Evolution and Adaptation of Australian Plants

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Explore 165 million years of Australia's evolution through student-focused, hands-on activities involving observation of actual plant fossils and examination of plant species growing in the Botanic Garden. 

Stage 6 Biology
2 hours
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden
$13 per student. Minimum charges apply.

What happens?

  • Students will recall the movement of the continental plates moving over millions of years, and that Australia was once part of Gondwana. They will examine fossil evidence of Glossopteris, flora found in Australia and other parts of Gondwana 200 million years ago.
  • Students will then measure and record observations comparing Australian conifers from the extinct to the extant. They will examine fossils of the extinct Agathis jurassica and compare this to living plant material from the modern kauri pine and the Wollemi pine.
  • Students will then visit areas of the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden and observe the modern day relatives of the type of plants found in the Southern conifer forests and broadleaf rainforests. This will help them appreciate the rise of early angiosperms and their success compared to gymnosperms.
  • Lastly, students will gather and present information about flowers of native species of angiosperms. They will be able to identify features that are adaptations for wind, insect, bird and mammal pollination.

Students will...

  • Use fossils and plant materials to record observations about extinct and extant Australian
    native plants

  • Observe the living relatives southern conifer forests of the middle to late Cretaceous period and the broad-leaved rainforests of the early Tertiary period

  • Learn about the discovery and classification of the Wollemi pine

  • Study the pollination adaptations of flowers of Australian native plants.

It was great to use plant samples and fossils that we don't have at school. Covered many dot points and consolidated information.

Teacher, Aquinas Catholic College
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