Looking Closely at Soil Organisms

Looking Closely at Soil Organisms

Lesson 2 of 5 in this unit

  • Primary
  • Year 3
  • Science
  • ...

Lesson summary

Students take a close look at soil organisms. They explore the role of decomposers in a soil ecosystem and create posters about different soil organisms to share with the class.

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • understand that the soil contains an enormous number of living things
  • recognise that many of the organisms that live in the soil are decomposers
  • recognise the role of decomposers in an ecosystem.

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • create a poster that describes some of the organisms that live in the soil
  • explain how decomposers contribute to healthy soils.

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Teacher Content Info
Scientific Drawing Guidelines
Soil Organisms Image
Spoonful of Soil Image

Lesson details


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • curiosity
  • critical thinking
  • creativity
  • communication

Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Australian Curriculum (v9.0) content descriptions - Year 3 Science

Students learn to:

  • compare characteristics of living and non-living things and examine the differences between the life cycles of plants and animals (AC9S3U01)
  • compare the observable properties of soils, rocks and minerals and investigate why they are important Earth resources (AC9S3U02)
  • write and create texts to communicate findings and ideas for identified purposes and audiences, using scientific vocabulary and digital tools as appropriate (AC9S3I06)

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 3 Science achievement standards:  

Students classify and compare living and non-living things and different life cycles. They describe the observable properties of soils, rocks and minerals and describe their importance as resources. They communicate ideas and findings for an identified purpose, including using scientific vocabulary when appropriate.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDG 2: Zero hunger

Target 2.4: By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality.

UN SDG 15: Life on land

Target 15.3: By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world.

Resources Required

Additional Info

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium - oversee discussions, lead students' analysis of soil organisms and support students in making posters.

Special thanks to:

This lesson has been developed with the support of the Macdoch Foundation.

Cool's curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

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