Tropical Savannas CRC
Teach Savannas Learn Savannas Savannas Windows


Assessment for Learning

Living Savannas 

Living savannas  
Use the group responses to this task to identify the level of understanding students have of the topic. Use this information to inform the way you lead into later activities.

Software such as Inspiration could be used for mind mapping.


Students can right click on mouse to print their list of tropical savannas characteristics.

Living Savannas

What do we know about tropical savanna biodiversity? 

What do all the following have in common? Mosquitoes, dogs, orchids, Year 8 students, plankton, eagles, rice, frogs, elephants, kangaroos, rats and elephants?

All living organisms (biotic), despite their diversity, share common characteristics that distinguish them from non-living things (abiotic).

Groups/pairs create a T Chart showing the main differences between living and non-living things.

Characteristics of living things: growth; response to stimuli; adapt to environment, reproduce, respire. 


How do living things differ?

(size, shape, colour, habitat, mobility, behaviour, body covering etc)

  • Use this information to come up with a definition or a mind map of biodiversity?
  • What are some of the diverse types of habitats in which life exists?
  • Discuss the meaning of biodiversity (bio-life; diversity - variety) with students.

Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. It includes the sheer variety of species on Earth, its many ecosystems and genetic diversity (i.e. the variety of genes within a species). Biodiversity encompasses: species diversity; ecosystem diversity and genetic diversity.


What do we know about tropical savannas? 

Use key words to create a mind map or definition.

Students complete the section Living Savannas.


Living Savannas globe small




Students create a Venn diagram to illustrate the similarities and differences between Australian, African, Asian and South American savannas.

Refer to original mind map/definition and create a mind map for Australia's Tropical Savannas' biodiversity. (This could be updated throughout the unit).

Individually, or in groups, record and share:

  • What questions or puzzles they have?
  • What does the topic make you want to explore?

These question starters could help students think or questions: Why ...? How would it be different if ...? What are the reasons ...? Suppose that ...? What if ...? What if we knew ...? What is the purpose of ...? What would change if ...? These questions could also be revisited and added to throughout the unit.