living things to group them, by using tables, diagrams or flowcharts
  • research ways that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples classify some plants or animals

Living things have life cycles.

  • observe first-hand one animal or plant as it grows and develops, and sequence the stages in its life cycle
  • identify ways that the environment can affect the life cycle of plants and animals

Students conduct investigations by:

  • following the planned method, adjusting procedures as necessary, including exploration, fieldwork, surveys and researching secondary sources
  • safely using appropriate materials, tools or equipment to make and record observations, using formal measurements and digital technologies as appropriate
  • using a range of methods to record observations and measurements with care and honesty, including tables and formal units for length, time and mass