Teacher background information
Year 1 Science Content Description
Science Inquiry Skills
EvaluatingCompare observations with those of others (ACSIS213 - Scootle )
consulting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to compare observations and evaluate identifications of animal tracks
This elaboration provides students with an opportunity to develop this core Science Inquiry Skill whilst addressing intercultural science inquiry skills relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures within the context of the following content description(s) from the Science Understanding and/or Science as a Human Endeavour strand(s).
Living things have a variety of external features (ACSSU017)
Living things live in different places where their needs are met (ACSSU211)
A potential way to approach this content description is:
In developing this science inquiry skill, students could consult with local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples to identify the presence of animals. Living things can leave trace evidence in the environment such as tracks, prints, nests, droppings and remains such as shed skin or feathers. Careful observation of this trace evidence can determine the species of animals that are living in an environment, especially those that are difficult to detect such as nocturnal or secretive animals. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have observed the environment of their Country or Place over millennia and may have extensive and highly detailed knowledge that can inform the accurate identification of organisms through trace evidence. Students could make and record observations of trace evidence in their local school environment to indicate the presence of specific animals. Consultation with local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples may assist students to accurately identify the living things in the environment through the trace evidence.
As a result of the acute observations of trace evidence left by an animal, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples possess a highly detailed database of knowledge that can be used to identify the animals that are present in an environment. The evidence can also provide a wealth of additional information about the organism. For example, animal tracks can indicate whether the animal has claws, a tail, or webbed feet; they can also provide information about an animal’s size and weight. Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples can also use trace evidence to deduce an animal’s age, sex, life cycle stage, whether it is a native or introduced species, how long ago the animal left the evidence of its presence and the speed at which it was moving.
For example, green turtles have simultaneous limb movement and use the tail to propel themselves forward. This results in parallel flipper markings in the sand with a smooth, central drag mark and a dotted line from the tail drag. Green turtles can be distinguished from other species of turtle using these distinctive tracks and signs. The distance between the outer edges of turtle tracks can also be used to identify the species of turtle. Students who live in coastal regions where turtles are present could undertake a field trip to observe and record the tracks left in the sand by turtle species. Students could consult with local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ranger groups to compare their putative identifications. In another learning opportunity, students could use a digital camera to document animal tracks within the school grounds, presumptively identify the animal responsible for the trace evidence, and consult with local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples to compare their observations and subsequent identification.
To develop the science inquiry skill to compare observations and evaluate identifications, students could undertake a biodiversity survey within their school environment and look for the trace evidence of living things. Students can attempt to identify the organism that has left the trace evidence. Incorporation of this elaboration could provide students with the opportunity to consult with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples to compare observations and identifications. Local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Peoples may have intricate scientific understandings, the result of many thousands of years observing and interpreting trace evidence left by living things, and can apply this knowledge to interpret the trace evidence that students find in the environment.