Year 5, Term 1: Biochemistry

Focus: Sustainability

Scope and sequence: Sustainability

Learning intention: Students explain how food and fibre are produced sustainably in managed environments for health and nutrition.

NSW Syllabus
Australian Curriculum (version 9.0)
"A student explains how food and fibre are produced sustainably in managed environments for health and nutrition." (ST3-5LW-T)

"Students learn to examine how particular structural features and behaviours of living things enable their survival in specific habitats." (AC9S5U01)

Week 1

Introduction to the topic

Biochemistry explores chemical processes related to living organisms. Biochemists study the chemical reactions, structure and composition of substances in living things including their functions and ways to control them.

This video (3:49) by Frank Gregorio provides a vivid introduction to biochemistry.

Week 2

Chemical reactions

The following video (7:56) presents six chemical reactions that changed history. They are all interesting but notice what is number one and how this is related to agriculture.

The science of losing weight

In this video (6:49), Ruben Meerman looks at the science of losing weight and answers the question, "Where does fat go?"

Week 3

The following video (5:17) featuring Walcha Central School shows Year 6 students designing their own greenhouse as part of their study on sustainable farming practices.


Week 4


In this experiment you can extract your own DNA. The following video (1:17) shows how to do this using common household chemicals.


Week 5


Diffusion is the movement of a substance from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. The word ‘diffusion’ derives from the Latin word, diffundere, which means 'to spread out'. The following video (1:53) is an experiment using warm water and Skittles.

Week 6

States of matter

SiliconProphet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Week 7

Revision of variables

A student wanted to look at plant growth in five different soil samples. She planted the same type of seeds in identical containers containing the different soil samples and left the containers together in full sunlight. She gave each plant the same amount of water and charted the growth of each plant stem. What is the independent variable in this experiment?

a. Seeds
b. Soil
c. Light
d. Container

Week 8

Capillary action

Capillary action is the process of a liquid flowing in a narrow space, often in opposition to gravity. This is an important process as it enables water and nutrients to reach the various parts of trees and plants. The following video (2:43) is a simple experiment which demonstrates capillary action using paper towel, water and food colouring. More information about this experiment can be found at


Week 9

Indigenous agricultural knowledge

This video (4:42) featuring Fran Bodkin and Bruce Pascoe shows how Indigenous people have been working with the land for thousands of years.

Discussion: Look at the four elements of scientific traditions listed below and their origins.  Should any of these items be favoured above another or are they all important and complementary?

United Nations

Explore the Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations (

Week 10

Moderated self-assessment


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