Work samples


Year 9

Above satisfactory

Natural and man-made impact on ecosystems

Summary of task

In a teaching and learning unit on ecology, students learnt about energy and matter transfer in an ecosystem using food chains and food webs, different relationships between organisms in an ecosystem, sustainability, and natural and man-made impacts on ecosystems. Students had also participated in an excursion to a botanic garden to experience a variety of ecosystems and to learn more about food chains and food webs.

This task consists of two parts. In the first part, students were given a list of research questions about key concepts relating to ecosystems. They were asked to individually research those concepts and create a research report by responding to each of the questions.

In the second part, students worked in groups to research an Australian ecosystem of their choice from three different perspectives:

  • How are energy and matter recycled in the ecosystem?
  • What are the different organisms other than humans that live in this ecosystem and what relationships exist between them?
  • What natural and human influences exist that impact on this ecosystem? Is there a way to mitigate those impacts or is there ongoing research to find ways to reduce the impacts?

As a group, students were asked to prepare a brochure intended to inform their peers on this topic. The brochure was to include a food web of the chosen ecosystem. The group was also asked to prepare a presentation to explain their brochure in detail.

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 9, students explain chemical processes and natural radioactivity in terms of atoms and energy transfers and describe examples of important chemical reactions. They describe models of energy transfer and apply these to explain phenomena. They explain global features and events in terms of geological processes and timescales. They analyse how biological systems function and respond to external changes with reference to interdependencies, energy transfers and flows of matter. They describe social and technological factors that have influenced scientific developments and predict how future applications of science and technology may affect people’s lives.

Students design questions that can be investigated using a range of inquiry skills. They design methods that include the control and accurate measurement of variables and systematic collection of data and describe how they considered ethics and safety. They analyse trends in data, identify relationships between variables and reveal inconsistencies in results. They analyse their methods and the quality of their data, and explain specific actions to improve the quality of their evidence. They evaluate others’ methods and explanations from a scientific perspective and use appropriate language and representations when communicating their findings and ideas to specific audiences.

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