Information for teachers

Welcome to the Protecting our Threatened Species Duffys Forest website. Duffys Forest Vegetation Community which is found exclusively around Sydney’s Northern Beaches, is listed as an Endangered Ecological Community and is protected under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.

Download the full teaching resource (pdf)

Download the Curriculum Matrix (pdf)

This website aims to raise awareness of, and provides some simple steps to help protect, the threatened species found in Warringah. The site educates students about the values of urban bushland and in particular about the endangered vegetation community of Duffys Forest. The site has been developed specifically for Stage 2 students (Years 3 and 4) and provides a unique learning opportunity for students to foster appreciation for our local environment, as well as develop skills that will help protect our bushland into the future.

The site allows you and your students to log-in, create an avatar of your favourite character, access the learning resources, and complete the associated activities to become a ‘Duffys Defender’. All the tools and information the students need to complete the activities are provided as they travel through the site. The resources include fact sheets, imagery and short videos.

To extend this learning theme away from the classroom, there’s also a range of additional activities that you can download, print-off and run in your own classroom or school ground. Alternatively, you can contact Warringah Council via the ‘Contact Us’ form and request a Warringah Council Education Officer to conduct a Duffys Forest safari at your school, in the classroom or in the school grounds. These safaris include in-class and outdoor activities and displays.

To begin, all you need to do is create an account as a teacher. You can do this by nominating your email address along with the name of your school, class and choose a username. When you are logged-in you will be able to view additional resources, including a matrix of your classes results.

Once you have created an account your students can join your class by selecting you as their teacher. They can do this using their own email address, or you can create an email account to be used by the whole class. If you choose to create an email address for use by the whole class every student will be able to use the same email address to create their account with a unique user name. All Welcome Emails and any Forgot Password requests will be sent to this email address.

Integrated Unit of Work

This site has 4 Key Learning Area (or subject area) components. The activities have been written to achieve outcomes from the NSW Science and Technology, Human Society and Its Environment (H.S.I.E), English and Mathematics Syllabuses. With the ever increasing demands on educators, the aim was to provide activities based on a variety of KLAs, to enable teachers to achieve multiple outcomes and teaching goals.


The activities on the site have been written with some differentiation in mind. Most of the activities start at a basic core level with some activities increasing in complexity. Students will be able to complete whole activities, end an activity when directed or end an activity when they find the work too challenging – to pass an activity users need to get 50% of the questions right, and are able to attempt activities as many times as they wish.


After students complete all of the activities on this site, they will have gained knowledge about the physical area and occupants of Duffy's Forest. The last interactive category Threats and Actions is where students will apply their knowledge from the previous three categories and have the opportunity to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the knowledge and concepts covered. The final two categories, A Closer Look at Your School and Planning for the Future, contain suggested activities which students can undertake to consolidate their learning. From this resource students should take away a deeper understanding of conservation, the need for action in the community and the individual’s responsibility for the environment.

Additional Activities to Support the Online Resource:

Below are a variety of activities that could be used to supplement this online resource. These would enable the unit to be expanded into a whole term’s work covering more of the Key Learning Areas and achieving more of the required outcomes. These activities could be used as whole class activities, as fast finishers for those students who work quickly or to extend or support students of differing ability levels.


Many units of work have pre-test components, this allows teachers to be able to gauge the progress of students and can also be used as a work sample to show parents where the students learning level started and where it has progressed to. Many of the activities listed below could also be completed again at the end of the unit to measure student progress.

1. Spelling – Students could be tested on a range of vocabulary at the beginning of the unit. Words could be collected from the Category Fact Sheets or, alternatively the list of words used in the spelling/English activities on the website could be used to create a test for students. As the unit proceeds a collection of commonly used spelling and vocabulary could be displayed around the classroom.

2. Brainstorm about content – Students can brainstorm all they know about Duffys Forest. A picture from one of the activities or the welcome page could be used to stimulate ideas and thoughts. If units have been written with a few focus questions in mind, these questions could be presented to the students individually or in groups and students can record their initial impressions. These initial brainstorm ideas could be displayed around the classroom and students could add to them as they gain more understanding.

3. The main idea of our unit – Students could design a sign or plaque for the Duffys Forest area (eg like you see in front of bush land sites). The students coul write a few lines under the Duffy's Forest name describing the main attraction or focus of the area. This idea could be extended and students could write an initial article about the area and draw an illustration.

4. Queries and questions - After these activities have been completed students will have many questions. They can discuss amongst themselves and as class; a list of questions could then be compiled and displayed. Areas of interest or areas in need of research could also be recorded. Information and knowledge gained throughout the topic could be added to these displays.


Reflection can be a powerful tool for students. Students can record their thoughts and feelings about the topics and concepts presented in a journal or writing book. The more artistic students could represent their growing understanding as a tree with additional leaves being added. Students could design their own rating system, somehow related to the environmental focus e.g. 5 leaves for excellent understanding, 1 leaf – I need some revision.



There are many additional spelling activities that could be produced to help supplement the activities presented on this website.

1-Students could design their own search-a-words, cross-words or make up their own dictation sentences to test each other.

2-To extend the more proficient spellers, students could be given paragraphs with spelling errors, which they need to correct. They could also be asked to write sentences with their new vocabulary demonstrating their understanding of new words.


There are many text types that could be explored.

1-Narratives – students could write a story using one of the endangered species as a main character.

2-Recount – students could recount a time when they have visited a similar environment or forest. Alternatively for the more able students, they could write a 'day in the life' of one of the endangered species.

3- Information Report – Students could research some of the flora and fauna found in Duffys Forest or other native animals. This could be done in pairs or as individuals, this could then be written up in the form of an Information Report.

4-Exposition – The class could create some arguments based on their knowledge of Duffys Forest e.g. no one should be allowed to go into the forest area so that no more animals will become extinct. The discussions could then be the basis of some exposition writing or even a debate.

5. Poetry – Students can write a variety of poetry about the environment or species from Duffys Forest. Students could write ‘free’ poems developing their own style or could do more structured poems such as Haikus, cinquains, limericks etc

Reading and Comprehension - Additional information could be found and comprehension tasks formulated. Running records could be kept of the children reading some of the information form the Fact sheets.

Talking and Listening –

1- Students could present any one of the above writing tasks or additional research projects to the class in a more formal manner.

2- Students could find articles in newspapers or online sources about similar topics and present these to the class with their own opinions.


While the four operations have been explored in the website other strands which could be examined are:

1-Data – students can observe the numbers of certain species in their local area. This information can then be recorded in the form of a tally and then represented as various graphs such as line graphs, column or bar graphs or pictograms.

2-Measurement - Area and perimeter students can measure some of the areas within their local bush land. They can measure the perimeter and area either using informal units of cm/m depending on their level of understanding.

3. Space and Geometry – Position. Students can examine a map of the Duffy's Forest area, they could use coordinates to describe certain areas and use a compass rose to locate specific destinations. More capable students could use a scale to determine the distances between areas or locations.

Science and Technology

1- Students could examine plants more carefully and in detail and explore the necessary components for successful plant growth.

2- Students could perform experiments on plants determining what the best conditions for optimal growth are. 3- Students could also explore the idea of animal classifications more closely.

4- Finally Students could be asked to create a diorama or model of one small ecosystem or natural system eg photosynthesis, water cycle that is present in the Duffy's Forest area.

Human society and Its environment (H.S.I.E)

1- Students could research another environment and compare and contrast certain aspects with Duffy’s Forest eg number of endangered species and the reasons for their endangerment.

2 -Students could examine some of the local council laws about the area and examine the process of law making and how a council is run.

Post testing- Culminating activities

Some of these may be repeated from above but would be marked with a different focus in mind.

1. Spelling – Teachers could retest the words they used in the pretest. Additional activities, for example asking students to choose synonyms, to proof read and to use new vocabulary in sentences would demonstrate the students ability to apply their spelling knowledge.

2. Article - Students are asked to write an article, including a headline, 3-4 paragraphs about Duffys Forest- the endangered species, environmental sustainability and action that individuals can take. Students should include some images either printed from internet, own photos, or drawings.

3. A day in the life – Students are to write a recount of day in the life of one of the endangered species, documenting what danger they are in, how it is occurred and what they would like to happen. This would be a suitable extension task.

4. The main idea of our unit (the idea of summarizing and implicitly teaching the deeper understand of the unit eg environmental sustainability, protection of endangered species) - Repeat of first pre-test activity- to see progress. We could have a sign for Duffys Forest with space underneath the sign (eg like you see in front of bush land sites) and students have to write one or two lines about the area and focus of the unit – this should then be compared to their initial thoughts about the topic.