Grade 6

Science Curriculum

Year 6 Level Description

The science inquiry skills and science as a human endeavour strands are described across a two-year band. In their planning, schools and teachers refer to the expectations outlined in the achievement standard and also to the content of the science understanding strand for the relevant year level to ensure that these two strands are addressed over the two-year period. The three strands of the curriculum are interrelated and their content is taught in an integrated way. The order and detail in which the content descriptions are organised into teaching and learning programs are decisions to be made by the teacher.

Incorporating the key ideas of science

Over Years 3 to 6, students develop their understanding of a range of systems operating at different time and geographic scales.

In Year 6, students explore how changes can be classified in different ways. They learn about transfer and transformations of electricity, and continue to develop an understanding of energy flows through systems. They link their experiences of electric circuits as a system at one scale to generation of electricity from a variety of sources at another scale and begin to see links between these systems. They develop a view of Earth as a dynamic system, in which changes in one aspect of the system impact on other aspects; similarly, they see that the growth and survival of living things are dependent on matter and energy flows within a larger system. Students begin to see the role of variables in measuring changes and the value of accuracy in these measurements. They learn how to look for patterns and to use these to identify and explain relationships by drawing on evidence


The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)

  • investigating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ knowledge and understanding of the physical conditions necessary for the survival of certain plants and animals in the environment
  • investigating how changing the physical conditions for plants impacts their growth and survival such as saltwater, use of fertilizers, and soil types
  • observing the growth of fungi such as yeast and bread mold in different conditions
  • researching organisms that live in extreme environments such as Antarctica or a desert
  • considering the effects of physical conditions causing migration and hibernation

Changes to materials can be reversible or irreversible (ACSSU095)

  • investigating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ knowledge of reversible processes, such as the application of adhesives, and of irreversible processes, such as the use of fuels for torches
  • describing what happens when materials are mixed
  • investigating the solubility of common materials in water
  • investigating the change in the state caused by heating and cooling of a familiar substance
  • investigating irreversible changes such as rusting, burning, and cooking
  • exploring how reversible changes can be used to recycle materials
  • investigate reversible changes such as melting, freezing, and evaporating

Sudden geological changes and extreme weather events can affect Earth’s surface (ACSSU096)

  • researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ cultural stories that provide evidence of geological events 
  • investigating major geological events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis in Australia, the Asia region, and throughout the world
  • recognizing that earthquakes can cause tsunamis
  • describing how people measure significant geological events
  • exploring ways that scientific understanding can assist in natural disaster management to minimize both long- and short-term effects
  • considering the effect of drought on living and non-living aspects of the environment

Electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits and can be generated from a range of sources (ACSSU097)

  • recognizing the need for a complete circuit to allow the flow of electricity
  • investigating different electrical conductors and insulators
  • exploring the features of electrical devices such as switches and light globes
  • investigating how moving air and water can turn turbines to generate electricity
  • investigating the use of solar panels
  • considering whether an energy source is sustainable


Science involves testing predictions by gathering data and using evidence to develop explanations of events and phenomena and reflects historical and cultural contributions (ACSHE098)

  • investigating how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples test predictions and gather data in the development of technologies and processes
  • learning how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ knowledge, such as the medicinal and nutritional properties of Australian plants, is being used as part of the evidence base for scientific advances
  • investigating how knowledge about the effects of using the Earth’s resources has changed over time
  • describing how an understanding of the causes and effects of major natural events has changed as new evidence has become available
  • investigating the use of electricity, including predicting the effects of changes to electric circuits
  • considering how gathering evidence helps scientists to predict the effect of major geological or climatic events
  • investigating how people from different cultures have used sustainable sources of energy, for example water and solar power
  • exploring institutions and locations where contemporary Australian scientists conduct research on catastrophic natural events
  • investigating the development of earthquake measurements from the Chinese invention of the seismograph in the second century

Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE100)

  • discussing how modern approaches to fire ecology in Australia are being informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ traditional ecological knowledge and fire management practices
  • considering how personal and community choices influence our use of sustainable sources of energy
  • investigating how an understanding of catastrophic natural events helps in planning for their early detection and minimizing their impact
  • recognizing that science can inform choices about where people live and how they manage natural disasters
  • considering how guidelines help to ensure the safe use of electrical devices
  • discussing the use of electricity and the conservation of sources of energy
  • researching the scientific work involved in global disaster alerts and communication, such as cyclone, earthquake, and tsunami alerts
  • investigating how electrical energy is generated in Australia and around the world
  • researching the use of methane generators in Indonesia
  • considering how electricity and electrical appliances have changed the way some people live