An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

Lesson plan for Levels F-2: seasonal plant and animal behaviour

Summary: This lesson explores the timing of different seasonal events in the natural world, and asks students to imagine being scientists in the field. A PDF copy of the lesson plan is available here.

Links with National Curriculum:




Cross-curriculum links and general capabilities



ACSSU004: Daily and seasonal changes in our environment, including the weather, affect everyday life

ACSIS233: Engage in discussions about observations and use methods such as drawing to represent ideas

·        Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

·        Sustainability

·        Personal and social capacity

·        Intercultural understanding

·        Critical and creative thinking



ACSSU019: Observable changes occur in the sky and landscape

ACSHE021: Science involved asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events


ACSSU030: Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves

ACSHE034: Science involves asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events


  • Season signs: summer, autumn, winter and spring (download here or make your own)
  • Dress ups or props representing each season (scarf, umbrella, hat etc.)
  • Plant props different life stages (autumn leaves, buds, flowers, bare stick)
  • Images or props representing animals in different life stages (butterflies, birds laying eggs, frogs, whales etc.)
  • Craft paper or ClimateWatch colouring sheet
  • Drawing supplies or collage supplies (coloured paper, leaves etc.)


Presentation (0:00-0:25)

Ask to the students about scientists. What does a scientist do? What does a scientist wear? Scientists ask questions, and try to find answers by observing the world around them. Scientists don’t always wear white coats and are often outside.

Ask the students what the different seasons are. Select four volunteers to come to the front and represent each season with a sign and a prop. You could also represent the seasons with pictures on a wall. Talk about the difference between seasons, and how the environment changes throughout the year.

Show the students different plant props and ask them to place each prop with a season. Next, place the different animal pictures. This exercise can be done with additional volunteers or on the board. Some animals are clear (birds nest in spring, butterflies in summer, bears hibernate in winter), but other animals (like frogs) respond to rainfall as well as temperature. Check the ClimateWatch website to find the correct timing.

Activity (0:25-1:30)

Divide the students into four groups, one for each season. Students are to make a collage or draw themselves in the bush being environmental scientists in their season using blank paper or the colouring sheet.

They need to represent two different plant types, and two different animals they are likely to find. Suggest some local ClimateWatch examples if you can, or species seen around the school.

Give the students plenty of time to complete the project. Go around and help them with their artwork, suggesting species and asking questions. Encourage them to be accurate by asking questions like:

  • What would you wear in the bush at that time of year?
  • What sort of animals would you see?
  • What tools would you need to record what you see?
  • What is the weather like at that time of year?

Pack up drawing or collage supplies.

Invite the students to share their drawings with the class and explain one thing about them.


Plan an excursion to a local park or the school grounds where the students can make ClimateWatch observations.