Interdependence of Living Things and their Environment
Use the three different habitats at the Desert Park to illustrate how environments can differ, and how different living things may have a preference for a particular place. For example, consider different plants in terms of the environments in which they may be found. Some good plants to choose may be Iron Wood and Witchetty bush (Woodland), Spinifex and Desert Oak (Sand Country) and River Red Gums and Sedge (Desert Rivers).

The Nocturnal House is a good place for observing how different animals prefer different habitats and is divided into two halves: Sand Country and Woodland. Enter from the Sand Country end to see the animals that like the Sand Country habitat – the children may observe that many of these animals like to live in burrows in the sand. At the other end of the Nocturnal House you will see animals that are often found in the Woodland habitat. Many of these like to live in trees or in old logs that may be found on the Woodland floor.

Structure and Function
Distinguish between things in the Desert Park that can be classified as living non-living or dead (or once lived) using characteristics such as movement, growth, nutrition and reproduction. This could be done by going on a ‘treasure hunt’ in each habitat using a note book, sketch book or camera to capture what you find (please do not pick anything up or take anything away). You may wish to consider the different world views that we can use to describe whether or not something is living - for example the method above, using the seven characteristics of living things, comes from the Scientific world view. If you wish to consider the Indigenous world view, you may like to ask for the help of a teaching assistant or a Desert Park Guide. Please remember to contact the Park in advance if you would like the support of a guide.

Students may start to think of how structure is related to function. For example birds have wings to fly through the air, fish have fins to swim through the water. The movement of fish through water is best observed in the aquarium, situated in the entrance of the large walk in aviary in Desert Rivers, birds can be observed in any of the aviaries or at the Nature Theatre display, and if you are really lucky, you may get to see how burrowing animals use their feet to dig burrows in the Nocturnal House

Reproduction and Change
Investigate the life cycle of different living things. You may like to consider birds, reptiles, frogs, mammals and insects. The Desert Park will provide you with insects to take back to your classroom and a unit of work to help you study insect life cycles is available on the Units of Work page. Other resources, such as books on the life cycles of different animals can also be borrowed from the Park

Students may also consider the different types of interactions that hat take place between parents and their young, for example birds take care of their young whereas frogs do not. If there are animals breeding at the time of your visit, you may be able to observe the interactions between parents and offspring. Aviaries are often good places for this if birds are nesting. Contact the Park in advance of your visit to see if there are animals with young that can be viewed. Students can then use their observations to consider how the needs of animals change over time as they grow and develop and can compare this to humans, e.g. babies need more care from their parents than older children do.

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