Lesson Plan: There’s a Possum in my Roof.

Last updated: November 28, 2017

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Technology Level: Tech based.

Audience: Grades 3-6

Duration: 50 minutes

Illustration of a happy possum and a lizard dancing together

Objective:

Students will gain an understanding of how development affects our native wildlife and investigate how we can co-exist with wildlife. This will be achieved through an examination of a case study involving an urban possum living in the roof of a house.

Prior knowledge

  • RSPCA receives hundreds of enquires and complaints each year about possums living in roofs.
  • It is against the law to trap, remove or hurt any native wildlife in Australia.
  • Many possums come into the RSPCA each year with severe injuries from cat traps that people have placed to illegally remove possums from their homes.
  • Many people are unaware of just how territorial possums are. By relocating a possum to a new area you are sometimes unwittingly sentencing them to death.
  • If a person was to call an accredited possum removal organisation, the possum in question must be released within 24 hours within 50 metres of the property. So if people are using these kinds of services they need to ensure that they block up all the holes (after all the possums have left for the night) in the roof where the possums are getting in, or they will just return at dusk.
  • Rules and regulations regarding possums vary from state to state in Australia. Visit: https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/livingwith/brushtail_possums.html for more information on possums in Queensland.

Materials:

  • Teachers will need to print off a storybook for each student. Each book requires four A4 pieces of paper.
  • Drawing and colouring-in pencils

Resources

  1. Lesson Plan
  2. Photos of possums
  3. Useful websites on possums
  4. RSPCA Poem: There’s a possum in my roof!
  5. RSPCA Storybook Assembly Instructions
  6. RSPCA Story book: There’s a possum in my roof.

Procedure:

Lesson Procedure
Topic Notes
1. Introduction (5 mins)
1.1 (5 mins) 1.1 Class discussion on wildlife.

What is wildlife? Do we need to care for wildlife the same way as we care for our pets? Why not? How is wildlife different to the kinds of animals we keep in our homes?

Where can we see wildlife? In our backyards, in our school, the park, in the sky – in the dirt?! Try to encourage the class to think: All Creatures Great and Small!

Write down some of their answers on the board to generate ideas.

Who can tell me some of the different kinds of wildlife we might find in our backyards? Are there different animals in our backyards during the day and different ones at night? Can you give me an example? What about a possum? Do we see possums during the daytime? No – possums are nocturnal, they are sleeping during the day!

2. Body (40 mins)
2.1 (5 mins) 2.1 What do you know about possums? Today we are going to investigate possum. Brainstorm on the board things that you would like to know about possums. Some ideas are:

2.2 (20 mins) 2.2 Students research possums to answer the questions generated from section 2.1, using either the Internet or books. See Resource 3 for some useful websites.

Resource 2 has some great photos of possums to get the students started. The Environment & Heritage Protection Agency (EHP) also provides pamphlets that the students can search for information in . Find out where your nearest EHP is on: https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/

2.3(5 mins) 2.3 Have a class discussion about their findings focusing on people and possums.
2.4(10 mins) 2.4 Read Resource 4: Poem -There is a possum in my roof!

Discuss story with the students, allowing time for questions.

Is it helpful to feed wildlife? No.

How do the possums get around the houses at night?

Why would possums want to live in roofs?

What would they prefer?

How can we help wildlife co-exist with people?

Hand out students copies of the story so they can illustrate it using their knowledge of possums.

3. Conclusion(5 mins)
3.1(5 mins) 3.1 Go through the homework activities at the end of the storybook.

Curriculum Links

Curriculum Links for this lesson
Key Learning area Curriculum link
Science Life and Living

LL 3.1 Students draw conclusions about the relationship between features of living things and the environments in which they live.

LL 3.3 Students describe some interactions (including feeding relationships) between living things and between living and non-living parts of the environment

Suggested Homework Activities

Suggested homework activities are printed on the story book for the students to complete with the help of their parent/guardian.

Suggested Extension Activities

Students could create an information poster about why possums live in people’s homes and how we can help possums and people co-exist.

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