VCE programs

Print Page

AoS 1: Investigating Local Ecosystems

Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels
Unit 1 — How are Earth’s Dynamic Systems Interconnected to Support Life?


An ecosystem consists of all the organisms living in a community as well as all the abiotic factors with which they interact.

There are a diverse range of environments across Victoria. These include arid and coastal regions, grasslands and numerous types of forests. Within these regions there are a diverse range of ecosystems which are classified by a combination of the vegetation communities and landforms. Victoria’s ecosystems include rainforests, alpine, grasslands, semi-desert, marine, coastal, urban, agricultural and wetland ecosystems.

Ecolinc has both a wetland ecosystem and a grassy woodland ecosystem which will be investigated in this program.

Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  • Identify freshwater macroinvertebrates from the Ecolinc wetland
  • Identify relationships between wetland/grassy woodland organisms
  • Explain processes within wetland/grassy woodland ecosystems
  • Identify change in wetland and grassy woodland ecosystems
  • Explain how human activities can alter wetland/grassy woodland ecosystems


Students will:

  • Sample wetland macroinvertebrates from the Ecolinc wetland
  • In the laboratory, identify the macroinvertebrates using the stereo microscope and identification keys
  • Explore interactions and changes within the Ecolinc wetland using computer modelling
  • Identify producers, consumers and detritivores in ecosystems
  • Explore wetland trophic levels and flow of energy
  • Sample the Ecolinc grassy woodland by completing surveys for four quadrats
  • Analyse and discuss quadrat results
  • Explore interactions and changes to grassy woodlands over time using computer modelling

VCE Links

Investigation of local ecosystems

  • The range of biotic and abiotic components that determine the environmental conditions of varied habitats within aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Interrelationships within ecological communities as represented by food chains, food webs, energy and biomass pyramids.

Alternative program

Schools have the opportunity to incorporate a trip to Mt Rothwell for this program.

This alternative program will begin at 2pm at Ecolinc. Students will carry out all of the wetland activities at Ecolinc and then travel by bus to Mt Rothwell to undertake grassland activities.

Students can bring their own dinner or BYO food for a BBQ. Students will then be taken on a spotlighting tour of Mt Rothwell at dusk by Mt Rothwell staff. Here they will get the chance to observe many of Australia’s native endangered grassland species that have been released on this 420ha predator free property.


There is an additional fee per student for the Mt Rothwell program.

Teachers need to also be aware that if the temperature is above 35 degrees and/or the weather conditions are extreme, Mt Rothwell will not accept students on site. In this situation, students undertaking this program will participate in an alternative/like program on site at Ecolinc.

The Mt Rothwell option of this program is available in Term 2 only.