• Audience
    Primary school
  • Learning stage
    Stage 2, Stage 3
  • Learning area
    Climate change, Geography
  • Type
    Learning journey, Teaching resources

On this page...

Learning journeys offer a scaffolded approach to exploring a topic both in the classroom and at the Museum. Follow our learning journey to deepen your students’ knowledge and understanding of climate change and sustainability.

Humans are releasing too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This is forming a warm blanket around the world that is making it get too hot. This is making the sea levels rise and causing the climate to change. It is the greatest challenge of our times and we need to find solutions quickly!

Through this learning journey, students will:

  • identify examples of Australian animals being affected by climate change and describe how their habitat is changing;
  • explain the difference between weather and climate;
  • find examples of solutions to climate change in their local area and explain how these are making a difference.

NSW syllabus outcomes: ST2-1WS-S, ST2-4LW-S, GE2-1, GE2-2, GE2-3, ST3-1WS-S, ST3-4LW-S, GE3-1, GE3-2, GE3-3.

Prepare your students

  • An Acknowledgement of Country is a statement that pays respect to the Traditional Custodians of the Country that you are learning or meeting on and recognises their ongoing relationship with Country. The Australian Museum respects and acknowledges the Gadigal people as the Custodians of the land on which the Museum stands.

    Which First Nations Country or Nation was your school built upon? If you are unsure contact a local First Nations organisation to find out. You might like to start with the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group.

    Ask your students to write an Acknowledgement of Country for your school. To get them started, read more about why an Acknowledgement of Country is important and how to write one in this ABC article.

  • The cause of climate change
    The weather is the day-to-day conditions of the air that blankets the Earth. It's called the atmosphere. The weather might be sunny, rainy or cloudy. The climate is the long-term pattern in the weather measured over 30 years or more. What is the weather like today? What other types of weather can you think of? Can you think of a time when the climate was different to today?

  • The gas problem
    Introduce the terms 'sustainable' and 'renewable' to your class. Watch the gas problem video and use the guiding questions to assess your students’ knowledge of climate change and take the opportunity to address any misconceptions.

  • Discuss and reiterate the main features of a weather, climate and sustainable living
    Discuss with your class how they think we could live more sustainably to reduce carbon pollution. Create a list of things you hope to see and find out about when you visit the Changing climate exhibition.

At the Museum

  • Visit and explore our Changing Climate exhibition which showcases the causes and effects of, and innovative solutions to, climate change in Australia.

    Read our tips on how to use exhibitions.

    Changing Climate display
    Discover the Changing Climate display in the Surviving Australia gallery. Image: Abram Powell
    © Australian Museum

  • Use our Changing Climate exhibition insights. These activities are designed to encourage your students to connect, share and reflect on this topic through the specimens and items on display.

    We recommend that your students work in small groups, however, how you implement and manage the activities is up to you.

Back in the classroom

  • Sustainability diary
    Get your class to think about the things they use, and the activities they do each day, that emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Make a weekly diary. Record each item and activity in a table and write down an alternative item or behaviour you think could reduce your carbon footprint.

  • A digital photo album: local solutions to climate change
    Raise your classes awareness of solutions to climate change in the local area by making a digital photo album. Students could present their digital photo album at class or at the school assembly using Powerpoint, and submit their photos to the Australian Museum’s Capturing Climate Change exhibition.

    Make a climate change placard
    Students can work in small groups and use their creativity to design a placard to express how they feel about climate change. They could then present it in front of the class and explain what inspired their design.

  • Start a climate change council
    Establish a climate change council in your school with student representatives. Students could nominate themselves for a position in the council and everyone in the year votes for who they would like to be in the council.

    The council, with guidance from teachers, could audit the school to identify where energy could be saved, organise fundraisers for energy efficient devices, or raise awareness in the school about how simple changes in behaviour can reduce carbon pollution.