Program Overview

This program is designed specifically for ESI students who are learning about their natural environment. Students will learn about what plants and animals need to survive and how plants and animals respond to changes in the environment. They will explore plants using magnifying glasses, meet animal puppets, go on a nature trail and create habitats for animals showing what they have learnt. They also complete a number of sensory activities – including touch, smell, sound and sight. The day concludes with a fun tag game where students are possums and can only win the game when they have collected all of their needs:  water, shelter, air and food.

Key Questions

1. What do living things need to survive?

2. How do plants and animals respond to changes in the environment?

Learning Experiences

Nature trail

Students are introduced to the idea of a nature trail through the text “The Bushwalk” by Sandra Kendell.

Students will then begin a nature trail to find items that have been placed along the trail, and also to use their own ‘detective’ eyes to discover any other things of interest (signs of living things). Students will learn about how plants and animals respond to changes in the environment, such as day and night and seasonal changes.

What do plants and animals need to survive?

Students find their favourite leaf and examine with a magnifying glass. Activities are then conducted that help students understand what plants need to survive. Students visit the big old fig tree at Scott’s Bay and learn how plants need certain things to survive, but some animals need plants to survive. Using animal puppets students brainstorm all the different things that animals need to survive and record them under four headings: food, air, water and shelter. The students use pictures of the animals and end up creating a graph.

The students will work in small groups and use model plants and water as well as collected small rocks, logs, leaves and bark, to create a habitat for an animal they have chosen. When their habitats have been created, providing the needs of life (food, air, water, shelter), the animals are placed into them. Each group will then tour the other groups habitats. All materials are returned to their collection site.

Exploring our senses / Possum tag

Students participate in a number of sensory activities designed to activate different senses. This can include ‘What’s that smell?’, ‘Mystery touch boxes’, ‘Magic Spot’, ‘Blindfold games’.

Students play ‘Possum Tag’ – a game designed to consolidate the learning from the day. Students wear possum ears and need to catch their food, water, air and shelter so that they can survive.

Students making habitats during the Living Things for Kindi program
Photo by Rose Constable- Lycaena butterfly

Syllabus Outcomes

Science and technology K-6: Knowledge and understanding

  • STe-8NE identifies the basic needs of living things.
  • STe-7NE observes, using their senses, how daily and seasonal changes in the environment affect them and other living things.

Science and technology K-6: Skills

  • STe-4WS explores their immediate surroundings by questioning, observing using their senses and communicating to share their observations and ideas.

Science Content

Living things have basic needs, including food and water  (ACSSU002)


  • describe what plants and animals, including humans, need to stay alive and healthy, eg food, water and air.
  • identify the needs of a variety of living things in a range of situations.

Daily and seasonal changes in our environment, including the weather, affect everyday life  (ACSSU004)

  • identify how plants and animals respond to changes in the environment, eg trees losing their leaves and the thickness of animals’ fur.

This program also supports:

A student: