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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 6

Year 6 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 6, students explore how changes can be classified in different ways. They learn about transfer and transformations of electricity, and continue to develop an understanding of energy flows through systems. They link their experiences of electric circuits as a system at one scale to generation of electricity from a variety of sources at another scale and begin to see links between these systems. They develop a view of Earth as a dynamic system, in which changes in one aspect of the system impact on other aspects; similarly, they see that the growth and survival of living things are dependent on matter and energy flows within a larger system. Students begin to see the role of variables in measuring changes and the value of accuracy in these measurements. They learn how to look for patterns and to use these to identify and explain relationships by drawing on evidence.

Year 6 Content Descriptions

Biological sciences

The growth and survival of living things are affected by physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094 - Scootle )
  • investigating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ knowledge and understanding of the physical conditions necessary for the survival of certain plants and animals in the environment

  • investigating how changing the physical conditions for plants impacts on their growth and survival such as salt water, use of fertilizers and soil types
    • Sustainability
  • observing the growth of fungi such as yeast and bread mould in different conditions
  • researching organisms that live in extreme environments such as Antarctica or a desert
  • considering the effects of physical conditions causing migration and hibernation

Chemical sciences

Changes to materials can be reversible or irreversible (ACSSU095 - Scootle )
  • investigating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ knowledge of reversible processes, such as the application of adhesives, and of irreversible processes, such as the use of fuels for torches

  • describing what happens when materials are mixed
  • investigating the solubility of common materials in water
  • investigating the change in state caused by heating and cooling of a familiar substance
  • investigating irreversible changes such as rusting, burning and cooking
  • exploring how reversible changes can be used to recycle materials
  • investigate reversible reactions such as melting, freezing and evaporating

Earth and space sciences

Sudden geological changes and extreme weather events can affect Earth’s surface (ACSSU096 - Scootle )
  • researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultural stories that provide evidence of geological events

  • investigating major geological events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis in Australia, the Asia region and throughout the world
    • Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia
  • recognising that earthquakes can cause tsunamis
  • describing how people measure significant geological events
  • exploring ways that scientific understanding can assist in natural disaster management to minimise both long- and short-term effects
  • considering the effect of drought on living and non-living aspects of the environment

Physical sciences

Electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits and can be generated from a range of sources (ACSSU097 - Scootle )
  • recognising the need for a complete circuit to allow the flow of electricity
  • investigating different electrical conductors and insulators
  • exploring the features of electrical devices such as switches and light globes
  • investigating how moving air and water can turn turbines to generate electricity
  • investigating the use of solar panels
  • considering whether an energy source is sustainable
    • Sustainability

Nature and development of science

Science involves testing predictions by gathering data and using evidence to develop explanations of events and phenomena and reflects historical and cultural contributions (ACSHE098 - Scootle )
  • investigating how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples test predictions and gather data in the development of technologies and processes

  • learning how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ knowledge, such as the medicinal and nutritional properties of Australian plants, is being used as part of the evidence base for scientific advances

  • investigating how knowledge about the effects of using the Earth’s resources has changed over time
    • Sustainability
  • describing how understanding of the causes and effects of major natural events has changed as new evidence has become available
  • investigating the use of electricity, including predicting the effects of changes to electric circuits
  • considering how gathering evidence helps scientists to predict the effect of major geological or climatic events
  • investigating how people from different cultures have used sustainable sources of energy, for example water and solar power
  • exploring institutions and locations where contemporary Australian scientists conduct research on catastrophic natural events
  • investigating the development of earthquake measurements from the Chinese invention of the seismograph in the second century
    • Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia

Use and influence of science

Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE100 - Scootle )
  • discussing how modern approaches to fire ecology in Australia are being informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ traditional ecological knowledge and fire management practices

  • considering how personal and community choices influence our use of sustainable sources of energy
    • Sustainability
  • investigating how understanding of catastrophic natural events helps in planning for their early detection and minimising their impact
  • recognising that science can inform choices about where people live and how they manage natural disasters
  • considering how guidelines help to ensure the safe use of electrical devices
  • discussing the use of electricity and the conservation of sources of energy
    • Sustainability
  • researching the scientific work involved in global disaster alerts and communication, such as cyclone, earthquake and tsunami alerts
  • investigating how electrical energy is generated in Australia and around the world
  • researching the use of methane generators in Indonesia
    • Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia
    • Sustainability
  • considering how electricity and electrical appliances have changed the way some people live

Questioning and predicting

With guidance, pose clarifying questions and make predictions about scientific investigations (ACSIS232 - Scootle )
  • consulting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to clarify investigable questions based upon their traditional ecological knowledge, such as predictions regarding the impact of invasive species

  • refining questions to enable scientific investigation
  • asking questions to understand the scope or nature of a problem
  • applying experience from previous investigations to predict the outcomes of investigations in new contexts

Planning and conducting

Identify, plan and apply the elements of scientific investigations to answer questions and solve problems using equipment and materials safely and identifying potential risks (ACSIS103 - Scootle )
  • following a procedure to design an experimental or field investigation
  • discussing methods chosen with other students, and refining methods accordingly
  • considering which investigation methods are most suited to answer a particular question or solve a problem
Decide variables to be changed and measured in fair tests, and observe measure and record data with accuracy using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS104 - Scootle )
  • using familiar units such as grams, seconds and metres and developing the use of standard multipliers such as kilometres and millimetres
  • using the idea of an independent variable (note: this terminology does not need to be used at this stage) as something that is being investigated by changing it and measuring the effect of this change
  • using digital technologies to make accurate measurements and to record data

Processing and analysing data and information

Construct and use a range of representations, including tables and graphs, to represent and describe observations, patterns or relationships in data using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS107 - Scootle )
  • exploring how different representations can be used to show different aspects of relationships, processes or trends
  • using digital technologies to construct representations, including dynamic representations
Compare data with predictions and use as evidence in developing explanations (ACSIS221 - Scootle )
  • sharing ideas as to whether observations match predictions, and discussing possible reasons for predictions being incorrect
  • discussing the difference between data and evidence
  • referring to evidence when explaining the outcomes of an investigation


Reflect on and suggest improvements to scientific investigations (ACSIS108 - Scootle )
  • discussing improvements to the methods used, and how these methods would improve the quality of the data obtained


Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS110 - Scootle )
  • discussing the best way to communicate science ideas and what should be considered when planning a text
  • using a variety of communication modes, such as reports, explanations, arguments, debates and procedural accounts, to communicate science ideas
  • using labelled diagrams, including cross-sectional representations, to communicate ideas and processes within multi-modal texts

Year 6 Achievement Standards

By the end of Year 6, students compare and classify different types of observable changes to materials. They analyse requirements for the transfer of electricity and describe how energy can be transformed from one form to another when generating electricity. They explain how natural events cause rapid change to Earth’s surface. They describe and predict the effect of environmental changes on individual living things. Students explain how scientific knowledge helps us to solve problems and inform decisions and identify historical and cultural contributions.

Students follow procedures to develop investigable questions and design investigations into simple cause-and-effect relationships. They identify variables to be changed and measured and describe potential safety risks when planning methods. They collect, organise and interpret their data, identifying where improvements to their methods or research could improve the data. They describe and analyse relationships in data using appropriate representations and construct multimodal texts to communicate ideas, methods and findings.

Year 6 Work Sample Portfolios