HSIE Early Stage 1: ENVIRONMENT- features and places in the immediate environment
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HSIE Early Stage 1: ENVIRONMENT- features and places in the immediate environment
A selection of 5 digital sources useful for teaching kindergarten on the features and places in immediate environments.
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Maps: Tools for Adventure - Adventure Island

Explore maps and map symbols while helping a tour bus driver navigate Adventure Island.
Evette Christofides's insight:

This interactive map is a great way to introduce early stage 1 students to geographical tools. The concepts of scale, symbols and keys, are appropriately introduced and begin to explain how to represent different environmental features, both natural and built. Students engage in several prompted activities to first grasp an understanding of these concepts. They then play a stimulating game where they need to click on different locations as fast as possible on a simple map of Adventure island. The activity in its entirety provides a basis to understanding what maps are, what they represent ( i.e a specific environment) and how they should be read.  

 

From a HSIE teaching perspective, this is an excellent and stimiulating activity that could be used before and after students are taken on a walk around the school's local and immediate environment. By completing this activity first, students are exposed to the visual and spatial representations of environments, and teachers can ensure that their students are prepared, and "...more aware of, more observant in, and more responsive to their surroundings" (HSIE syllabus, p. 47) while completing the walk. Students may see features or places while on the walk that are similar to features identified on the Adventure Island map, allowing them to engage in  a meaningful and "direct experience with their immediate environement" (HSIE syllabus, p. 47) that they often would not have given thought to before. Afterwards, teachers can facilitate class discussions about what was seen while on the walk, and a mutually agreed upon list of the most significant features in their local environment could be identified, such as streets, parks, shops, signs etc. Students could then be expected to create appropriate symbols to label these features and places using a variety of colours and shapes to convey meaning. Additionally, the teacher could then work with the class to create their own version of a simplified local area map, using the Adventure island activity as a reference.

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Aboriginal activities with Kindergarten children

Aboriginal activities with  Kindergarten children | HSIE Early Stage 1: ENVIRONMENT- features and places in the immediate environment | Scoop.it
Evette Christofides's insight:

This particular blog provides a great collection of activities to use when incorporating the Aboriginal perspective in Kindergarten classrooms. A lot inspiration for engaging and meaningful teaching is visible in activity 4 - Our very own cave! This activity refers to creating a space within the classroom that not only resembles an aboriginal cave, but also acts as a sacred site for creative thinking, story sharing and discussion. It is also a fantastic opportunity to further explore the ENES1 outcome.


The aim is to create a pseudo-environment that should be different to the immediate classroom space that is usually occupied. While gathering materials, teachers should encourage their class to start to think about how humans are connected to the land through their senses. They need to be mindful of the features that they see (e.g. colours of materials, shapes, art, patterns and symbols), features they touch (e.g. textures of surfaces chosen) and possibly environmental features that they can hear (e.g. teachers may use mp3 audio files of nature or certain animal noises). Smell and taste can be dealt with on special occasions if necessary.

Once the cave is set up, the classroom should act as an Aboriginal tribe would. They need to consider:

-          giving the environment or place a spiritual name

-          assigning someone in the class as the tribe’s elder 

-          establishing land rules

-          creating a combined dreamtime story for their sacred place.

-          choreographing their own aboriginal style of dance to welcome  visitors onto their land.


Essentially the cave lesson idea provides students with the opportunity to not only be exposed to Australian aboriginal culture, but it also allows them to reinforce their understanding of environments, attaches another element or feature to their own immediate environment and introduces a discourse about truly caring for environments.


Suggestion: by doing this activity after a ‘My Place’ unit of work has been completed; students can select features of the environment that serve a particular purpose to indigenous communities and incorporate them into the design.

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Google Earth

Google Earth | HSIE Early Stage 1: ENVIRONMENT- features and places in the immediate environment | Scoop.it
Google Earth lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. You can explore rich geographical content, save your toured places, and share with others.
Evette Christofides's insight:

Google Earth is a fantastic tool that can be used in a variety of ways to communicate the ideas of environment to students. For Early stage 1, Google Earth can act as a foundation to helping children understand environment as a place or space. The aim is to give students the opportunity to “locate and represent themselves and others within environments” (HSIE syllabus, 2007, p. 11).


Considering the stage, it is important to associate the idea of environment with the idea of self. Teachers can begin on the small scale by searching the individual school. Once students become familiar with their school environment and can identify features familiar to them within that environment, the teacher can begin to expand on the concept. Questions can be asked to the students about where the school is located in relation to other nearby known features or places to build up knowledge on the subject matter. Google Earth offers an advantage, as it is a exploration of geography and the journey to any new location searched is depicted virtually, therefore direction and distance from the original location is always represented. This aspect is extremely beneficial when introducing environments and explaining how they belong within the wider world.


A case study example: Picnic Point Public School.

For a kindergarten class at this school, the teacher would use Goggle Earth to firstly search the school grounds, including location of playgrounds and buildings. This site can be marked, saved and tracked using a yellow pin or Placemark (found in toolbar). The teacher may then expand the image to include the immediate and surrounding environment and point out local features, streets, parks, houses, shops and also any other significant places such as the Georges River National Park. Slowly the students will develop an understanding of where they currently are in relation to these other known places. To expand further, the teacher could show Picnic Point’s location (tracked with the Placemark) in relation to a larger suburb such as Hurstville. Depending on prior knowledge, further explorations could be made: Picnic Point > Sydney, Sydney > New South Wales, Picnic Point > Australia. 

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BBC - Schools - Barnaby Bear

The Barnaby Bear site contains lots of fun geography activities for 5-7 year olds. It follows Barnaby's adventures at home and abroad.
Evette Christofides's insight:

The Barnaby Bear website is a delightful resource to use, specifically designed for children aged 5-7 and therefore appropriate to be used for early stage 1 in Australian schools. The website uses the central character of Barnaby Bear to make learning about places, the environment and global citizenship a very interactive and enjoyable experience. There are particular sections of the website that include a global perspective that can be implemented within the HSIE lessons. It is important for children in early stage 1 to not only identify their own immediate environments but also “listen to others’ experiences of place through observations, recounts and descriptions” (HSIE syllabus, p. 46). Teachers need to introduce a discourse around finding comparisons and similarities between different environments, the places within these environments and the interactions people have with them including cultural and social customs.


The ‘Stories’ section of this website explores these concepts quite well and presents two stories about trips that Barnaby Bear takes from the United Kingdom to Australia and Paris.  The stories focus on the features in the environment, differing natural landscapes, geographical tools such as maps, distance and direction, famous places of interest and cultural features such as the people, entertainment and food.

 

Teachers could get their classes to watch both interactive stories and ask students to think about the differences between the places Barnaby visited.  A numeracy strategy can be included here, where the students can record the number of ‘differences’ and then split them into two categories: Environment and Culture. The students can then choose one environmental and one cultural difference between Australia and Paris and create Tourism posters.  The BIAS teaching strategy from The Global Education website (http://www.globaleducation.edu.au/teaching-and-learning/teaching-strategies.html) could be incorporated to encourage students to think about differences in very positive ways, and refrain from the idea that ‘different is bad’. The posters should be designed from the other point of view e.g. students may think of ways to experience eating frog legs in an exciting way, or they may consider Parisian students when they write about Uluru- since they don’t have any natural famous landmarks in Paris.

Participation in this activity will allow students to identify what features and places make up environments, establish an understanding of the global environment and support the idea that different cultural values and customs require different environments.

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My Place Website

Evette Christofides's insight:

The My Place website is dedicated to the My Place TV series which is a collection of individual stories, each told from the perspective of children,  about the people and the environments in the same place but decades apart.  


The website could be used as a teaching tool either independently, or to support the My Place picture book (written by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins) or any My Place episodes. The website is organised around a timeline, marked in decades between 2008 and the ‘before time’ (before 1788). For HSIE purposes, the most beneficial element of the website is the exploration of the sleeping and living spaces for each time/episode. This activity would be extremely engaging for children in early stage 1 as they can select a decade and view an image from the outside and inside of a house. Once a new decade is selected, the previous features of that environment are shifted away and the new features are then placed. The aim to get students thinking about why these changes have been made, such as lifestyle and cutlure, and what purpose the 'new' environment serves.Teachers can involve their students in a semi- structured discussion and prompt their thoughts with questions.

-What can you see?

-What has changed?

- What do you think this place is?

Once students are able to identify the environment and the features within it, the focus should move to purpose and human interaction.

- Why is that there?

- Why would they use that?

- Why would that be needed?

Expanding on these theoretical ideas, teachers can ask students to look around their classroom and list all the important features in that environment and their purpose. Using this information, teachers could once again use the My Place website as a reference to changing places and ask half the class to think about what a classroom may have looked like 10 years ago, and the other half to imagine a classroom in 10 years time. After group discussions, students can work together to create large communal artworks representing either past or future classrooms. 

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