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Koala Hospital: Education Worksheet

Koala Hospital Education Worksheet


SCHOOL LEVEL
Upper Primary and Junior Secondary
 

EDUCATION DESCRIPTION: Koala Hospital
The cute, cuddly, universally adored koala is an iconic symbol of Australian wildlife. With their furry, round faces, big fluffy ears and large eyes, it’s love at first sight for anyone who encounters them. Sadly, human activities – such as urban expansion and timber felling – continue to threaten the future of koala populations in the wild. For some 40 years, the Koala Hospital and its enthusiastic volunteers have been caring for sick and injured wild koalas, offering them a second chance at life. This excellent documentary was filmed over three years, capturing unprecedented footage of koala communication, dramatic rescues, heartfelt emotion and amusing koala anecdotes.


TEACHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION
How much do we really know about koalas? Not enough, according to the scientists, veterinarians and volunteers who work tirelessly trying to save Australia’s estimated 40,000 remaining individuals. Join documentary maker, Susan Kelly, as she reveals the truth about these incredible marsupials, and the life-threatening challenges they face. Most of the footage shows the wonderful work undertaken by the world’s first hospital dedicated to the preservation of koalas. Situated at Port Macquarie on the mid-coast of New South Wales, the Koala Hospital is in prime koala habitat.

Of the many threats to koalas, humans are the worst culprits, with habitat loss the central issue. Koalas have thrived in the Australian bush for millions of years, but the modern koala faces many new threats and we are not doing a good job of protecting these beloved animals. In addition to habitat loss, drought, raging bushfires and disease, koalas must also cope with the impact of urbanisation, including dogs, cars and swimming pools.
Koalas are mysterious animals, and we still have much to learn about them, according to ecologists and scientific researchers. We used to think koalas only needed eucalyptus trees to survive, but scientists have found they use the entire forest in unexpected ways, spacing themselves out across the landscape to enable the best use of resources. The data obtained from GPS collars show that koalas wander much further than was previously believed. Recording and examining various calls reveals that individual koalas have their own distinct vocalisations, using complex frequencies to serenade other koalas.  

The Koala Hospital works in conjunction with universities and preservation societies, with all researchers sharing their knowledge in an attempt to stop the unprecedented numbers of koala deaths. The hospital also has a special koala ambulance to respond to calls for help, covering many kilometres on dramatic rescue missions. This documentary is compulsive viewing, offering insightful information about koalas and their environment, the latest scientific findings, hope for the future, and brilliant footage of a truly unique animal.


CURRICULUM POINTERS
 

Upper Primary Curriculum
Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our curiosity and interest in making sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale

Junior Secondary Curriculum
The science curriculum provides opportunities for students to develop understandings about science and its processes, the scope of its contributions to our culture and society, and its applications in our daily lives. The science curriculum addresses the diverse needs of Australian students by providing them with scientific knowledge, understandings and skills to make informed and responsible personal, social, technological and environmental decisions that impact at the local, national and global levels and to participate, if they so wish, in science-rich careers.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale


CURRICULUM OUTCOMES

 

Upper Primary
In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will develop:
•    an interest in science and a curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions and speculate about the changing world in which they live
•    an ability to solve problems and make informed, evidence-based decisions about current and future applications of science while taking into account moral, ethical and social implications
•    an ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims


Junior Secondary
In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will develop:
•    an ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs
•    an ability to solve problems and make informed, evidence-based decisions about current and future applications of science while taking into account moral, ethical and social implications
•    an understanding of historical and cultural aspects of science as well as contemporary science issues and activities and an understanding of the diversity of careers related to science
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims


STUDENT LEARNING TASKS

Upper Primary

Task 1
Write down which states and territories in Australia are home to koalas, and which are not. To help, you can visit this website:
https://www.savethekoala.com/koalas.html
Click on “ Distribution”, on the right-hand side of the home page.

Task 2
When Europeans first came to Australia, they thought koalas looked like bears. We know now that koalas are not bears, but what are they? In about 50 words, explain the main difference between koalas and “real” bears.

Task 3
Name five major threats to koalas. For each of these threats, write a sentence to describe how it is related to humans, or human activity.

Task 4
In 50 words, write a description of a koala habitat. In your description, mention what type of trees are important to koalas, and why. Draw a picture to accompany your description.

Task 5
Imagine you are the boss of your town. Write down five rules you could make that would help keep koalas safe from threats caused by urbanisation.


Junior Secondary


Task 1
Do some Internet research to help answer the following questions about koalas:
•    What type of eucalyptus trees make the best homes for koalas?
•    What type of eucalyptus leaves do koalas prefer to eat?
•    What adaptations have koalas made to enable them to digest these leaves?
•    Why do koalas spend so much time sleeping?
•    What is the average life span of a koala?
•    What is the most common cause of death in koalas in the wild?

Task 2
Imagine you have found an injured koala on the side of the road, and you call the Koala Hospital. Describe in about 150 words what happens from the time the ambulance arrives until the koala is released into the wild. Make sure you include the following in your description:
•    Signs and symptoms
•    Diagnosis
•    Rehabilitation
•    Release
•    Follow-up

Task 3
As Australia’s human population increases, its koala population decreases. In 100 words, explain why this is so.

 

Task 4
Choose five new facts that you learned about koalas while watching this programme. Write 30 words to explain each of these facts (total 150 words).

Task 5
Write a letter to the Federal Minister for the Environment in which you explain why it is important to preserve habitat for koalas. In your letter, make three simple suggestions that could be implemented quickly and inexpensively. Ensure your letter is written clearly and politely.

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