Features, Life Cycles and the Environment Year 3-4

Year levels

Year 3, Year 4


See Plan Your Visit


Monday to Friday (during school term)


Aboriginal Culture, Adaptations, Australian Animals, Classification, Ecosystems / Habitats, Endangered Species, Food Chains / Webs, Life cycles

Take a journey through the Australian bush at Healesville Sanctuary and discover the features and life cycles of Australian animals and how they depend on the environment to survive.

Program description

Immersed in nature, students will get up close to some of our native Australian animals and discover the diverse adaptations that help these species to survive in the wild. Students will gain insights into how Australian animals depend on each other and the environment and learn how to group them according to their unique features, diet and life cycles. Along the way, they will also learn about Wurundjeri connections to the land and how to care for wildlife to ensure a sustainable future.

Students will learn: 

  • About the unique features, habitats and life cycles of Australian animals and how to group them accordingly
  • How Australian animals depend on each other and the environment to survive
  • About Aboriginal culture, stories and their connection to the land and wildlife
  • How they can help to care for wildlife and the environment

Can’t make it to one of our zoos? Our Digital Program gives you direct access to your own expert Zoo Teacher and unique zoo content. Location is no longer a barrier.

Program sequence

Before your visit


Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to spark students’ curiosity before their Healesville Sanctuary visit.

During your visit

Connect and Understand 

Students will be immersed among wildlife and habitats as you explore Healesville Sanctuary.

Students will learn valuable observation and classification skills to organise animals into groups based on their features, life cycles and habitats. By understanding what animals need to survive, students will investigate the challenges our local species face in the wild.

With a Sanctuary teacher, students can observe animals up close, hear unique insights and participate in guided discussions and exploration to discover what makes Australian animals so unique. Students are encouraged to reflect upon the effect that humans have on native habitats and wildlife and consider how we can help to care for these animals in the future.

Your Sanctuary visit will include: A Welcome (for arrivals between 9:50am – 10.10am), a Sanctuary Teacher workshop (40 minutes), Spirits of the Sky presentation and keeper talks. Check out your Teaching Guide for other ideas of what to do at Healesville Sanctuary.

After your visit


Use activities in the Teaching Guide to deepen students’ learning back at school. 


Use the Teaching Guide to enable students to master their knowledge and skills in real-world contexts. 

Program maps and itineraries

Digital maps will be provided to you on the day.

Learning outcomes

Victorian Curriculum 3-4


Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (VCSSU057) 

  • Students will encounter Australian animals and learn to identify the variations in their features and group them accordingly 

Different living things have different life cycles and depend on each other and the environment to survive (VCSSU058) 

  • Students will learn about the life cycles of different Australian animals and how they depend on the environment to survive 

Science knowledge helps people to understand the effects of their actions (VCSSU056)

  • Students will discover how science has contributed to understanding and resolving issues related to human impacts on the environment and native wildlife

The many Countries/Places of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout Australia, and the custodial responsibility they have for Country/Place, and how this influences views about sustainability (VCGGK080) 

  • Students will discover how the Wurundjeri peoples’ ways of living were adapted to the resources of their Country/Place 

Types of natural vegetation and the significance of vegetation to the environment, the importance of environments to animals and people, and different views on how they can be protected; the use and management of natural resources and waste, and different views on how to do this sustainably (VCGGK082) 

  • Students will explore how vegetation provides habitat for animals and the sustainable use of natural resources 

Plan your excursion 

This program  is an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. This could include a raincoat, hat and sun protection. 

School groups will enter Healesville Sanctuary via the Main Entrance. Organising teachers please check in with our Admissions team upon arrival. More information.

Book your education experience

Fill out an online form to request a booking for your zoo education experience

Request booking now

You will need to know the following to book your zoo excursion or online workshop:

  • Education program of your choice (if applicable)
  • Preferred date
  • School name and address
  • Contact details of organising teacher
  • Number of students/classes and their year level