Evolution, extinction and survival - Stage 6 - Teacher Notes

Information for teachers of Stage 6 students preparing students for a self-guided exploration of the Surviving Australia exhibition at the Australian Museum. This self-guided education program includes five activities with written stimulus questions.


Before your visit

Syllabus links

The specific links between each of the five activities and the New South Wales Board of Studies Stage 6 Biology syllabus outcomes are indicated below in bold.

Biology Stage 6 - 8.5 Evolution of Australian Biota:

1. Evidence for the rearrangement of crustal plates and continental drift indicates that Australia was once part of an ancient super continent - Activities 4 and 5.

2. The changes in Australian flora and fauna over millions of years have happened through evolution- Activities 1, 3, 4 and 5.

4. A study of palaeontology and past environments increases our understanding of the possible future range of ... animals - Activities 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Pre-visit activities

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

  • introducing or revising relevant terminology and concepts used in the 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

The 'Evolution, survival and extinction - Stage 6' student activity sheets are based on displays in the Australian Museum's Surviving Australia exhibition located on level 2 of the Museum.

The activities allow students to examine Australian fauna from the past and the contribution palaeontology makes to our understandings of past and future environments. There are five activities:

  1. Meet the megafauna
  2. The vanishing megafauna - many died!
  3. The vanishing megafauna - some survived
  4. Investigating an extinct Australian animal
  5. The puzzle of the Platypus.
Surviving Australia exhibition

The Surviving Australia exhibition is divided into six main thematic areas:

  • Blue Edge
  • Island Homes
  • Our Backyard
  • Dangerous Australians
  • Adapt or die
  • Where are They Now?

A separate Surviving Australia Exhibition Guide details the content of the exhibition.

Organisational tips
  • Use the Museum Guide Map to guide the students to the Surviving Australia exhibition on level 2.
  • There are five activities in the 'Evolution, survival and extinction -Stage 6 student activity sheets. Students can complete all five activities or teachers may advise students on the most relevant activities to focus on to allow additional time for general exploration of the exhibition.
  • Advise the students that the activities are all based in the Adapt or die: specialists over time section of the exhibition. See the Surviving Australia floorplan.
  • Teachers should ensure that their students work in small groups. Each group should start with a different activity and then rotate through the various activities. Otherwise the displays will be crowded and students will not be able to see them properly.
  • Additional displays of interest include the Tasmanian Tiger specimens in the Where are they now? section, and the Platypus display including a map showing present distribution located in the Adapt or die: land and freshwater section.
  • Additional time should be allowed for students to explore the rest of the exhibition.

Ms Helen Wheeler , Learning Services Operations Manager
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