Year 3 | Biological sciences | Feathers, fur or leaves? | Fully aligned to the Australian Curriculum
What is that? Is it alive? Is it similar to other things I know? Humans have always sought to make sense of the world around them by grouping things they see, for example as edible, threatening or useful. Scientists develop classification systems to try to understand the diversity of life and how species are related throughout history. As more and more species disappear from the face of the Earth, we are caught up in a race to discover what we never knew we had.
The Feathers, fur or leaves? unit is an ideal way to link science with literacy in the classroom. It provides opportunities for students to explore features of living things, and ways they can be grouped together. Through hands-on activities, students explore how living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things. They use this knowledge to investigate the animal groups in the leaf litter of their own school grounds.
Unit at a glance (PDF)
Safety! Snail warning
Equipment lists (PDF)
Alignment with the Australian Curriculum: Science (PDF)
Alignment with the Australian Curriculum: English and Maths (PDF)
Natural science table sample photos
A variety of snails, slugs and planarians are suitable intermediate hosts of the rat lungworm, Angiostrongylus cantonensis. Human infection occurs following ingestion of raw snails, slugs or planarians, something young toddlers particularly are prone to do. Another possible source of human infection is through ingestion of improperly washed vegetables such as lettuce.
When snails or slugs are used in the classroom it is imperative that close attention be paid to student hygiene.
It is recommended that the following safety procedures be followed during Feathers, fur or leaves?:
- wear gloves when handling any biological material
- always wash hands with soap and water after handling any biological material (particularly snails, slugs, and any vegetation such as vegetables or leaf litter), even after wearing gloves
- when handling snails or slugs, keep hands away from the mouth, and
- clarify with students that they should never encourage, or dare anyone to eat raw snails or slugs.
This interactive resource has been designed for use to complement the teaching of Feathers, fur or leaves? The design and approach of this resource reflects the latest research into the pedagogy of interactive technology in the classroom. By using this interactive resource, teachers will have further opportunities to involve their students in the inquiry approach, and evidence based discussions necessary to enhance students’ scientific literacy.
This interactive resource also simplifies preparation time and saves resources. Rather than enlarging different resource sheets and creating charts and word walls, everything is a click or two away and provided in colour. Rather than use paper, sticky notes and pens, you can modify things directly on the screen and save or export for future reference.
A central part of Feathers, fur or leaves? are the 'Living things' cards. A resource sheet is provided in the unit for teachers to photocopy to make their own.
Or teachers have the option to purchase these cards as follows:
One set of Teacher 'Living things' cards which include 1 set of 24 durable A5 size card for teacher use in whole class activities
Student 'Living things' cards which include 1 set of 24 durable playing card size cards for team activities. We recommended 1 set per team of three. Purchase the number required for your class size (e.g. 30 students = 10 sets of cards)