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4 — Construction of a life cycle of another creature

Photo of an echidna in dry grass

Above: A wild short-beak echidna, photo by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos CC-BY-NC-3.0

This learning sequence allows students to research an egg-laying animal of their choice and write and illustrate a life cycle of that creature.

You will need to play an active role in monitoring each team’s progress and provide feedback and guidance throughout the sequence. This learning sequence may take one or two lessons. The mode of the final product will be up to you or can be negotiated with the students. It could be a piece of written text, a poster or chart, a 3D construction (for example, from modelling dough or clay) or a digital presentation on a computer or tablet.

Teacher resources


Read Puggle, the story of an orphaned echidna. You may like to read the Teachers’ notes (.pdf 86 kB) for this book on the publisher’s website for ideas for visual literacy and looking at the language of the book in more depth. Draw the students’ attention to the dual purpose of the book, which is:

In other words, the text both tells a story (narrative) and provides information (information report). Before reading the story, alert the students to the fact that readers can find many facts about echidnas in this story. Ask them to listen for information as you read. After the reading, ask the students to respond to the text on a personal level and to recall any information they learned about echidnas.

Read the book a second time using a think-aloud strategy to demonstrate what can be learned about echidnas and puggles (baby echidnas) from the text. Much of this information can be inferred from the text (for example, ‘ ... Puggle swayed gently to and fro as his mother shuffled through the forest’). From this extract, you get the idea that echidnas move slowly.

Build up and display the notes you and the students have made on sticky notes or an interactive whiteboard. Ask the students to consider how these notes might be grouped. They can suggest categories and move the notes below these headings. Show the end papers of the book and explain that as you read this section, more information can be entered on the chart. Visit Catriona Hoy’s website to learn about the writing of the book and to see photographs of the baby echidna (puggle).

Activity 1: Researching the life cycle of the echidna

Tell the students that we can create a life cycle about echidnas in a similar way to our life cycle of chickens. Have a Life cycle research worksheet ready to record information about how echidnas reproduce. Elicit and enter information from the book. Visit a website or use other source material and add any new or extra information. ACELA1470,  ACELY1665

Activity 2: Constructing a life cycle for the echidna

Revisit the marking rubric you created in Sequence 3 to revise the elements of the life cycle the class needs to include. Decide on how many stages should be included and then jointly devise a template, and construct the life cycle of an echidna.

Activity 3: Which animals begin life as an egg?

What other animals begin life as an egg? Revisit the list that the class began at the end of Sequence 2, where they started to think of animals that lay eggs and animals that do not. Explain that animals that do not lay eggs give birth to live young and provide an opportunity for students to relate their knowledge and experience of this. One of the students may have a baby sibling or a pet that has given birth and they might like to tell the class about these experiences. Provide Pictures of animals that lay eggs or give birth to live young for them to sort into three columns using the Animals that lay eggs or give birth to live young worksheet. ACELY1671

Activity 4: Researching an egg-laying creature

Ask the students:

In the same groups as in Sequence 3, they look through the resources to decide which egg-laying animal they will research and, using the Life cycle research worksheet, jot down notes (and record where they found the information, which will give them an introduction to the idea of the reference list or bibliography).

Give the students time to use their notes to construct a life cycle of their chosen animal. You will probably need to allow another lesson for this and the subsequent reflection.


The students check their life cycles against the rubric (see the information on Developing a rubric). They can then show their life cycles to others. This could be done in a couple of ways; for example, one team at a time could show the whole class, or teams could combine so that three teams take turns to show each other their life cycles, and provide feedback to each other.

After they have looked at other teams’ life cycles, the students can fill in a Self-reflection worksheet and paste it in their science journals. ACELY1660