This learning sequence is linked to VCE Biology Unit 1: Area of Study 2; Outcome 2, of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Biology Study Design (2016-2020).

Survival Through Adaptations and Regulation

Teaching sequence for: VCE Biology Unit 1, Area of Study 2, Outcome 2

5 modules

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This teaching sequence consists of five lessons which are 60-90 minutes each. The learning activities, explanations, definitions, teacher knowledge and resources required to effectively implement this lesson sequence, are included. Throughout this sequence, an abundance of examples of adaptations are depicted and utilised. Students will benefit from exploring the examples to demonstrate deep understanding in their assessments and exams.

In this sequence, students will develop and enhance some of the Key Science Skills outlined by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) in the VCE Biology Study Design. Students will ‘communicate and explain scientific ideas,’ (VCAA 2017, p.9) to their peers in a species investigation activity, and they will ‘analyse and evaluate data, methods and scientific models’ (VCAA 2017, p.10) in a secondary data investigation, using the raw data from a scientist’s investigation. Students will also explore how biomimicry has been used to solve human challenges. This learning sequence facilitates learning through student centred activities, the creation of resources (by students), communicating scientific ideas to an audience, and collaborative activities. The relationship between adaptations and the real world is highlighted throughout the sequence.

Links to the Victorian Curriculum

VCE Biology (2016-2020), Unit 1, Area of Study 2, Outcome 2 VCE Biology Study Design

Key Knowledge

Survival through adaptations and regulation

Key science skills

Analyse and evaluate data, methods and scientific models

Communicate and explain scientific ideas

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the lesson sequence students should be able to:


Matthew Symonds tells us his story and about his work on Evolution

Getting to know Matthew Symonds, his story, role, highlights and challenges


Adams, A 2016, Calidris acuminate Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Museums Victoria Collections, retrieved 1 November 2017, <>.

Cotton, C 2016, Heinemann biology 1 VCE units 1 & 2, Pearson Australia, Melbourne, Vic.

Greenwood, T, Bainbridge-Smith, L, Pryor, K & Allan, R, 2015, Biozone for VCE units 1 & 2, Replika Press, Burleigh Qld.

Kinnear, J & Martin M 2015, Nature of biology VCE units 1 and 2, John Wily & Sons Australia, Milton Qld.

National Geographic 2017, Adaptations, National Geographic Society, retrieved 30 October 2017, <>.

Ryeland, J, Weston, M, Symonds, M & Overgaard J 2017, ‘Bill size mediates behavioural thermoregulation in birds’. Functional Ecology, vol. 31, no. 4, p.885-893, doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12814.

Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) 2017, VCE Biology Study Design 2016-2021, Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority State Government of Victoria, retrieved 27 October 2017, <>.

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Thanks to the following for contributing to the development of these sequences: