Science / Year 3 / Science understanding / Earth and space sciences

Curriculum content descriptions

compare the observable properties of soils, rocks and minerals and investigate why they are important Earth resources (AC9S3U02)

  • examining different soils from local areas and using magnifying glasses to observe their components, such as pebbles, sand or plant matter as well as living things such as earthworms and insects
  • exploring the school grounds or a local area and observing or collecting different types of rocks and describing similarities or differences such as texture, colour, grain or crystal size
  • recognising that minerals are the building blocks of rocks and that the different characteristics of rocks depend on the minerals they are made up of
  • identifying rocks as key components of the built and natural environment and recognising uses of minerals such as gemstones in jewellery, graphite in pencils, and table salt in food
  • investigating First Nations Australians’ knowledges of different rock and mineral types, and how they were used such as for stone blades, grindstones and pigments
  • describing ways in which living things including humans depend on soils, such as for food, growing plants, providing habitat for organisms, and holding and cleaning water
  • examining information on plant tags and exploring the vocabulary used to describe soils and different plant soil requirements
  • investigating which rocks or minerals are quarried or mined locally or regionally and how those resources are used
General capabilities
  • Critical and creative thinking Critical and Creative Thinking
Cross-curriculum priorities
ScOT terms

Properties,  Soil composition,  Natural resources,  Rock types,  Minerals (Mineralogy)


For the Juniors: Growing rice

What is your favourite way to eat rice? This clip shows how rice is planted, grown and harvested in many different countries (places in the world). View the different foods made with rice.


Waterways: clean-up

We all have the power to help keep our coastlines, rivers, lakes, swamps, creeks, floodplains, billabongs and estuaries clean by diverting rubbish from our waterways. This can be done with regular clean-ups, picking up litter when you see it, and changing our behaviour such as limiting our use of single-use plastic. This ...


Soil – more than just dirt!

Explore different soil textures and discover their various properties. Through simple soil testing, children will learn to appreciate the true value soils have in helping plants grow. The learning outcomes of this activity are for children to: - understand how soil texture influences the amount of water and air it holds - ...


Investigating the soil food web

Soil is much more than just dirt. In this activity, learners will be conducting an investigation to see which animals and other organisms are recycling nutrients in the garden. These organisms make up the soil food web, which includes microscopic bacteria, fungi, minute creatures such as springtails, worms, pill-bugs and ...


Coal and its uses

Find out where we get the coal that powers our homes and industries. This is a PowerPoint presentation outlining how coal is formed, mined, processed and used. All slides contain images or maps. Teachers' notes are included.


Aboriginal science tools: the morah stone

This is an article about morah stones, incised grinding stones from the tropical rainforests of northern Queensland, and how they were used by the local Aboriginal peoples to process toxic starchy seeds and kernels. Written by Kudjala/Kalkadoon Elder from Queensland Letitia Murgha and intended mainly for teachers, it describes ...


For the Juniors: Making a rain gauge

How do you feel about the rain? This clip explains why rain is so important to farmers. You will see how to make a rain gauge and use it to measure how much rain falls. Farmers measure rainfall so they know when to do different jobs on their farms.


How does your garden grow?

This Stage 2 resource grew from a conversation between young students questioning why they could still buy grapes if they were out of season. This wondering led to a discussion around when we grow certain fruit and vegetables. The original stimulus was extended to cover planting for the seasons and factors that influence ...


Biodiversity – sustainability action process (Years 3–6)

This biodiversity learning resource guides students through an extended school based investigation. Students develop and implement a chosen sustainability action and then evaluate and reflect on their success and their learning.


Waste and materials – sustainability action process (Years 3–6)

This resource guides students through an extended school-based or local investigation focussed on waste and materials using the five-step sustainability action process. The resource supports the investigation of a real-world issue or problem. Students develop and implement a chosen sustainability action and then evaluate ...


ACARA sample assessment task: years 3-4: Classifying living or non-living things

This resource provides strategies for assessing aspects of the Digital Technologies subject in the Australian Curriculum that relate to data using contexts from other learning areas and General Capabilities, including Science, Mathematics, Numeracy and Literacy. The resource includes an assessment planner and rubric, as ...


The Manual: Butterfly Gardening in South Australia

This Manual assists teachers and students establish butterfly gardens in their schoolgrounds. It provides information about butterfly lifecycles, habitats, adaptations, and requirements to live. The manual also provides local Indigenous perspectives of butterflies, along with useful links to websites. The manual accompanies ...


Making a large wicking bed

Wicking beds are a fantastic invention, allowing crops to be watered more efficiently. Making a large wicking bed does involve a few steps and some preparation, however the benefits of this extra effort are water conservation, improved plant growth and better crops. The design of the wicking bed also provides opportunities ...


Making a small wicking bed

Making and planting a small wicking bed is a fulfilling activity. It upcycles materials, building awareness of waste and reuse. The completed wicking bed can suit small spaces – such as a balcony – demonstrating that even small spaces can be used to produce food. Its small size allows children to take ownership of its maintenance. ...


BTN: Daily bread

Do you eat bread? How often? Discover why bread has been important for human survival for thousands of years. Find out how to find the healthiest types of bread to eat. See how you can make your own bread at home.


For the Juniors: Keeping cool in hot weather

Have you ever wondered why your face turns red when you run around? Discover what's going on under your skin when this happens, and how this helps you keep cool. See some of the clever ways that animals keep cool, too.


Termites: Destroyers or recyclers?

Be amazed by what these young scientists find out about termites. Discover where termites live and what they eat. You may be surprised to find out that they are not actually ants, and that they are blind! This video was a finalist in the 2013 Sleek Geeks Eureka Science School Prize competition.


Feathers, Fur and Fins: Observing a wombat

Take a close look at two different types of wombats in this short clip. Don Spencer introduces a Common Wombat called Winifred, then shows us a Hairy-nosed Wombat foraging in the desert.


Gardening Australia: Planting an orchard

Imagine eating oranges straight from a tree in your school orchard. Watch this clip to see how the Swan Valley Anglican Community School began creating their own orchard complete with fruit-bearing orange trees. Josh Byrne explains how to position an orchard, prepare the soil and select suitable plants.


Creating compost

Compost is created when organic materials such as twigs, leaves, dry grass and kitchen food scraps break down. Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of landfill that is produced, and also provides soil full of good nutrients that can be used on the garden. OUTCOMES of this learning activity are for students to: ...