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Science provides an empirical way of answering interesting and important questions about the biological, physical and technological world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a reliable basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives.



The Australian Curriculum: Science aims to ensure that students develop:

an interest in science as a means of expanding their curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions about and speculate on the changing world in which they live.


Key ideas

In the Australian Curriculum: Science, there are six key ideas that represent key aspects of a scientific view of the world and bridge knowledge and understanding across the disciplines of science, as shown Figure 1 below. These are embedded within each year level description and guide the teaching/learning emphasis for the relevant year level.



The three interrelated strands of science
The Australian Curriculum: Science has three interrelated strands: science understanding, science as a human endeavour and science inquiry skills.


Science Scope and Sequence (PDF)

Resources and support materials for the Australian Curriculum: Science are available as PDF documents. 
Science: Sequence of content
Science: Sequence of achievement 




Year 3

Year 3 Level Description

The science inquiry skills and science as a human endeavour strands are described across a two-year band. In their planning, schools and teachers refer to the expectations outlined in the achievement standard and also to the content of the science understanding strand for the relevant year level to ensure that these two strands are addressed over the two-year period. The three strands of the curriculum are interrelated and their content is taught in an integrated way. The order and detail in which the content descriptions are organised into teaching and learning programs are decisions to be made by the teacher.

Incorporating the key ideas of science

Over Years 3 to 6, students develop their understanding of a range of systems operating at different time and geographic scales.

In Year 3, students observe heat and its effects on solids and liquids and begin to develop an understanding of energy flows through simple systems. In observing day and night, they develop an appreciation of regular and predictable cycles. Students order their observations by grouping and classifying; in classifying things as living or non-living they begin to recognise that classifications are not always easy to define or apply. They begin to quantify their observations to enable comparison, and learn more sophisticated ways of identifying and representing relationships, including the use of tables and graphs to identify trends. They use their understanding of relationships between components of simple systems to make predictions.

Year 3 Content Descriptions

Biological sciences

Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (ACSSU044 - Scootle )
  • investigating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ systems of classifying living things and how these systems differ from those used by contemporary science

  • recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ use of observable features to group living things

  • recognising characteristics of living things such as growing, moving, sensitivity and reproducing
  • recognising the range of different living things
  • sorting living and non-living things based on characteristics
  • exploring differences between living, once living and products of living things

Chemical sciences

A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat (ACSSU046 - Scootle )
  • investigating how changes of state in materials used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, such as beeswax or resins, are important for their use

  • investigating how liquids and solids respond to changes in temperature, for example water changing to ice, or melting chocolate
  • exploring how changes from solid to liquid and liquid to solid can help us recycle materials
    • Sustainability
  • predicting the effect of heat on different materials

Earth and space sciences

Earth’s rotation on its axis causes regular changes, including night and day (ACSSU048 - Scootle )
  • exploring how cultural stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples explain the cyclic phenomena involving sun, moon and stars and how those explanations differ from contemporary science understanding

  • recognising the sun as a source of light
  • constructing sundials and investigating how they work
  • describing timescales for the rotation of the Earth
  • modelling the relative sizes and movement of the sun, Earth and moon

Physical sciences

Heat can be produced in many ways and can move from one object to another (ACSSU049 - Scootle )
  • investigating the production and transfer of heat in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ methods of cooking, such as the use of ground ovens

  • describing how heat can be produced such as through friction or motion, electricity or chemically (burning)
  • identifying changes that occur in everyday situations due to heating and cooling
  • exploring how heat can be transferred through conduction
  • recognising that we can feel heat and measure its effects using a thermometer

Nature and development of science

Science involves making predictions and describing patterns and relationships (ACSHE050 - Scootle )
  • researching how knowledge of astronomy has been used by some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

  • making predictions about change and events in our environment
  • considering how posing questions helps us plan for the future

Use and influence of science

Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE051 - Scootle )
  • researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ knowledge of the local natural environment, such as the characteristics of plants and animals

  • considering how heating affects materials used in everyday life
  • investigating how science helps people such as nurses, doctors, dentists, mechanics and gardeners
  • considering how materials including solids and liquids affect the environment in different ways
    • Sustainability
  • deciding what characteristics make a material a pollutant
    • Sustainability

Questioning and predicting

With guidance, identify questions in familiar contexts that can be investigated scientifically and make predictions based on prior knowledge (ACSIS053 - Scootle )
  • consulting with and using existing knowledge held by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to guide the formulation of investigable questions regarding invasive species

  • choosing questions to investigate from a list of possibilities
  • jointly constructing questions that may form the basis for investigation
  • listing shared experiences as a whole class and identifying possible investigations
  • working in groups to discuss things that might happen during an investigation

Planning and conducting

With guidance, plan and conduct scientific investigations to find answers to questions, considering the safe use of appropriate materials and equipment (ACSIS054 - Scootle )
  • consulting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to guide the planning of scientific investigations, including safety considerations for field investigations

  • working with teacher guidance to plan investigations to test simple cause-and-effect relationships
  • discussing as a whole class ways to investigate questions and evaluating which ways might be most successful
  • discussing safety rules for equipment and procedures
Consider the elements of fair tests and use formal measurements and digital technologies as appropriate, to make and record observations accurately (ACSIS055 - Scootle )
  • recording measurements using familiar formal units and appropriate abbreviations, such as seconds (s), grams (g), centimetres (cm)
  • using a variety of tools to make observations, such as digital cameras, thermometers, rulers and scales

Processing and analysing data and information

Use a range of methods including tables and simple column graphs to represent data and to identify patterns and trends (ACSIS057 - Scootle )
  • using provided tables to organise materials and objects based on observable properties
  • discussing how to graph data presented in a table
  • identifying and discussing numerical and visual patterns in data collected from students' own investigations and from secondary sources
Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings (ACSIS215 - Scootle )
  • discussing how well predictions matched results from an investigation and sharing ideas about what was learnt


Reflect on investigations, including whether a test was fair or not (ACSIS058 - Scootle )
  • describing experiences of carrying out investigations to the teacher, small group or whole class
  • discussing as a whole class the idea of fairness in testing


Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings using formal and informal representations (ACSIS060 - Scootle )
  • consulting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ representations of living things as evidenced and communicated through formal and informal sharing of information

  • acknowledging and exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ ways of communicating information about anatomical features of organisms

  • communicating with other students carrying out similar investigations to share experiences and improve investigation skill
  • exploring different ways to show processes and relationships through diagrams, models and role play
  • using simple explanations and arguments, reports or graphical representations to communicate ideas to other students

Year 3 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 3, students use their understanding of the movement of Earth, materials and the behaviour of heat to suggest explanations for everyday observations. They group living things based on observable features and distinguish them from non-living things. They describe how they can use science investigations to respond to questions.

Students use their experiences to identify questions and make predictions about scientific investigations. They follow procedures to collect and record observations and suggest possible reasons for their findings, based on patterns in their data. They describe how safety and fairness were considered and they use diagrams and other representations to communicate their ideas.

Year 3 Work Sample Portfolios