Desert Dwellers
Task 1: Introduction and warm up

Teachers, here is some information you may like to share with your students before watching the episode:

  • This episode explores the desert and three animals who call it home: Perentie Goanna, the Red Kangaroo and the Emu.
  • This episode was filmed on the sands near Munga Thirri (The SImpson Desert).
  • Deserts have temperatures which are scorching hot, this makes the danger of dehydration higher than other ecosystems.

Consider creating a list of unique vocabulary found in Built To Survive. These words can be added to the class spelling list or can be formed into a class glossary for definitions. 

As a warmup activity, ask students to look at an image of the three tails of the animals featured in the ‘Desert Dwellers’ episode. On a shared white board or page, invite students to write something that comes to mind in relation to the tails. You may like to revisit these ideas at the end of the episode and add more knowledge.  

Remind students that they should not disturb or try to handle wild animals as they can be dangerous. 

Task 2: Watch and document

As a class, watch 'Desert Dwellers' - epiosde 2 of Built to Survive. While watching, take notes on key facts Phil and the experts share on each of the three animals in the episode. 

 At the end of the episode, choose which animal you think is the one that is without a doubt ‘built to survive’. Form small groups with other students who have selected the same animal. This will be your documentary production team for the next task. 

Task 3: Reflect and collaborate

In your documentary production team, reflect on the episode and the facts your learnt about the animal you believe is the strongest in the desert environment - the animal that is ‘built to survive’. 

Download or print the animal facts sheets to support your research.

Document a range of facts you would like to share back in your documentary segment. 

Remember to document how the animal and the ecosystem work together to survive and thrive.

Download the planning sheet below to support your planning:

Task 4: Present and share

To prepare for the filmed presentation of your Built to Survive segment, download the below green screen backgrounds and cutaway footage. Then, follow the tips and tricks in the Documentary Filmmaking section of this resource to film and edit your segment.

In this file you will find:

  • 3 x downloadable greenscreen backgrounds
    • Perentie Goanna background
    • Red Kangaroo background
    • Emu background
  • 3 x downloadable cutaways folders with two cutaway clips for each animal
    • Perentie Goanna cutaways x 2
    • Red Kangaroo cutaways x 2 
    • Emu cutaways x 2

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