Interdependence of Living Things and Their Environment – At this level, students are beginning to develop a more sophisticated understanding of the relationships between the biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) factors in an ecosystem. Using each habitat of the Desert Park as a base for exploring an ecosystem, students can identify the components of each habitat in terms of producers and consumers.

A visit to the nature theatre to see the Birds of Prey show will enhance their understanding of the interactions between species within each habitat. Presentations usually refer to the habitat. You may like to contact the Park in advance to find out what will be presented at Nature Theatre on the day of your visit. You may also be able to talk to the Nature Theatre staff about your learning focus on the interactions in a food web and they can then be sure to emphasise this in the presentation.

Once they have a good understanding of the interactions between the various components of an ecosystem (Desert Park habitat), students may consider the impact of change upon this ecosystem using models such as food webs. For example is a particular species was introduced that was not originally part of the food web (such as a fox or a rabbit) or if one of the components should die out. Changes to the habitat should also be considered. The Woodland Habitat at the Desert Park deals specifically with the theme of change as different species have been introduced and land uses have changed.

Structure and Function – Students should be able to classify things based on their observable features. A collection of insects, some microscopes, some insect books and some insect classification keys can all be borrowed from the Park. You may wish to bring your students to the Park and use the Education Room for your activity, or the resources and can be borrowed and used at school.

Reproduction and Change – Students consider how plants and animals have adapted to their particular environment. For example they may recall the work that they have done on Water Wise animals and Plants and compare the features of these with plants and animals that have adapted to live in wet environments such as the Top End.

Students may also carry out a research project on an animal which has become extinct, locally extinct or is highly endangered and consider possible explanations for this decline. The Woodland Habitat and the Nocturnal House would be great places to start this research. There is also considerable amounts of information on this in books and files in the educations room. Contact the Park for more information and suggestions on good species to study (students may find it hard to source information on some species).

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