Evolution of Australian Biota Study Day - Sydney

A full day program for Stage 6 Biology students.

Student with Diprotodon fossils

Photographer: Stuart Humphreys © Australian Museum

This popular full day program was developed by the Australian Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust and Taronga Zoo. Students examine fossils, specimens, live animals and plants to investigate the evolution and adaptations of Australian animals and plants.

Educator-led program

Students spend half a day at the Australian Museum and half a day the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. It is walking distance between the two venues.
The Study Day comprises four one-hour sessions – two at the Museum and two at the Garden.

At the Museum:

  • Learning from fossils: a museum educator-led session. Students work in small groups and perform first-hand investigations using fossils and specimens of Australian animals to compare current and extinct forms. Activities focus on Australian megafauna and on platypus evolution.
  • Evolution, survival and extinction: a museum self-guided session. Students gather and analyse information from displays in the Surviving Australia exhibition to examine reasons for the evolution, survival and extinction of Australian fauna and the contribution palaeontology makes to our understanding of past and future environments.
  • Australian Museum Risk assessment form

At the Garden:

  • Botanic Garden educator-led session. Students investigate native Australian plants, including the forests of Gondwana, living plant fossils, and pollination strategies of some modern species. 
  • Zoo educator-led session. The Taronga Zoomobile visits the Garden allowing students to interact with live animals while learning about the adaptations and evolution of native Australian animals including kangaroos and echidnas. The changing ideas of scientists are also considered with reference to the modern Platypus.
  • Botanic Gardens Trust Risk assessment

Syllabus links:

  • Biology Stage 6 – detailed syllabus links are in the Teacher Notes

Booking a Study Day:

  • Bookings are essential:  Sydney-based Study Days are booked through the Australian Museum Bookings Office
  • Maximum number of students: 25 per session (4 sessions per day) – smaller groups may be combined
  • Duration: Four one-hour sessions – 9.15 am to 2.30 pm
  • Cost: $31.90 (incl GST) per student including Museum general entry and sessions with Museum, Garden and Zoo Educators.
  • Locations: Australian Museum (Science Studio and Surviving Australia exhibition, both on Level 2) and Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney (Education Centre and outdoors)
  • Transport: Coach drop-off or public transport
Dates available:
  • 10 - 12 June 2015
  • 22 - 26 June 2015
  • 14 - 17 July 2015
  • 20 - 24 July 2015
  • 27 - 31 July 2015
  • 24 - 28 August 2015
  • 31 August - 4 September 2015
Booking changes or cancellations:
  • Decreases or increases in your booked number must be advised by 4 weeks before the excursion date.
    If the number of students attending the Study Day is significantly lower (by 5 students or more) than expected, the school will be invoiced for the booked number of students. (Your Booking Confirmation form will show the booked number expected.)
  • We reserve the right to cancel days/sessions not fully filled (although this is highly unlikely at the Sydney venue).
Please note:
  • The Australian Museum's two sessions Learning from fossils and Evolution, survival and extinction can also be booked independently at other times throughout the year. This enables some flexibility in session times, length and content.
  • A shorter Evolution of Australian Biota Study Day is also available on selected dates at:
    Coffs Harbour
    Mount Tomah
    Mount Annan
  • The Australian Museum also runs Video Conferences for this topic.

Education Resource Kit

An Education Kit will be posted before your booked excursion date.
It includes updated versions (for the current year's program) of the following:

1.  Teacher Notes for Evolution of Australian Biota Study Day - Sydney

2.  Student Activity Sheets for the four sessions:

3.  Answers for teachers (for each of the four sessions).

Beth Blaxland , Education Project Officer
Last Updated:

Tags education, program, outline, educator-led, biota, program outline,