Ecology and human and environmental health.

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Your task over the next week is to research and present on an ecological issue, answering the big question:

How does ___________ impact on human health and the health of our environment?

The blank can be one of the following issues:

  • Climate change
  • Habitat destruction (deforestation)
  • Introduced species (feral animals or weeds)
  • Pollution (air, water or soil)
  • Over-harvesting (For example; poaching or over-fishing)

Fold your paper in half and half again and write in each of the quarters:

  1. What do you KNOW about your topic?
  2. What do you WANT to know about the topic?
  3. WHERE are you going to find the information you need?
  4. HOW are you going to present your new learning?

Here are some sites to help with your research:


Year 7 Science – What is Life?

This amazing creature has been drawn based on fossils and named Hatzegopteryx – it is thought to be one of the largest flying animals of all time! It had hollow bones,  which meant that it weighed only about one sixth of the weight of a giraffe.

Learning Intention: To understand that living organisms share some common characteristics, despite their diversity. The differences within and between groups helps us organize and classify organisms.

Success Criteria: You will be able to list five characteristics of living organisms, name the five Kingdoms that all living organisms are grouped into and the five classes of vertebrates. You will also be able to discuss why we organize living things into groups and how this system has changed over time.

There is an amazing diversity of life on the planet – and we have evidence of even stranger organisms that are now extinct. What do all living things have in common? Draw up a Venn diagram with three overlapping circles. Add a dog to one, a robot to another and fire to the third. What do these three things have in common? What is different?

We will discuss your answers and decide on the five characteristics of all living organisms. We will also create a dichotomous key using a variety of different sweets and lollies. A dichotomous key is a hierarchical, branching tool that is used to identify organisms.


Year 8 Science: Human Body Systems

arteries and qr code
Each student chooses an organ from either the circulatory, respiratory, digestive or excretory system. They write a web page on a wiki, describing the structure and function of that organ, including labelled diagrams. They write five “I am” statements about the organ and then find out two other organs attached to their organ and link their page to those two pages. They then create a QR code for the answer (heart, arteries, lungs etc) at either of these two sites: QR code or kaywa qr codes with the URL link that directs the reader to their wiki page. The QR code is then attached to the appropriate organ in the human torso model.

For example: “I am an organ in the circulatory system that carries oxygenated blood from the heart. I have thick, muscular walls, no valves and lead to the capillaries.” The QR code scans to produce the link to the wiki page with the answer, “Arteries”, and all the information about that organ. This page would be linked to the heart and capillaries pages.

Act Wild!


Learning Intention:
Students will understand that there is a great variety of living organisms on earth and that humans depend on this biodiversity for their survival.

Success Criteria:
Students will produce a table that includes examples of Biological Services (eg. pollination, production of oxygen by photosynthesis); Biological Products (eg. fruit, wood, seeds and grains, wool, cotton) and Social Benefits.

You now have the choice of five different activites:

Activity 1: Take the Fossweb “Diversity of Life” challenge – upload your digital photos of seeds, leaves, flowers or ‘critters’ to the site.

Activity 2: Complete the worksheet “Characteristics of Life” – from Gerald Ardito in New York.

Activity 3: Create your own video documentary in the style of one of the following famous naturalists: David Attenborough, Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter) or Charles Darwin (“Father of Evolution”)
Make sure you include all the structual, functional and behavioural characterisitics which make your chosen species unique. If it is 60 seconds in duration it can be entered into the 60-second science competition.

Activity 4: Write an essay – “If I was an animal I would be a……………..” . Explain all the characteristics you have in common with that animal and all that is different. David Attenborough, for example, claims he would be a three-toed sloth, because they are incredibly lazy, slow-moving and sleep a lot! Post your essay on your blog with an appropriate creative commons image to match.

Year 7 students have been learning about living organisms and now they can learn how to help save our wildlife at “Act Wild!”. This site has links to events, such as student web conferences and pages to create conservation mash-ups. Go to the site and register, then join the forum under “Wild Schools” by answering the question “How Do The Choices You Make At Home And School Affect Our Australian Wildlife?”. The next student conference is on next Thursday, 18th of October “Act Wild for Gorillas with Zoos Victoria”. Use the Elluminate link to access the session between 2.00pm and 3.00pm. Elluminate Link to “Act Wild for Orangutans” here!

Another great site for learning about our amazing wildlife around the world is ARKive. Sign up for their newsletter and you can create your own albums containing images and videos of your favourite animals. You can also play two different science games – one to design the perfect habitat for the black-footed ferret and another to learn how to save a rare sand lizard.

Classification for Year 7 Science

Learning Intention: This week we will learn about how scientists use a system of classification to identify and order living organisms in our world.
Success Criteria: You will produce a poster, slideshow or blog post that demonstrates your understanding of the five kingdoms of living organisms, including at least three examples of each group. You will need to list several characteristics for each kingdom.

You have several options to choose from:

1. Create a Glogster poster that shows each of the five kingdoms (animals, plants, fungi, bacteria and Protista) with 3 pictures for each kingdom, so a minimum of 15 pictures.

2. Create a slideshow with six slides – title slide and one slide for each kingdom with 3 examples of each group.

3. Go to Encarta on your netbook and complete the activities in the “Living World” area – write a blog post about what you learnt about how living organisms are classified.

4. Read pages 188 to 189 in your text and complete the “Remember” and “Think” questions.

5. Create a paper poster as for option 1.