E & ES Fossils (Years 11-12)

In this educator-led session students investigate the diversity of Australian Megafauna and possible causes for their extinction.


Creator: Anne Musser © Australian Museum

Museum educator-led program

In this educator-led session students investigate the diversity of Australian Megafauna and possible causes for their extinction using fossils from two important sites in Australia, the Wellington Caves and Cuddie Springs. Students use casts of fossils and archaeological evidence to identify extinct marsupial species, to reconstruct an extinct animal, and to learn how palaeontologists have established that Aboriginal people walked side-by-side with these giants of the past.

Syllabus links

Earth & Environmental Science

Stage 6: Topic 9.3 Environments Through Time
1. Evidence from early Earth indicates the first life forms survived in changing habitats during the Archean and Proterozoic eons
3. The Cambrian event
5. Past extinction and mass extinction events

Maximum number of students

30 (4 groups per day)


60 minutes


$10 (incl GST) per student with a minimum cost of $100 per session. General entry to the Australian Museum is free for school students.


Weekdays during NSW school terms.

Supervision ratios

Teachers and accompanying adults are admitted free at the ratios of 1:4 for pre and primary school groups, 1:10 for secondary school groups and 1:15 for tertiary or English language student groups. Additional teachers and accompanying adults will be charged. One adult supervisor per student with special needs will be admitted free of charge.

Complementary programs

Fossils and a Changing Earth (Stage 6) self guided program


Phone: (02) 9320 6222 or (+612) 9320 6222 for international visitors
Email: Group Booking form

When making a booking or enquiry, please provide the following information:

  • Name of the person arranging the excursion and their contact details (including email and phone)
  • Name and address of the school/organisation
  • Which educator-led program and/or self-guided exhibition visit you'd like
  • 3 possible dates for the excursion (in case your first preference is not available)
  • Approximate number of students
  • School year group or level of the students

Confirmation, payment and cancellation

A booking confirmation will be provided by email once your booking is confirmed.

Cancellations made within 7 days of your booking date and “no shows” will incur the full cost for the booking.

Cancellations must be made in writing (by email to Group.Bookings@austmus.gov.au) and you will be provided written confirmation of the cancellation.

Payment can be made on the day by cash, cheque (made out to the Australian Museum) or credit card, or alternatively an invoice can be provided after the visit. Individual students/adults in the group are not able to pay separately.

Plan your visit

Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your booked session, to allow time to get through admissions, cloak bags (if required), use the toilets etc.

When you arrive you will need to provide admissions staff with your booking confirmation number, school name and student numbers for the day. If you have booked through an external provider, you will need to provide the name of this organisation.

A Museum staff member will be on hand to greet your group. They will brief the students about how to move around the Museum and direct you to areas of the Museum you intend to visit.

In the event of a late arrival to the Museum or to the booked session, some parts of the session may need to be cut from the program to keep to the scheduled finish time.

There is limited bag storage available on site. It is recommended that students just bring a small carry bag with the essentials for the day, however if required, storage can be provided depending on availability.

There is no space for large groups to have recess or lunch inside the Museum. There is undercover outdoor space –The Garden – which is accessible from William Street. Alternatively, Hyde Park is just opposite the Museum across College St and Cook & Philip Park is across William Street.

Students are encouraged to take photos, video and/or audio to record their excursion. Some temporary exhibitions do not allow photography but you will be advised of this on arrival.

Teachers and supervising adults are required to stay with their groups at all times.

Disciplining of students remains the responsibility of teachers and supervising adults accompanying the group.

Please let us know when booking if your students have any special needs or learning difficulties so we can plan to accommodate their needs during the visit.

There is more information on getting to the Australian Museum including details of parking and public transport available here. There is limited street parking for buses on College St, near St Mary’s Cathedral.

The Australian Museum provides access to all areas for those in wheelchairs and mobility vehicles. Further information on accessibility is available here.

Create Consultants operate food and dining options on site at the Australian Museum. For groups, lunchboxes can be ordered up to 5 working days before your visit. For details, and to order, please contact amevents@createconsultants.com.au or 9320 6182.

Education Resources

Australian Museum Map
Teacher Notes
Student Activities

NSW Syllabus Outcomes and Content

Earth & Environmental Science Stage 6

9.3 Environments Through Time

1. Evidence from early Earth indicates the first life forms survived in changing habitats during the Archean and Proterozoic eons.
Students learn to:
Identify that geological time is divided into eons on the basis of fossil evidence of different life forms.
Define cyanobacteria as simple photosynthetic organisms and examine the fossil evidence of cyanobacteria in Australia.
Outline the processes and environmental conditions involved in the deposition of a Banded Iron Formation (BIF).
Examine and explain processes involved in fossil formation and the range of fossil types.
Gather and analyse information from secondary sources to explain the significance of the Banded Iron Formations as evidence of life in primitive oceans.
Gather, analyse and present information from secondary sources on the habitat of modern stromatolites and use available evidence to propose possible reasons for their reduced abundance and distribution in comparison with ancient stromatolites.

3. The Cambrian Event
Students learn to: 

Interpret the relative age of a fossil from a stratigraphic sequence.
Process information to examine at least one example of a stratigraphic sequence and describe any fossils found in this sequence.

5. Past extinction and mass extinction events
Students learn to:
Explain the recent extinction of the marsupial, bird and reptile megafauna in Australia, as an example of smaller extinction events involving several large species.
Gather, analyse and present information from secondary sources to compare two different concepts used to explain mass extinction events.
Analyse information from secondary sources on at least two different hypotheses used to explain the extinction of the megafauna.

Vanessa Gardos , Manager, Education
Last Updated:

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