Year 4 Teaching Plan and Resources

Year 4 Content Descriptions for Biological sciences
  • Living things have life cycles (ACSSU072). Students:

    • (a) make and record observations of living things as they develop through their life cycles,

    • (b) describe stages of life cycles of living things,

    • (c) recognise that environmental factors can affect life cycles.

 

  • Living things depend on each other and the environment to survive (ACSSU073). Students:

    • (a) investigate how plants provide shelter for animals,

    • (b) investigate the role of living things in a habitat for instance as producers, consumers or decomposers,

    • (c) observe and record predator-prey relationships,

    • (d) predict the effects when living things in feeding relationships are removed or die out in an area – the issue of sustainability,

    • (e) recognise that interactions between living things may be competitive or mutually beneficial.

(Reference: https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au)

This Learning Sequence focuses on life cycles and the interdependence of living things within the environment.

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Step 1:

Introduce students to local birds and prepare for a bird walk

Learning activity sequence
  • Explain to students they will be learning about the life cycles of local birds and their interactions with plants and other animals. They will be taking a birdwatching walk so they can record their observations about different stages in a bird’s life and how they interact with their immediate environment.
     

  • Students will then choose one bird for study to examine:

    • (a) What living things, plants or animals, does this bird depend on to survive?

    • (b) What living things, plants or animals, depend on this bird and why?

    • (c) Does this mutual interdependence between the selected bird and plants/other animals change during its life cycle?

 

  • Students work in small groups or individually to present their findings at the end of the unit to their classmates, their teacher/teachers and invited guests such as parents.

  • Select the habitat from the Habitats section of this website that matches your local habitat. Show some of the birds from this habitat and ask students:

    • Which of these birds do we find in our school neighbourhood? Have we seen young and adult birds?

    • Watch videos of the birds in the Habitats section of this website to investigate what kinds of food they eat and what kinds of materials they use to build their nests.

 

  • To show students how many birds they already know, guide them through the Bird ID PowerPoint of common Australian birds.

  • Begin a Questions about birds/What we know about birds class chart based on this discussion, to be continued throughout this unit.

 

Resources

Click here for full size or preview below

Life Cycle of the Noisy Miner. No narration.

 

  • Review the different stages in the development of birds by working as a class to decide what stage of a bird’s life is being shown in each of the following videos and what the birds are doing at that particular stage. Record this on the Behaviour Observation Sheet. Also see Teacher Information for Life Stages Videos.

Click here for full size or preview below

Life Stages - Stages of Development [Sequence of 13 videos]. No narration.

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  • Tell students in the next lesson they will be going for a bird walk. View and discuss Birding Tips.

Step 2:

Take a bird walk

Learning activity sequence
Resources
 

 

  • Walk to/through the chosen habitat with adults asking Guiding Questions, ensuring sightings are recorded and encouraging questioning and predicting from students. Ask the students if any of the birds they see are at different stages of development and ask them how they might tell. Students could also note the types of food they saw birds eating as well as the kinds of material used to construct any nests seen on the walk.

 

  • After returning to the classroom, compare group Walk Recording Sheets and add any questions or facts learnt to the Questions about birds/What we know about birds class chart.

Step 3:

Investigate more about local birds

Learning activity sequence
  • Students make a record in their Science books about their favourite birds from the walk, with a labelled drawing and additional information about this bird.

 

  • Students watch the videos related to the Cycle of Interdependence (below) and discuss the ways birds assist their habitat and how the habitat assists birds.

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Resources

Cycle of Interdependence

Concept developed by Roger Catchpoole

Birds help sustain their habitats

Habitats sustain birds

CycleInterdependence.jpg

Habitats provide food

Birds help pollinate plants

Birds help disperse seeds

Habitats provide shelter and nesting materials

Click here for full size or preview below

What Birds Eat. No narration.

Click here for full size or preview below

Birds' Nests. No narration.

  • Ask students to choose the bird they will study individually, in pairs or small groups, in order to investigate:

    • (a) What living things, plants or animals, does this bird depend on to survive?

    • (b) What living things, plants or animals, depend on this bird and why?

    • (c) Does the mutual interdependence between this bird and plants/other animals change during its life cycle?

  • Make a class list of selected birds with children’s names attached.

 
Step 4:

Undertake a research project about local birds

  • Play Discovery Box video below:

Click here for full size or preview below

  • Use the viewing of the above to show how birds make clever choices regarding suitable nest-building materials and safe locations for their nests.

  • Students work individually, in pairs or small groups, using resources on this website or other related sites listed on the General Teaching Resources page, to find answers to their research questions about a local bird.

  • Students create a chart or multimedia presentation about their selected bird for presentation at their Bird Conference.

  • After this research presentation description has been checked/assessed, children practise presenting their talks to each other.

  • Students complete Invitations to their parents to come to their Bird Conference. 

 
 
Step 5:

Share research findings for assessment

Learning activity sequence
  • Plan order of presentations and practise in class.

  • The Year 4 Bird Conference is introduced by a teacher or student who explains the investigation students have been doing to adult visitors.

  • Students present illustrated talks or multimedia presentations to adult visitors and classmates while teacher completes Assessment Criteria Sheet.

  • After the event, ask students what they found most interesting in their bird study and what else they want to learn about birds. Refer to Questions about birds/What we know about birds chart and inquire:

    • Have any of these questions been answered?

    • Do they have more questions? 

    • How will they find answers now this study is finished?

    • What do they know about birds now that they didn’t know before?

Resources

Banner image: Children at school by Lucelia Ribeiro. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr

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