Foodweb links to Australian Science curriculum


 Foodweb links c/o Anna Pilkington

Teaching and Learning Leader

Bayside P-12 College

Altona campus


Unifying ideas

Unifying ideas draw together the concepts and processes of learning in science. They provide students with structures through which they can better understand the world. Unifying ideas include: patterns, systems, order and organisation; exploration, observation, questioning and speculating; cause and effect; evidence, models, explanation and theories; change, constancy and measurement; equilibrium and interdependence; sustainability of systems; form and function; and energy. K-2 Science understanding living and non-living things needs, structures and growth of organisms objects in the sky changes on earth and the effects on living things.

Science inquiry skills
  • explore, be curious and wonder.
  • ask questions and begin to investigate.
  • describe what has happened.
  • make and share observations.
  • use evidence to support ideas.
Science as a human endeavour recognise aspects of science in everyday lifecare for the environment.

Years 3–6 (typically from 8 to 12 years of age)

Science understanding properties and uses of materials forms, use and transfer of energystructures and functions of living things life cycles of organisms living things and the environment changes on earth and in space relationship between earth, moon and sun earth’s resources and their uses.
Science inquiry skills identify questions and predictions for testingplan and conduct simple investigationsobserve, describe and measure analyse data, describe and explain relationships discuss and compare results with predictions draw conclusions and communicate ideas and understandings.
Science as a human endeavour recognise the effect of science and technology on our environmentbe aware of the historical nature of science ideas.

VELS: Victorian Essential Learning Standards

Science – Level 1

Learning focus

As students work towards the achievement of Level 3 standards in Science, they use their senses to explore the world around them; for example, day and night, the seasons, and living and non-living things. By participating in very simple investigations involving observation and measurement (for example, measuring plant growth) they learn about basic procedures and processes, including collecting and recording data. They become aware of using safe procedures in their activities.

Science – Level 2

Learning focus

As students work towards the achievement of Level 2 standards in Science, they observe and describe phenomena; for example, properties of natural and manufactured materials, insect life cycles, phases of the moon. Students begin to generate questions about situations and phenomena, and suggest forms of observations and measurements that are appropriate for the investigation of their questions; for example, ‘Which keeps food fresher, paper or plastic?’ and ‘What makes sounds change?’ They continue to practise basic procedures and processes, including those involving safety. They investigate ways of reducing waste in their classroom; for example, recycling and composting. They repeat observations over time to make predictions; for example, collecting data about the weather. They begin to recognise simple patterns in data and describe them in terms that represent conclusions drawn from the data. Suitable questions may include: ‘Does the size of seeds affect the time taken for them to germinate?’

Building on the unifying ideas of exploration, observation, order, change, questioning and speculating, the unifying ideas of this age range are:

Patterns: Through observation one can detect similarities among objects, living things and events. These similarities form patterns that underlie the idea of regular repetition. By identifying these patterns in nature, explanations can be developed about the reasons for them.

Systems: The world is complex but can be understood by focusing on its smaller components. Understanding develops by examining these smaller components, or parts, and how they are related. Groups of parts that work together as a whole are commonly described as systems. There are also systems within systems, or subsystems. For example, an animal can be regarded as a system and within the animal there can be subsystems, such as the nervous system. There are many types of systems. Some examples are: a pond, a network, a particular machine, a school, the solar system.

Cause and effect: An important aspect of science investigation is the study of relationships between different factors or variables. Cause and effect is an important kind of relationship. Examples of cause and effect questions are: If a plant dies, what are the factors that caused its death?

Evidence and explanations: Evidence is the driving force of science knowledge. From the data derived from observation, explanations about phenomena can be developed and tested. With new evidence, explanations may be refined or may change. Standards Science knowledge and understanding At Level 3, students classify a range of materials such as solids, liquids and gases according to observable properties, and demonstrate understanding that this system of classification of substances is sometimes problematic. They identify forms of energy and energy transformations in the everyday world. They use appropriate scientific vocabulary to describe and explain their observations and investigations. Students identify and describe the structural features of living things, including plants and animals. They identify how these features operate together to form systems which support living things to survive in their environments. They distinguish between biotic and abiotic factors in their environment and describe interactions that occur between them. They describe natural physical and biological conditions, and human influences in the environment, which affect the survival of living things. They describe the relationship between day and night and the rotation of the Earth. Students explain how features of the landscape are altered by processes of weathering and erosion.

A Science – Level 4

Learning focus

At Level 4, students explain change in terms of cause and effect. They identify the characteristics of physical and chemical changes. They describe how substances change during reactions. They identify and compare the properties of the new or changed material/s with those of the original material/s. Students explain the role of chemical change in the production of new materials. Students apply the terms relationships, models and systems appropriately as ways of representing complex structures. At Level 4, students analyse a range of science-related local issues and describe the relevance of science to their own and other people’s lives. They explain how sustainable practices have been developed and/or are applied in their local environment.

Science – Level 5

Learning focus

As students work towards the achievement of Level 5 standards in Science, they develop their understanding of The Law of Conservation of Energy and apply these laws to familiar and new situations. They expand their knowledge of science to include abstract concepts, theories, principles and models drawn from traditional and emerging sciences. They apply these to particular situations. Examples include: changing the rates of chemical reactions; investigating the formation of rocks and minerals, including fossil fuels; geological processes; and relating sustainability to the requirements for species survival and the management of resources. They develop an understanding of themselves as organisms composed of different cells and systems working together. They explore the relationship between system failure. Students explore how scientific work has led to the discovery of new knowledge and understanding about the natural world and changed our understanding of ourselves and our future. Examples include the use of fossils and other information to construct a time scale for the history of Earth; the development of a classification system for living things, past and present; and the use of the particle model of matter to explain the behaviour of materials. They compare the use of reusable, renewable and non-renewable resources, including energy. They learn that the nature of scientific thinking is not static and relies upon knowledge, cultural perspectives, understanding and skills that are built up over time, shared and reflected upon, while incorporating new ideas, thinking and experimental evidence. At Level 5, students use the particle model to explain structure and properties of matter, chemical reactions and factors that influence rate. They explain the structure and function of cells and how different cells work together. Students explain the relationships, past and present, in living and non-living systems, in particular ecosystems, and human impact on these systems. They analyse what is needed for living things to survive, thrive or adapt, now and in the future. They explain how the observed characteristics of living things are used to establish a classification system. Students use everyday examples of machines, tools and appliances (living systems) to show how the thermodynamic model describes energy and change.

Science – Level 6

Learning focus

As students work towards the achievement of Level 6 standards in Science, they extend their concept of science as a way of knowing to include an understanding of how scientific theories and models drawn from traditional and emerging sciences are based on evidence that may initially be tentative and limited. Examples include atomic structure, natural selection and evolution. They explore the ways in which scientific theories are both powerful (in guiding thinking and investigation) and tentative (in being open to change) at the same time. They understand that the features of science as a way of knowing lead to it being: empirical and non-empirical, creative and methodical, and speculative and logical. They appreciate that people of diverse cultures have contributed to and shaped the development of science. They investigate the adaptive behaviours which enable plants and animals to survive in their environments, and consider possible adaptive behaviours which may be needed for future survival. They explore the role of DNA and genes in determining patterns of inheritance. They investigate how energy may be responsible for the changes observed in biological, chemical and physical processes and applications. Examples include photosynthesis and respiration; cell division (mitosis and meiosis); action of micro-organisms; global atmospheric changes; plate tectonics; energy flow through ecosystems; population dynamics; and the cycling of matter (including water, carbon and minerals) in ecosystems. Students investigate sources of waste generated within the community and consider waste treatment and management options. They learn how wastes are generated in the processing of natural materials (for example, oil, water, brown coal and ores), and how the procedures used to manage these wastes contribute to environmental sustainability. They investigate, create and produce a range of strategies and products that explore, encourage and communicate the responsible use and management of natural and processed resources. Students develop an understanding of the constancy of the ‘big’ ideas of science (matter, energy, time and space) and science methodologies across different areas and contexts. They debate, from the basis of scientific knowledge, the merits and problems of science-related issues that are reported in the popular media, particularly those that embrace a clear ethical dimension. They also explore the ways in which science concepts, language and perspectives can be misunderstood and misrepresented. Students cite instances in which social priorities have had an impact on or have been influenced by society. This involves students applying their conceptual understandings to the consideration of issues significant to themselves as individuals and to the broader society in which they live; for example, personal safety, a clean and healthy environment, energy use, ecological footprints. At Level 6, students explain the behaviour and properties of materials in terms of their constituent particles and the forces holding them together. They explain how similarities in the chemical behaviour of elements and their compounds and their atomic structures are represented in the way the periodic table has been constructed. They use the periodic table to write electronic configurations for a range of elements representative of the major groups and periods in the periodic table. They use atomic symbols and balanced chemical equations to summarise chemical reactions, including neutralisation, precipitation and combustion. They identify and classify the sources of wastes generated, and describe their management, within the community and in industry. They use a specific example to explain the sustainable management of a resource. Students explain change in terms of energy in a range of biological, chemical and physical contexts. They demonstrate the link between natural selection and evolution. They explain the role of DNA and genes in cell division and genetic inheritance. They explain how the coordination and regulatory functions within plants and animals assist them to survive in their environments. They explain how the action of micro-organisms can be both beneficial and detrimental to society. Students apply concepts of geological time to elaborate their explanations of both natural selection and evolution, and the origin and evolution of the Universe.

ACARA Cross curriculum priorities: Sustainability Knowledge, skills and understandings relating to sustainability in natural, social, cultural and economic environments are crucial to a world-class, futures-focused national curriculum. In the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, Goal 2 focuses on successful learners as confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. Successful learners understand their place as local and global citizens, sustaining and improving both natural and social environments.

Senior Secondary Curriculum:


Biology: Unit 1, 2, 3, 4 

Chemistry:  Unit 1, 2, 3, 4

Earth and Environmental Science:Unit 1, 2, 3, 4

Physics: Unit 1 Thermodynamics in thermal composting system, biogas and methanogens.


Humanities and Social Sciences

 Geography: Units 1, 2, 3, 4    .

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