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Year 5 Teaching Plan and Resources

Year 5 Content Description for Biological sciences
  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043). Students:

    • (a) explain how particular adaptations help survival…

    • (b) describe and list adaptations of living things suited for particular Australian environments.



This Learning Sequence focuses on the adaptation of particular birds to their urban habitat.

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 features and adaptations of birds around them in urban habitats. They will be conducting a study of different bird species seen at school and home so they can record their observations about the adaptations of these birds to urban habitats. Students will then choose one bird to study and present their research to the class.


  • Select the Urban habitat from the Birds in Habitats section of this website and show some of the birds from this habitat and ask students: Which of these birds do we often see in our school grounds and at home? 


  • Go to the Grow Your Knowledge tab on the Learning About Birds page of this website to encourage students to think about how birds use their physical features (beaks, feet and feathers) and environment (for nesting material and food) to meet their basic needs. 


  • Grow Your Knowledge section of this website


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  • 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 and to be continued throughout this unit.

Step 2:

Take a bird walk

Learning activity sequence
  • Pose a research question asking: What particular features of the birds we see at our school help them to adapt to and survive or thrive here?


  • Make a list of birds seen at our school. Consider what difference the time of day could make to birds observed e.g. before, during and after our school day. Plan how different observable features and behaviours will be recorded. Decide on 2-3 sites for gathering data. Set up a roster for collecting data over one week. See Teacher Information Sheet.


  • Encourage students to make a plan to follow the same procedure at their homes.

Step 3:

Investigate more about local birds

Learning activity sequence
  • Students discuss and collate the results of their data gathering. Compare the results at different times of day and between home and school. Each student needs to start thinking about the one bird they will study in detail.


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

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Step 4:

Undertake a research project about local birds

Learning activity sequence
  • As a class, reflecting on what has been learned so far, create a list of sub-questions for the main research question: What particular features of the birds we see at our school help them to adapt to and survive or thrive here?

  • Students work individually, in pairs or small groups researching the same bird, to answer the research question from Step 2 for oral and audiovisual presentation to the class, using resources on this website or other related sites. See General Teaching Resources page.

  • After this project preparation has been checked/assessed, children practise delivering their talks to each other.

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

Step 5:

Share research findings for assessment

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

  • At Year 5 Bird Conference event, teacher or student explains the investigation students have been doing to adult visitors.

  • Students give oral presentations with accompanying artworks to adult visitors and classmates while the teacher completes Assessment Criteria Sheet.

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

  • Reflect on learning with students: 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?


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

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