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Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Field of Mars Environmental Education Centre

Experience Engage Enable

Telephone02 9816 1298

Feathers, phasmids and leaves program

Teacher checklist


Field of Mars Reserve, Pittwater Road, East Ryde

Wallumedegal Country

Google maps - Apple maps

Bus access

Supply bus driver with Field of Mars Reserve bus information

No bus entry into Field of Mars Reserve.


DoE $24 per student - GST free

Non-gov school $34 per student - GST free, minimum charge $700

Term 1 - Catholic school Weeks 3 to 7 cost = DoE cost - GST free, minimum charge $700

Risk assessment

Field of Mars Reserve risk management plan

COVID-19 safety plan


View the YouTube track overview videos.

Buffalo Creek Track

Doyle and Warada loop track


Participants will be bushwalking during the day in rugged terrain.

Limited wheelchair accessibility.

This excursion may not be suitable for people who have recently been unwell.


Backpack, medication, low-waste food, water bottle, sunblock, raincoat, hat, sturdy shoes.

Students wear reusable name tag and sports uniform.


Preparing for an excursion

Supporting resources

Supporting student activities

Invertebrate Explorer - available free from Apple Books.

Phasmids - available free from Apple Books

Fact sheets

Bin access

All student waste to be taken home by students.

Parent/carer helpers Optional one parent per class, no siblings. Closed shoes essential. 
Medical or special needs

Notify Field of Mars staff prior to excursion.

Students, staff and visitors must not attend if unwell, even with mild symptoms. 

Extreme or wet weather

Days predicted to be above 35ºC, high winds, extreme bush fire danger and dust storms may result in the excursion being modified, postponed or cancelled. 


Cancellations with less than four school weeks' notice will incur a $500 administration fee. This does not apply to cancellations due to weather or fire danger.

Suggested timetable for up to four classes


Classes A, B

Classes C, D

9:45 - 10.30

Introduction, recess and toilets

Introduction, recess and toilets

10.30 - 12.00


Invertebrate investigation

Class classification

Phasmid features

12.00 - 12.30



12.30 - 2.00

Invertebrate investigation

Class classification

Phasmid features


2.00 - 2.15

Pack up, toilets and depart

Pack up, toilets and depart

Learning activities

Students group and classify invertebrates and other living things following examination of their observable features.

Inquiry questions

  • What are some of the features of living things and how can we group and classify them?
  • What invertebrate groups are the most abundant in the gardens of the Field of Mars Reserve? 



Students will traverse the Field of Mars Reserve and explore the observable features of living things in their habitat. They will learn a number of ways to classify animals and plants. Students locate and classify plants and bush resources used by Darug Aboriginal Peoples for medicine, food, tools and shelter. 

Invertebrate investigation

Students will make predictions on the abundance of different invertebrate groups. They will test their predictions by using fieldwork methods and scientific equipment to collect a variety of invertebrates. Collected specimens will be examined using magnifiers and classified using a dichotomous key. Students will then refer back to their predictions and draw conclusions.

Phasmid features

Students will take part in a close-up encounter with a variety of leaf and stick insect species. Students will draw, label and identify the observable features of a phasmid used in their classification as an insect.

Syllabus outcomes and content

Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus (2017) 


A student:

  • compares features and characteristics of living and non-living things ST2-4LW-S 
  • questions, plans and conducts scientific investigations, collects and summarises data and communicates using scientific representations ST2-1WS-S 


Classification of living things


  • collect data and identify patterns to group living things according to their external features, and distinguish them from non-living things

  • identify that science involves making predictions and describing patterns and relationships

Working Scientifically

Planning and conducting investigations

  • Plan scientific investigations with guidance

  • conduct scientific investigations to find answers to questions

  • use appropriate materials and equipment safely

  • Collect and record accurate, honest observations using labelled observational drawings, basic formal measurements and digital technologies as appropriate

Processing and analysing data

  • use a range of methods to represent data, including tables and column graphs

  • compare results with predictions


Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings, using formal and informal representations 

Curriculum note - this excursion is aligned with the language, learning models and experiences of the Primary Connections Stage 2 unit Feathers, Fur or Leaves?

Science and Technology K-6 Syllabus © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017