Welcome to Kakadu: An Overview
Suggested Grade Level: 6-8
Estimated Time of Completion: 2-3 class periods
Tools and Materials
Helpful Web Sites
Kakadu, Australia, is an example of a rich and diverse area with many creatures that must adapt to their surroundings, which are always changing through six seasons.
At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
- Identify where Kakadu National Park is located
- Cite specific predator/prey relationships of Kakadu
- Describe the seasons of Kakadu and assess the effects of the climate on the animals of the area
- Highlight instinct behaviors in the creatures of Kakadu
- Summarize parenting practices of some of the animals of Kakadu
- Relate the importance of lightning on the plains of Kakadu to the ongoing environmental cycle of change in that area
This lesson addresses the following national standards, found at http://www.mcrel.org/standards-benchmarks/
- Knows about the diversity and unity that characterize life
- Understands how species depend on one another and on the environment for survival
- Understands the basic concepts of the evolution of species
Tools and Materials
- The videotape of The Living Edens: Kakadu
- Study guide handouts, one per student
- Study guide answer key
Information on Kakadu will be gathered through the viewing of the program The Living Edens: Kakadu. Students will be expected to view the program and simultaneously record their answers to the questions on the guide. All questions on the study guide are basic knowledge and comprehension questions. The teacher will lead the correction/discussion of the study guides. The creative projects can be done independently, or in a small group. They were designed to stimulate discussion among students and to ask students to apply, analyze, and evaluate information. Sharing time may be used so students can share their projects with class.
This videotape does not need to be shown in its entirety. Teachers may choose to show segments of the videotape that go with curricular emphasis of the day. The answer sheet (in .pdf form) has the time codes for the approximate time in the tape that the topic is discussed.
- Ask students to brainstorm all the ways that humans adapt to changes in seasons. For example, in winter, they might list coats, warm drinks, fires, etc.
- Explain that animals have a variety of strategies they use to adapt to changes in weather, to particular diets, and to other environmental factors. Play the adaptation game.
- You will need bulky mittens or boxing gloves and items of clothing that students must try to put on themselves. Items could be large, button-up shirts; a pair of large pants; belts; funny hats; large boots; or shoes that need to be tied or buckled.
- Have randomly chosen students try to dress themselves with the items listed while wearing bulky mittens or boxing gloves. Time the volunteers to see how long it takes them to get fully dressed and record the scores.
- After you have given a few volunteers a chance to try dressing themselves, analyze the process. Did the completion times improve? How come? Did students see some creative ways other students used to put the pieces of clothing on? Did they use other parts of their body to help them? Did they use their teeth, nose, or other "out of the ordinary" twists?
- What students were doing was adapting to their newfound limitation of their hands in mittens or gloves. This is called an adaptation. These adaptations take place daily in a place in the world called Kakadu. Animals are always having to change their behaviors because of the limits that their environment has put on them. Watch the Living Edens videotape to learn more about adaptations animals must perform to survive. Perhaps their solutions are as creative as your students were in the preceding activity!
- Hand out study guides to students.
- Have students read the questions on the guide or read through the questions with your students, making sure they understand what answers they should be looking for while viewing the videotape.
- Play the videotape and have students answer the questions on their study guide in short answers. You may want to set up a signal with your students that tells the you that pausing or rewinding is necessary in the program to allow more time for recording the answers on their sheet.
- After completion of the program and study guide, review the answers together. Answers are provided on an answer sheet with time markers to the nearest minute.
- Students should choose one of the following projects which highlight adaptation and seasonal change in Kakadu:
- The magpie geese have an interesting practice in preserving their species. Why has this arrangement has helped sustain this species through so many years? Create a multimedia show discussing the behavior of the magpie geese in their quest to procreate. Students should incorporate their theory about why the magpie are successful into the show. What other odd or interesting practices in parenting can students discover through research on other species?
- Explore the effects of lighting/fire on regions as a way of regeneration. Compare the losses with the gains of this process of nature. Are yearly fires a good way to cleanse the land of Kakadu? Create a losses/gains poster. Share it with the class and discuss as a large group whether the fires realistically help Kakadu regenerate. Students should investigate the practice of "controlled burns" in American national parks and discuss the losses and gains of that practice, too.
- Use a computer to create a travel brochure for Kakadu National Park. Include reasons why people should visit the area, directions/locational information, special features of the land and its animals, and include pictures from Kakadu. Students should also include information about what visitors should expect to find in different seasons. Students might also use sites like http://www.expedia.com to calculate airfare expenses to and from Kakadu.
- Watch the video again. Create a chart of predator/prey relationships of Kakadu. Devise a similar chart with animals from your geographical area. Students could use www.epals.com or www.globalschoolhouse.com to find other classes from other parts of the world. Have them create the same sort of chart with predator/prey relationships of their area. Compare and contrast them. Are there similar relationships? Do students list some of the same animals? Do those animals serve as the predator or the prey in both areas? Why or why not?
- Compose a poem or song discussing an aspect of Kakadu like the seasons, weather, animal parenthood, or life through the point of view of an animal in Kakadu.
Baby Croc Limerick
A baby crocodile
Can stay in an egg quite awhile.
My mom helps me hatch,
Gives my egg a small scratch
And then I arrive in style!
- Create a diorama of a scene in Kakadu. Show that same scene in a few different seasons. Describe what is different in the scene due to the time of the year.
- Design a newspaper from Kakadu. Possible topics could incude Kakadu mining practices and concerns of the people in the surrounding area; or a comparison of Aboriginal concerns about the use of the land to Native American concerns about natural resources in the U.S.
Helpful Web Sites
The Call of Kakadu
Issues.Org Do you support uranium mining in Kakadu?
Kakadu Information Pages from GORP
Worksheets could be graded on a percentage basis. Enrichment activities can be assessed through the amount of thought and collaboration within a group in their quest for the answers. Creativity in the completion of projects could be assessed as well as looking at classroom discussion and participation of students.