Evolution and adaptations - Stage 5 - Teacher Notes

Information for teachers preparing students for a self-guided exploration of the SkeletonsBirds and Insects and Dinosaurs exhibitions at the Australian Museum.

Students with hominid skulls

Students with hominid skulls
Photographer: Stuart Humphreys © Australian Museum

Before your visit

Syllabus links

These activities link with the NSW Board of Studies Stage 5 Science syllabus are shown below.

  • 5.2 Knowledge & Understanding - Describes the processes that are applied to test and validate theories and laws.
  • 5.8 Knowledge & Understanding - Relates the structure and function of living things to models, theories and laws.
  • 5.16 Skills - Accesses information from a wide variety of secondary sources.
  • 5.17 Skills - Explains trends, patterns and relationships in data and/or information from a variety of sources.
  • 5.18 Skills - Uses critical thinking skills in evaluating information and drawing conclusions.

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

  • introducing concepts related to evolution, natural selection and adaptations.
  • introducing or revising relevant terminology used in the Evolution and Adaptations student activity sheets.
  • 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 student:

The following materials should be photocopied for each supervising adult:

At the Australian Museum

On site Activities

The Evolution and Adaptations activities are based on displays in three exhibitions at the Australian Museum:

  • Skeletons located on Level G,
  • Birds and Insects located on Level 2
  • Dinosaurs also on Level 2.

The activities enable students to explore concepts related to evolution, natural selection, adaptations and diversity while surrounded by a rich array of specimens.
There are three activities:

  • Pentadactyl Limb in the Skeletons exhibition
  • Adaptations in Birds in the Birds and Insects exhibition
  • What is Archaeopteryx? in the Dinosaurs exhibition
Organisational tips

The three activities should take about 50 minutes in total.
We suggest that you:

  • Divide students into small groups.
  • Start different groups with different activities so that there are about the same number of groups doing each activity at any one time, to prevent overcrowding at exhibits.
  • Ask the groups to rotate to a second activity after 15 minutes, and then to their final activity after another 15 minutes.
  • Use the Australian Museum Guide Map to find your way to the exhibitions on Level G and Level 2.
  • If students finish the activities before their designated finishing time, they can explore the exhibitions for displays that capture their interest. This could be combined with an informal discussion back at school – ‘what most captured my interest and why’.

Laura McBride , Creative Producer
Last Updated:

Tags evolution, adaptation, teachers, notes, stage 5, self, guided, skeletons, birds, dinosaurs,