About this resource

This learning resource supports students and teachers in Years 3 to 6 to explore the documentary television series Built to Survive in the classroom and beyond.

Built to Survive follows third generation Indigenous educator Phil Breslin, on a mission to reveal the Australian animals that adapt and survive in our diverse Australian environments. Each episode of the series explores a different Australian habitat. Read more about the series in the About Built to Survive section.

Getting started

The Built to Survive  learning resource includes five lessons that explore different habitats and the animals that survive within them. Each lesson involves watching and responding to one episode of Built to Survive. These lessons include:

Episode 1: Wet and Wild Rainforests

In the heat of the rainforest, Phil reveals the survival adaptations of the elusive tree kangaroo, the colourful cassowary and the lethal scrub python.

Episode 2: Desert Dwellers

In the endless heat, Phil encounters Australia’s largest lizard - the perentie, our fastest flightless bird - the emu, and the bounding red kangaroo.

Episode 3: Wild Wild Wetlands

Phil ventures into Australia’s notorious swamp country for an encounter with a barramundi, a freshwater crocodile and a saltwater crocodile.

Episode 6: Big Blue Ocean

Explore the big blue ocean with Phil to learn more about tiger sharks, the graceful manta ray and a giant of the deep, the humpback whale.

Episode 7: Island Castaways

Join Phil in exploring isolated islands to learn more about green sea turtles, a pack of dingoes and the terrifying death adder.

The episodes explored in these lessons are all rated G. Classes can complete a single lesson or the whole unit to represent diverse ecosystems within Australia.

To complete each lesson students become documentary hosts, drawing on their research and following the format of Built to Survive. The resource also includes a module called Documentary Filmmaking which provides a step by step process to:

  • Research and plan a script to host their own segment of Built to Survive.
  • Use a greenscreen and digital ‘environment backdrop’ to transport students to the locations from Built to Survive.
  • Present and record their own video segment sharing facts and observations based on their research and planning.
  • Download and edit cutaway footage into their segment and then bring it all together into a mini episode created by the whole class.

Curriculum links

Science Media Arts


Critical and creative thinking

Year 3

AC9S3U01; AC9S3I06


Level 3 (Years 3-4)

Year 4

AC9S4U01; AC9S4I06


Level 3 (Years 3-4)

Year 5

ACSSU043; AC9S5I06


Level 4 (Years 5-6)

Year 6

ACSSU094; AC9S6I06


Level 4 (Years 5-6)


The education licence and series of Built to Survive can be purchased by Australian education institutions from the ACTF shop here.


The ACTF would like to better understand how teachers are using our resources in the classroom. We welcome feedback from teachers who have delivered and adapted our resources. Please reach out to education@actf.com.au with questions, comments and suggestions.

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