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Lesson Plan

Unit 1 — ARE YOU A PEST?

Activity — Pest power

Setting the scene

Many pest animals continue to thrive despite the best efforts of humans to eradicate them. Explanations can be found not only in the inconsistent attitudes of people to pests, but also in the special characteristics of a pest. Certain aspects of their biology, combined with habitat disturbance and a lack of predators and diseases that might other wise limit their numbers, have all contributed to a pest’s success in Australia.

Source: Penny Olsen. Australia’s Pest Animals: New Solutions to Old Problems, Bureau of Resource Sciences and Kangaroo Press, 1998.

Recommended reading for teachers

To gain further information on this topic prior to teaching it in the classroom is recommended that you examine sections of the following:


Students develop an understanding of the biology of a successful pest animal and apply those characteristics to their own specially created pest animal.

Student outcomes

Students will:


What to do

The research component of this activity is ideal for a homework assignment or extended research project using ICT in an appropriate e-learning environment.

If desired, sections of the activity can be broken up and completed over a series of lessons.


Hand out the activity sheet and introduce the topic by discussing the ‘setting the scene’ section of the activity with your students.

Effective pest animals usually have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • The ability to adapt to new environments (including natural, disturbed and urban environments).
  • A varied diet including plants, roots, fruits, flowers, insects and other animals.
  • The ability to migrate large distances.
  • The ability to reproduce large litters several times a year or when food is abundant.

Step 1

Discuss the requirements of the first section of the activity, including the pest animal chart, with your students.

Step 2

Hand out the powerful pest sheet and discuss the requirements with your students. The activity sheet provides a number of questions to prompt student creativity.

Step 3

Once your students have completed the design of their powerful pest and have answered the questions listed in the activity, display each powerful pest design around the classroom. Encourage students to view and discuss the features of each powerful pest.

Step 4

To further extend the activity, students could craft a three dimensional powerful pest from various materials or design a power point presentation to demonstrate the unique features of their powerful pest.

Step 5


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