Teacher background information


Year 5 Science Content Description

Science Inquiry Skills


Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093 - Scootle )

  • acknowledging and exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ways of representing and communicating information about anatomical features, including structural adaptations

This elaboration provides students with an opportunity to develop this core Science Inquiry Skill whilst addressing intercultural science inquiry skills relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures within the context of the following content description(s) from the Science Understanding and/or Science as a Human Endeavour strand(s).

Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)

A potential way to approach this content description is:

Acknowledging and exploring how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples traditionally communicated their understanding about structural features and adaptations of organisms, including internal organs.

A scientific diagram is a visual representation of scientific information and is usually intended to communicate a particular scientific concept or process. Scientific illustrations are precise and detailed diagrammatic representations of knowledge and are produced according to specific rules to ensure clarity of the information communicated. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have long used multimodal ways to represent and communicate the scientific knowledges of the anatomical features and structural adaptations of organisms. For example, X-ray paintings dated at over 8,000 years old, at Burrunggui on the lands of the Gun-djeihmi People in Kakadu National Park, record details of the human skeletal and circulatory systems. The X-ray paintings at Injaluk Hill, on the lands of the Kunwinjku Peoples in Arnhem Land, depict anatomical features of birds, fish and mammals including internal organs and skeletal structures. In other sites around Australia, the paintings of Aboriginal Peoples further depict the structural adaptations of species such as echidna quills and sawfish teeth that helped these organisms survive in their environment. In the Torres Strait, highly detailed masks and headdresses are a method of representing and communicating the structural features and adaptations of important species such as turtles, crocodiles and sharks.

This elaboration provides students with the opportunity to explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ methods of representing and communicating anatomical and physiological features of organisms. Students have the opportunity to learn how scientific knowledge in contemporary science is represented and communicated in similar ways and using similar rules to the long-held practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Students can learn how to represent and communicate key information about structural features of organisms using scientific illustrations.