Surviving Australia Exhibition - Stages 1-3 Teacher Notes

Information for teachers preparing students for a self-guided exploration of the Surviving Australia exhibition. 

Baby Crocodiles

Baby Crocodiles
Photographer: Carl Bento © Australian Museum

Before your visit

The key theme addressed in this exhibition is the diversity and adaptations for survival of Australian animals over time.

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

  • Blue Edge
  • Island Homes
  • Our Backyard
  • Dangerous Australians
  • Adapt or Die 
Pre-visit activities

To make the most of your visit to the exhibition we strongly recommend that you spend time in class preparing your students by:

  • establishing what they know about Australia’s marine and land animals, endangered, and dangerous animals
  • developing questions they may like to explore
  • encouraging your students to gather news items about adaptation, extinctions.

It is recommended that teachers print the stimulus questions below and distribute to supervising adults. Stage 3 students can also complete the activity workbooks titled, Environment Matters and An Ancient Land.  

The following materials should be photocopied for each supervising adult:

Please photocopy the activity workbooks double-sided on short edge.

At the Australian Museum

On-site activities:

Stimulus questions

Please be guided by the interests and curiosity demonstrated by the children, The following questions are only suggestions for each thematic section and we recommend students explore their own questions rather than to seek answers to the specific questions below.
No written response is required.

Blue Edge

Explores the amazing beauty of the coastal waters primarily around Sydney, including beaches, rocky reefs, mangrove swamps, sea gardens and dangerous marine life.

  • Why do some marine creatures change colour?
  • Which molluscs would you find on the rocks on a Sydney beach?
  • Echinoderms have spiny skin, can you see some? Which wouldn’t you touch?
  • Can you see some penguin eggs?
Island Homes

Looks at Australia’s isolated, diverse and fragile island ecosystems of Lord Howe, Christmas, Macquarie and Kangaroo Islands.

  • How do penguins keep warm in cold Antarctic waters?
  • Is there a penguin that is the same size as you?
Our Backyard

Features urban living – ponds, gum trees and even balconies, and takes a peek at night life.

  • Which backyard looks most like yours?
  • What live animals can you find?
  • How many different animals is the Scribbly Gum a home (habitat) to?
Dangerous Australians

Focuses on Australia’s dangerous terrestrial and marine species, including ten of the most venomous snakes in the world.

  • Which animals bite or sting in their defence or to catch their food?
  • Which animals effectively use camouflage?
Adapt or Die

Showcases daring tales of survival in a wide range of habitats – billabongs, riverbanks and under the ground.

On land and in freshwater
  • How does your favourite native animal or bird survive a drought?
In the desert
  • Can you find an animal that is specially adapted to the desert. How does it survive the heat? Which animal doesn’t waste a drop of water?
Over time
  • Look at the teeth of the Diprotodon. What did it eat with those big teeth?


Ms Helen Wheeler , Learning Services Operations Manager
Last Updated:

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