Interdependence of Living Things and their Environment
Students can begin to think about the connections between living things in terms of the food chain. One of the best places to do this at the Nature Theatre. The presentation includes free flying predatory birds whose habitat and prey will be revealed during the show. Another good place to consider food chains is at Meeting Point F, where there is a large area for a student group to gather and some great information on termites and the food chains of which they are a fundamental part.

Students will also begin to make connections between living things and their environment. They can develop their ideas about where animals live, such as Spinifex Hopping Mice living in burrows in the sand (see the poem about Alexis in Shelter G), birds and other animals living in tree hollows (see the “Nature’s Boarding House” display in the second Desert Riviers Aviary). Other great examples can be viewed in the Nocturnal House.

Structure and Function
Having considered how different living things have different features to help them to live in their environment (Band 1), students now start to consider what might happen to certain animals and plants if their environment changed. For example, what would happen to fish and frogs if their water hole dried up. This can lead on to some further investigation into features and adaptations that these animals have to survive (working towards Band 3), for example, Spencers Burrowing Frog will burrow down in the sand and wait for the next big rains to arrive. Information on this particular example can be found in the Desert Rivers Habitat and on the Desert Park Website in the Nature Notes section

The environment in the desert has changed considerably over time and this has had an impact on the animals and plants that live here. The movie, Changing Heart, introduces these changes, and the Woodland habitat focuses on this too. There are some good interpretations for children at meeting point J, the large shelter near the Woodland entrance to the Nocturnal house. Chilpa the Western Quoll is one animal that has been affected by these changes.

Students begin to classify animals according to their features, such as how they control their body temperature, their body covering and into groups such as reptiles, birds, mammals etc. Examples of all animal groups can be seen at the Park, so a visit to the Park after this teaching has taken place in the classroom is an excellent way to consolidate and celebrate learning.

Reproduction and Change
Having considered how animals ‘have babies’ in Band 1, students now begin to consider how plants reproduce. Having learned that flowering plants produce seeds, which will in turn grow into new plants, a visit to the Park could be arranged. You will be able to see some wildflowers, which grow rapidly after rain and produce seed that that waits in the ground until the next rain comes. You will also be able to see seedpods and fruits on larger plants. A seed collection box is available for you to borrow to study the different shapes and sizes and of a wide collection of seeds. Microscopes are also available for you to borrow to help you to see the fine detail of even the smallest seeds. Contact the Desert Park to arrange to borrow these items.