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Digging up the Diprotodon

Ecolinc
Full Day
Book Program
Year Levels

Background

Megafauna are big (mega) animals (fauna). These are animals that lived in Australia up to 100,000 years ago. They were at least 30% larger than any of their extant relatives. There is significant dispute as to whether the megafauna became extinct due to predation by humans or due to climate change.

The Diprotodon, the largest marsupial believed to have ever lived, was the first fossil mammal described from Australia in 1838. Fossil Diprotodon skulls have since been found in Bacchus Marsh and are currently on display at Museum Victoria.

Ecolinc has trackways featuring footprints of the Diprotodon, the giant kangaroo and giant wombat. The trackways were constructed by Museum Victoria and are currently on loan from Federation University.

Note:

  • Maximum number of students for this program is 50 per day.
  • This program is strictly 10am-2.30pm and cannot be shortened in time.
  • In 2022, this program is offered:
    • Monday 21st February – Friday 25th February
    • Monday 24th October – Friday 28th October

Key Learning Question

How do paleontologists use evidence to learn about megafauna and how Earth has changed over time?


Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  • Understand and predict how megafauna became extinct
  • Examine a range of fossil evidence and understand how this can unlock our understanding of the megafauna and their habitat
  • Understand how rocks are indicators of how the Earth’s surface changes over time

Activities

Students will:

  • Adopt a ‘rolling stone’ from the Ecolinc Geological Trail to investigate its origins and unlock its secrets
  • Examine megafauna trackways and discover who passed this way
  • Become part of the paleontological team that uncovers megafauna fossils and solves the puzzle of their origin

Victorian Curriculum

Science – Science as a human endeavour

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

Science – Biological sciences

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

Learning Continuum

The following Learning Continuum is a guide for teachers to show the links between the programs Ecolinc offers onsite, online and through outreach. The Learning Continuum can be used to access Ecolinc resources to support the development of units of work.

Ecolinc Learn Online is an online learning management system offering interactive online courses for students and teachers. These courses can be undertaken either as a pre-visit, post-visit or stand-alone. Students are encouraged to do the post-learning course after the Outreach program.

Outreach programs are conducted by an Ecolinc education officer at your school. They are available to moderately disadvantaged primary schools in the Geelong, Ballarat and western suburbs areas (or within 100km radius from Bacchus Marsh).

Learn Online Post-program:

☞ Digging Deeper

Outreach:

☞ Megabugs