Understanding weeds: investigation

Time Allocation: 30-40 minutes*

Activity Level: Moderate


Investigating weeds in your local area and reaching out to local experts like Landcarers and council staff can help to build identification skills and become a Weed Warrior champion. Because our precious environment is threatened by invasive garden plants and weeds that take over large areas of bushland and evict native species, being skilled in identification and management of weeds is important for the health of your local environment and biodiversity to reduce pressure on fragile ecosystems.

*Time allocation will be dependent on site selection and travel time.


  • First-aid kit, sunscreen, protective footwear, and allergy plans
  • Weather appropriate clothing and accessories: hat, sunglasses, insect repellent or raincoat
  • Printable activity sheet
  • Pencils
  • Clipboards (optional)
  • Field Guide or app for Weeds and other research materials, e.g. books, pamphlets, devices with internet access and those resources listed in the Reference List.
  • Instructions

    STEP 1

    Tuning in

    Reflect on what you learnt in the life cycle activity. Can you recall what we learnt? Today we are going to look more closely in our local area for weeds. 

    Once again, reach out to your local Landcare group or weed expert for some weed identification advice. What did you learn last time from your local weed expert?

    For this activity take your group where they will be able to see some weeds. 

    Often this can be easier to observe in unmown grassy patches or in garden areas where there has been less regular maintenance activity.

    STEP 2

    Where are the weeds?

    Begin the discussion by seating your group to look at the flowering plants around you. Explain that today we are going on an exploratory mission as Weed Warriors to find out more about local weeds.

    To be a Weed Warrior Champion and help look after our environment, you need to be observant, understand your environment and be a problem solver. 

    The group’s task is to understand what we already know about weeds and conduct an investigation so that we can be active and empowered Weed Warrior Champions. 

    Let’s collect some ideas first. Use the ‘Did you know facts’ to help build the discussion.

    • What are weeds? 
    • Why do you think weeds are a problem in the community? 
    • Where do weeds come from?
    • Can you name any weeds? 
    STEP 3


    Use your observation skills to look closely at your location, and investigate weeds in three different outdoor areas. The visual guides of common weeds will help you, along with any experts, field guides and online resources provided in the resource listing in this activity.

    When identifying a weed, use its main features as reference, these could be flower, colour, plant shape, leaf form, presence of seeds and their shape.

    Draw the most common weed you can see. 

    Use the activity sheet to include more information about weeds at each location. 

    In small groups think-pair-share’ what has been discovered to complete the results.

    STEP 4

    Processing and applying learning 

    Review the activity sheets and as a group discuss these questions:

    • What have you learnt and discovered about weeds in your location? 
    • How many different kinds of weeds did you find?
    • Is there anything that surprised you about your discoveries?
    • What actions might you take to reduce the impact of such weeds in your local area?

    Extension Activity

    Choose a weed from your investigation or local area and explore its impacts and how it can be managed locally. Use this information to create a ‘Wanted’ poster for your weed. Consider ways you can convince others to help find and control this weed. 

    Research local Indigenous land management practices in your area by reaching out to the Local Traditional owners and Aboriginal community groups who can assist in knowledge sharing and understanding local land. What practices would help with controlling weeds in your local area?