Bones and Bellies - Stage 3 Teacher Notes

Students will explore the Skeletons: Framework for survival exhibition and use keen observations of skeleton features to solve clues about predators and their prey. Theyare then able to pool their results on to a food web which can be used as a class resource.


Skeletons Exhibition

Skeletons Exhibition
Photographer: Carl Bento © Australian Museum

Before your visit

Syllabus links

This activity addresses aims and objectives of the NSW K-6 Science and Technology Syllabus in particular the Living Things content strand: Identifies, describes and evaluates the interactions between living things and their effects on the environment.

Before Your Visit

To make the most of your visit to the exhibition we recommend that you prepare your students beforehand by:

  • introducing or revising relevant terminology used in the Bones and Bellies student activity sheets including the following vocabulary: skull, canine, molar, vertebrate, reptile, predator, prey, food web, incisors, mammal (placental, monotreme, marsupial)
  • providing a context for the excursion to the Museum including the reasons for visiting the Museum, the tasks to be completed and the expected outcomes.

Please photocopy the following materials for each class:

The following materials should be photocopied for each supervising adult:

  • Museum Guide Map
  • Your excursion timetable including your booked session time(s).
  • Written materials that the students will be using.

At the Australian Museum

This is a self-guided activity in the Skeletons exhibition. Students use their skills of observation of skeleton features to solve clues about predators and their prey. The class is then able to complete two food webs.
The two food webs focus on:

  • land animals,
  • marine animals.

Activity instructions

  • This activity is designed to take a class group approximately 30 minutes.
  • Direct the students to the Skeletons exhibition – Ground Level.
  • Allow the students five minutes to explore the exhibition.
  • Point out the different areas of the exhibition – Mammals (Monotremes, Marsupials, Placentals), Amphibians, Reptiles, Fishes, Exoskeletons/Endoskeletons, Marine Mammals and Birds. (See the ‘Skeletons exhibition’ map)
  • Divide the class into eight groups. Hand out a clue card to each group of students.
  • To complete the activity students will need to use keen observation of skeleton/skull features, and prior knowledge of terms, such as canine, molar, marsupial. It may be useful to complete one card, as an example, with the whole class.
  • The student findings should be reported back to the teacher and recorded on the appropriate food web.
  • When all clues are completed the clue cards can be swapped with another group.
Organisational tips
  • Use the Museum Guide Map to guide the students to the Skeleton’s exhibition on level 2 of the Museum.
  • Advise the students that they will investigate 4 activities in this exhibition and that each activity is based in a different part of the exhibition.
  • We suggest that you divide the students into groups to rotate through the various activities in order to avoid overcrowding of the displays.

Post-visit activities

  • Enlarge the completed food webs and display in the classroom to stimulate group discussions.

Jenny Horder , Manager
Last Updated:

Tags student, education, program, self-guided,