Work samples


Year 10


Megafauna extinction

Summary of task

Students were asked to create in expositional essay to analyse and evaluate the evidence for opposing theories relating to the extinction of Australia’s megafauna. This task was part of a teaching and learning unit on biodiversity which focused on the importance of Australia’s ecosystems and the factors which impact on them.

Students had previously investigated how Australia’s environment has gone through significant changes over millions of years due to changes in the position of the continents and climatic changes. The unit focused on how scientists gather evidence of these changes using a variety of different methods and how they use this evidence to draw conclusions about how and why ecosystems have changed. Students were made aware of the fact that different forms of evidence have varying levels of generalisability, reliability, credibility and validity.

Students were provided with a range of websites, documentaries and scientific articles with which to determine what evidence exists to explain the extinction of Australia’s megafauna. They were given class tutorials on how to structure and write an essay in expositional style. Students completed the task during class time over the course of several weeks.

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 10, students analyse how the periodic table organises elements and use it to make predictions about the properties of elements. They explain how chemical reactions are used to produce particular products and how different factors influence the rate of reactions. They explain the concept of energy conservation and represent energy transfer and transformation within systems. They apply relationships between force, mass and acceleration to predict changes in the motion of objects. Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth’s spheres. They evaluate the evidence for scientific theories that explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of life on Earth. They explain the processes that underpin heredity and evolution. Students analyse how the models and theories they use have developed over time and discuss the factors that prompted their review.

Students develop questions and hypotheses and independently design and improve appropriate methods of investigation, including field work and laboratory experimentation. They explain how they have considered reliability, safety, fairness and ethical actions in their methods and identify where digital technologies can be used to enhance the quality of data. When analysing data, selecting evidence and developing and justifying conclusions, they identify alternative explanations for findings and explain any sources of uncertainty. Students evaluate the validity and reliability of claims made in secondary sources with reference to currently held scientific views, the quality of the methodology and the evidence cited. They construct evidence-based arguments and select appropriate representations and text types to communicate science ideas for specific purposes.

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