Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit provides deep engagement in three contrasting areas of primary science education which together provide pre-service teachers with knowledge and understanding about science and its pedagogy for leadership in the primary science classroom.

Recent years have seen an increasing acceptance of the ecologically fragile state of our world with its vast human load beginning to exceed carrying capacity. Clearly, profound changes to humanity’s collective cultural values are required if we are to reshape our relationships with the natural systems of which we are part and upon which we depend. Education has a crucial role to play in empowering people to participate in working for a sustainable future.

This unit aims to assist pre-service teachers to develop the values, knowledge, and skills to realise the principles and practices of ecological sustainable development in their professional and personal lives, in the workplace and in the wider community through a consideration of real alternatives to our current unsustainable way of life.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - critically analyse historical and current factors that have resulted in a need to focus on sustainable development (GA2, GA4, GA5; APST 2.1)

LO2 - analyse changes in ecosystem function that necessitate a need to focus on sustainability (GA2, GA4, GA5; APST 2.1)

LO3 - research and apply concepts that underpin sustainability (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 2.1)

LO4 - critique appropriate government documents and those from other sources on sustainability and education for sustainability (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.2, 2.1, 5.1)

LO5 - investigate and apply key concepts of children’s learning about, in and for the environment (GA2, GA5; APST 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 3.2, 5.1).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.


Topics will include:

  • Humans and the natural environment: history of our pathway to unsustainable societies through energy and resource use; paradigms underpinning unsustainable growth
  • Sustainable living: what it means/represents, and how it can be achieved
  • Resources for environmental education from: federal and state/territory government documents, non-government organisations (NGO), people in the community, texts, children’s books, journals, magazines, videos, excursion venues, and environmental projects
  • Children’s learning about, in and for the environment; strategies for helping children understand, appreciate and care for their natural environment through teaching strategies such as games and simulations, inquiry approaches, questioning, role plays, debates, investigations, problem posing and solving, cooperative group work, values clarification, outdoor education
  • Understanding ecosystems and their degradation including: examples of different ecosystems, climate change, waste, pollution, soil erosion, and loss of biodiversity.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit will be delivered in a combination of face-to-face sessions, online tasks and outside field work. Learning will be enabled by collaborative group work, presentations and discussions that require participants to reflect on applying theory into practice.


This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours of study for this unit which includes attendance to all sessions and participations in class and outside class tasks.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, pre-service teachers are required to submit and participate in all assessment tasks.

The total assessment tasks will amount to the equivalent of 5,000 words.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Analyse and evaluate relevant federal and state/territory documents on sustainability as well as relevant state/territory science and technology curriculum for sustainability education. Develop a unit plan for teaching and learning an EfS topic using hands-on, authentic investigations


LO4, LO5

GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2 - CHOICE

For the purposes of national moderation all campuses must select the same task

An individually negotiated task that may be:

  • Environmental survey
  • Annotated resource collection
  • Research essay: exploration of an environmental issue/question
  • Work on environmental projects in schools
  • Development of plan for sustainability
  • School sustainability audit


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Assadourian, E. Y. (2010). State of the World 2010: Transforming cultures: From consumerism to sustainability. The Worldwatch Institute.

Chiras, D. (2005). EcoKids: Raising children who care for the earth. Canada: New Society Publishers.

Flannery, T. (2005). The weather makers. Melbourne, Vic: Text Publishing

Hicks, D. (2006). Lessons for the future: The missing dimension in education. Victoria BC: Trafford Publishing.

Louv, R. (2005). The last child in the woods. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books.

Maclaurin, J. & Stereing, K. (2008). What is biodiversity? Chicago: University of Chicago press (MK)

Rogers, E. (2007). The green book: The everyday guide to saving the planet one simple step at a time Mississauga: Random House of Canada.

Smith , C. & Dawborn, K. (2011). Permaculture pioneers: Stories from the new frontier. Daylesford, Vic: Holmgren Design Service.

Suzuki, D. (2010). The legacy. An elder’s vision for our sustainable future, Crow’s Nest, NSW: Allen and Unwin.

Yencken, D. & Wilkinson, D. (2000). Resetting the compass: Australia’s journey towards sustainability. Collingwood, Vic: CSIRO Publishing.

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