Explore the world by reading facts, looking at pictures and watching videos of countries.
Amelia Fitzgerald's insight:
Students can use the following website to do individual research about different countries around the world. This will provide students with a global perspective of geographical terminology as it looks at countries all over the world, and not simply the country we inhabit,Australia. Children will come to understand a countries geographical position in the world and some of its unique features.
The teacher can allocate a different country to each student and they are to become the expert in that country. The National Geographic website provides children with information that comes under the categories ‘facts and photos’, ‘video’ and ‘map’. After looking at all the facts, students are then required to record, in their HSIE writing books, a variety of information about the country including its:
- Capital City
Children can also choose and note five facts that they find interesting about their country. When students have completed their research, they can take turns to present their findings in small groups (approximately four children), and write down the information their groups members have stated. Students will end up with a brief geographical overview of several countries and have improved research skills and have also completed an informal presentation with their peers.
As an extension activity, students are given a simple map of the world and are to state where their country is located in relation to other countries using the cardinal directions e.g. Australia is SE to China.
Students learn to identify cardinal directions using their own classroom, other locations in and near school, and maps and globes. Then they discuss differences in temperature due to location.
Amelia Fitzgerald's insight:
This National Geographic website provides activity ideas to develop student understanding of common geographical terminology. The activities allow learners to become familiar with the cardinal directions, using a compass and can also increase comprehension of maps and understanding of how temperature differs according to location in the world.
To assess what was learnt in the lesson, and also reiterate the geographical terminology and concepts, students can complete a follow up task with a partner. One student is the ‘instructor’, and one is the ‘walker.’ It is the instructor’s job to record on a piece of paper a place or object in the room e.g. the pencil table. They must then instruct the walker to that location by using the cardinal directions e.g. walk north four steps, then west two small steps. Students will change roles half way through.
Educators can make in-class evaluations of learners through observing their engagement in the tasks and also assess their peer interaction and ability to work cooperatively and efficiently with a partner.
The NSW Model of Pedagogy (2003) has three different dimensions, all which are relevant to the lesson centred on the example resource. Intellectual quality is the first which refers to pedagogy focused on producing deep understanding of important, concepts, skills and ideas. This is applicable using the activities provided as it is essential for students to obtain knowledge about geographical ideas as learners need an understanding of terminology regarding the world they inhabit. The skills which have been learnt involve the compass and also direction. The second dimension is ‘quality learning environment’ and refers to pedagogy that creates classrooms where students and teachers work productively. The tasks based on the above resource are practical and engaging, which would encourage productivity and efficient learning, with teacher support. The third and last dimension is ‘significance’. It refers to pedagogy that helps make learning meaningful and important to students. The learning of geographical terminology is essential as students require knowledge about the world they occupy. This should make learning meaningful for students as they are increasing their comprehension about their own personal context however on a larger scale.
Department of Education and Training. (2003). Quality teaching
This lesson plan includes a printable world map with a map grid and shows you how to walk kids through a basic understanding of how map grids work.
Amelia Fitzgerald's insight:
The activities on this website are centred on maps and explore geographical terminology such as longitude, latitude, prime meridian, equator, tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn.
A craft activity, requiring students to stick coloured ribbon on the corresponding line on a map, can be used to assess understanding of geographical terms. To make this activity more appropriate for stage two, adjustments can be made. Instead of having children locate coordinates, have students simply colour all latitude lines a particular ribbon colour, and all longitude lines a particular ribbon colour. This will reaffirm that latitude lines are horizontal (LAT IS FLAT) and longitude lines are vertical. The Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn can be added by students who can approximate where 23.5 degrees latitude falls on the map.
This activity should preferably be used when students have sound knowledge of the geographical terms. The resource can be used to develop the understanding students have previously acquired, and will indicate if the concepts have been grasped or if more work is required on the subject.
This activity also incorporates creative arts KLAs. This is important when teaching, as connecting subjects will ensure all aspects of the syllabus are covered. The creative arts outcome which is related is in the visual arts strand. VAS2.1 Represents things that are interesting by choosing among aspects of subject matter. (2000)
Board of Studies NSW. (2000). Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus.Sydney: Board of Studies NSW.
Song about the differences between the North and South Poles. Pretty useful! Check CC for the lyrics.
Amelia Fitzgerald's insight:
The following video can be used to introduce the North and South Poles to students. The teacher can ask questions after the video has been viewed such as:
- What is another name for the North Pole?
- What is another name for the South Pole?
- What animals can be found in the North Pole?
- What animals can be found in the South Pole?
- What is colder the North of South Pole?
- Where does the wingless fly live?
With this basic background knowledge of the North and South Poles, students can do web-based research to better their understanding of the Arctic and Antarctic. The teacher can divide the class, half of the students get Arctic to research and the other half get Antarctic. Students are then required to use a Venn diagram to record information and characteristics about their given pole. Once students have their research, they will be partnered with a child with the opposite pole, and will take turns explaining what facts they discovered about their given pole and fill in the rest of their Venn diagram accordingly.
The following is a teaching resource which provides educators with a comprehension on Aboriginal Astronomy. This can be linked to geographical terminology as it explores the understanding Aboriginal people had of the cardinal directions and also tells of various stories associated with the sun, moon and sky e.g. the Emu in the Sky is a star constellation that aboriginal people used to determine when Emu’s were laying their eggs. Children can be taught that in a time before geographical terminology was defined, alternative methods were used by Aboriginal people to explain aspects of our physical world. Students can also learn that the cardinal directions are important for other reasons than simply understanding maps. Knowing that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west allows the approximate time of day to be realised.
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