This module, comprising of six lessons, or half a term’s work, will focus on Australia
Australia is fascinating country to study geographically, and is an excellent choice of non-European country to focus upon at either KS1 or KS2. By following the course of this module, teachers will cover the key areas of learning and objectives of the new geography curriculum. This module is easily adapted to suit KS1 or KS2 pupils, and many lessons include differentiated options so the subject knowledge and geographical skills match the ability or age range of the pupils.
In this introductory lesson, pupils discover where Australia is located in relation to other countries and continents. They learn it is unusually both a country and continent, and is located in the Southern Hemisphere. Pupils learn that like the UK, it is an island as opposed to landlocked country, and is surrounded by the Pacific and Indian Oceans. In the main activity, pupils compare the size of Australia with other countries and continents, and interpret a bar chart of continents’ land area, which they then transfer to a world map.
In this lesson, pupils explore the physical geography of Australia. They learn that Australia has a remarkably varied or ‘diverse’ landscape and learn the four key landform regions of Australia: Coastal Plains, Eastern Highlands, Central Lowlands and Western Plateau. In the main activity, pupils use a range of maps that show the location of physical characteristics (highland areas, high rainfall areas, and bodies of water) and answer a series of questions by overlaying these maps on one another using overhead projector paper or tracing paper. Pupils discover the interesting ways in which these physical characteristics relate to one another.
In this lesson pupils learn that Australia’s size means that different areas of the country experience varied weather and climate conditions. They learn that there are three climate zones: arid, temperate, and tropical. Pupils discover that latitude and proximity to the Equator can affect the climate of an area, as well as the height of the land and proximity to the coast. The main activity involves creating a factual report on a type of extreme weather in Australia; bushfires, cyclones or drought.
Lesson four explores the human geography of Australia, focusing upon the people and the population distribution of the country using population density maps. Pupils learn that Australia is home to both indigenous and non-indigenous populations and learn that it is a multi-cultural population, with residents from different locations all around the world who have relocated through the process of migration to settle in Australia. The main activity involves creating a map and key showing the population distribution. Pupils conclude that the areas of most dense population (urban areas) are in coastal regions and explore the reasons behind this.
Lesson five teaches pupils about the urban areas of Australia. They learn the country has man-made political boundaries that split the country into states and territories. They learn the capital city of each state, and also that there is a national capital of the country as a whole (Canberra). The main activity involves peer-teaching; pupils become experts on the geography of their allocated city using information provided and through independent research before creating an information poster to share with the class.
Pupils consider the similarities and differences between places at a range of scales. They first compare aspects of daily life in the UK and Australia, then compare two locations in Australia (one rural and one urban). In this lesson, they have the wonderful opportunity to watch video recorded interviews of real Australian children, who answer questions related to the geography of their local area. The module concludes with an end of unit assessment, and optional activity of enjoying some typical Australian foods!
Dr Andrew LeeDr Andrew Lee is Head of Geography at Sussex House School in London. He has been Head of Geography at Westminster Under School and Dulwich College Shanghai, and on the Geography Staff at Colet Court and the Dragon School. His doctoral research at the University of Oxford involved looking at the way that young people create a sense of space in urban contexts. His undergraduate training in Geography was at the University of Sydney where he worked in the field of the urban cultural geography of Australia. He is Editor of thinkingeography.com and of SATIPS Geography. He is also an Apple Distinguished Educator and runs CPD for teachers for the Society.
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