Where Do I Fit? HSIE resources for Stage One teachers and students
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Where Do I Fit? HSIE resources for Stage One teachers and students
Helpful ways to teach Stage One students about the globe as a representation of Earth. These resources form part of a potential sequence of lessons around this topic, and thus are numbered in lesson order.
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Exploring Maps and Models

Exploring Maps and Models | Where Do I Fit? HSIE resources for Stage One teachers and students | Scoop.it
Students compare miniatures to real items. Then they explore maps and globes as miniature versions of places and the Earth.
Lucy Baird's insight:

1. This site provides students with a basic introduction to maps and common map conventions and terminology, such as map symbols, scale, and landmarks. Of particular interest is the introduction of the notion of models and miniatures, and how maps are simply miniaturised representations of real places. This then flows seamlessly into an introduction of the concept of the globe as a representation of the Earth.

 

As an introductory resource into the topic of mapping and geography, the use of this website should be preceded by some preparatory discussion to ascertain what students already understand about the content. Further, discussion of when and why we use maps, and how maps work will give students a firm grounding in the field. In addition to this resource, it is vital that teachers demonstrate how the scale of maps can change. To do this, the use of a map of Australia, a World map, and a globe will effectively show how maps can expand and contract, and re-affirm the fact that the globe is simply an alternative representation of the Earth, and other 'flat' maps.

 

When teaching this foundational information surrounding mapping and geography, it might be useful to have students draw maps of their classrooms or homes in order to put this new information into practice, and to actually 'use' ad hoc scale and map symbols themselves, particularly on such a personally relevant level.

 

When teaching students mapping and geography, it is vital that teachers reflect on their own understanding and use of maps. As part of this reflective process, it is key to recognise the socially constructed nature of maps, and the socio-political role that maps can play in national and international power exchanges (See Kleeman and Hutchinson, 2005). Whilst this is not necessarily information that need be transmitted to students in their first formal encounters with maps, it is possible to begin to draw out these ideas in small, simple ways. With the current resource, this can be done by identifying the different maps that students may have drawn of the same classroom, or the different symbols chosen to represent features/landmarks. By doing this, teachers are beginning to explore the notions of subjectivity and social construction, in informal, understandable, relevant terms.


Kleeman, G., & Huchinson, N. (2005). Maps in Classrooms. The Globe, 57, 1-12.

 

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Aboriginal Art Online - Contemporary Art and Traditional Symbols

Aboriginal Art Online - Contemporary Art and Traditional Symbols | Where Do I Fit? HSIE resources for Stage One teachers and students | Scoop.it
Australian Aboriginal art traditionally used a set of symbols (iconography) that was common across wide regions of central Australia. Contemporary paintings from central Australia make extensive use of these traditional symbols.
Lucy Baird's insight:

3. Teaching and learning geography in Australia is not possible without an understanding and respect for the Indigenous Australian connection to the land. The importance of teaching this aspect of Australian geography is enshrined in the NSW HSIE K-6 Syllabus. For Stage One teachers focusing on the Environment strand (as this Scoop It site is), the syllabus foundation statements suggest that students need to “investigate the relationship between people and environments including the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the land” (Board of Studies, 2007, p. 16). Further, students need to be able to “construct and use pictorial maps and models of familiar areas” (Board of Studies, 2007, p. 16). As is the intention of the syllabus more broadly, these two skills are closely interlinked, and can inform understandings of one another.

 

This website provides teachers and students with a visual dictionary of Indigenous symbols found in Papunya Central Desert art. These symbols include a “sitting down place”, “footprints” and a “water hole”, and clear links can be drawn between these symbols, and the previous map symbols of the Adventure Island game. By introducing students to a field that is both familiar and different, teachers can encourage students to work within their zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978), thus advancing their understanding of their environment in a variety of convergent ways.

 

When introducing these symbols to students, it is import to ground this in a discussion of where and who these symbols come from. For this discussion to take place, students need to understand that Indigenous Australians are not one, cohesive group, but a collection of Aboriginal nations, each with their own distinct languages, customs, artworks, etc. (it might be useful here, to show students an Aboriginal languages map, to further demonstrate the point).

 

The National Museum of Australia's website provides easily accessible information about the Papunya people, a map of Papunya, and examples of the original artworks where these symbols are drawn from (http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/papunya_painting/home). Whilst the National Museum of Australia's website is an incredibly valuable resource for teachers, and provides vital background knowledge for this website, it is not as suitable for Stage One students. Used in combination however, there is the potential to create a powerful lesson for students.

 

After introducing the image, and discussing its context, a discussion could be initiated around the familiarity of these symbols, and why and how they have been used. Following this, students could engage with these symbols in a more practical, grounded manner. The following is a proposed set of activities to consolidate students' understanding of mapping, mapping conventions, and some of the ways in which Indigenous people have undertaken mapping.

 

A. The class could discuss how these symbols could be applied to everyday items/places, particularly in the context of the school. Perhaps footprints could represent a footpath, or the watering hole could represent the bubblers.

 

B. Students could then draw a map of the school (paying attention to scale and proportion), and mark features/landmarks with these symbols, including a key to let others know what is shown on the map.

 

C. Finally, students could take part in a 'treasure hunt'. They could be given copies of a teacher-drawn map of the school, clearly marked with Papunya symbols, and a key to decipher what these symbols represent. With arrows or footprints between each point, students (probabaly in pairs or small groups) would start at a common place, following these directions around the school, collecting a token or sticker at each point. This would ensure students are actually using the maps 'point-to-point', not simply to go directly to the end point. Once collecting all the stickers/tokens, and finding their way to where 'X' (or something else!) marks the spot, students might win a compass, or some other small prize.

 

A series of activities such as this allows students to flex their geographical muscles in a fun, interactive way. In addition, students are learning ways in which mapping skills can be transferred to the everyday, hopefully sparking interest and engagement.

 

 

Board of Studies NSW. (2007). Human Society and Its Environment K-6 Syllabus. Sydney, Australia: Board of Studies NSW.

 

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, UK: Harvard University Press.

 

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"My Place in the World:" Kids Geography Project

"My Place in the World:" Kids Geography Project | Where Do I Fit? HSIE resources for Stage One teachers and students | Scoop.it
This simple project with help teach kids geography and increase their global awareness as they begin to grasp their city, state, country, and continent.
Lucy Baird's insight:

5. As a series of lessons, the previous resources introduce students to a wide range of potentially challenging topics and terminology. The current website provides a lesson idea that teachers can use towards the end of the unit to consolidate this newly learnt knowledge. Whilst the task may seem rather simple, it requires students to draw upon various key HSIE skills such as their place in the world, the relationship between their school, neighbourhood, country etc., and how the globe is a representation of the Earth (among others). This task involves students cutting out coloured circles of increasing size, and drawing and labelling a particular ‘scale’ of map on each appropriately sized circle (e.g.: the student might draw themselves, or the classroom on the smallest circle, then draw their school on the next size etc.). As such it draws on and extends students’ skills not only in HSIE, but also visual art, English and mathematics (scale and proportion etc.).

 

One major benefit of this task is the freedom it allows students in the level of detail included (some students may only use three circles, while some may use more than seven or eight), thus catering for different learning needs. Further, as a visual, hand-on task, students are given another, varied opportunity to employ and demonstrate these new skills, so students with various learning styles can be catered for.

 

As has been a consistent focus throughout these resources, this task reinforces the notion of deep-learning. Too often teaching is treated as a commodity, where schools are “prepared to distort their curriculum” (Holt, 2002) in order to meet state and national standards and outcomes. When these goals become the sole focus of teaching in schools, the student’s learning is dramatically effected (Holt, 2002). By taking the time to thoroughly explore topics, grounding students in the content and examining concepts from multiple perspectives, life-long, deep learning can occur. It is here that the need for a “slow school movement” (Holt, 2002) is apparent. When such an approach is taken, students are far more likely to leave primary school with a ‘utility belt’ of skills, including “acquiring information, using an inquiry process and social and civic participation” (Board of Studies, 2007, p. 8) that are able to be transferred to a variety of disciplines, and will allow for successful and rewarding life-long learning.

 

Board of Studies NSW. (2007). Human Society and Its Environment K-6 Syllabus. Sydney, Australia: Board of Studies NSW.

 

Holt, M. (2002). It's Time to Start the Slow School Movement. Phi Delta Kappa, 84(4), 265-271.

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Maps: Tools for Adventure - Adventure Island

Maps: Tools for Adventure - Adventure Island | Where Do I Fit? HSIE resources for Stage One teachers and students | Scoop.it
Explore maps and map symbols while helping a tour bus driver navigate Adventure Island.
Lucy Baird's insight:

2. Adventure Island provides a place to further student understanding about map symbols, and the notion that these symbols are not always direct (miniaturised) representations of real life objects (e.g.: in this context, trees are represented by green circles). The most important feature of this website however, is the introduction to the use of keys to display and organise map symbols.

 

As an interactive game where students can 'explore' Adventure Island', these concepts are introduced and reinforced in a fun and engaging manner. Further, students are (for possibly the first time) using maps and map conventions to achieve a goal – in this case earning 'tips', and completing the activity in the fastest possible time. Whilst this time limit can be a fun motivator for students, it is important to monitor that students are actively, and honestly attempting the task, not simply taking a 'hit or miss' approach.

 

At this early stage of the students' engagement with formal geography, it is important to take the time to consolidate these new, and possibly unfamiliar skills. By doing so, teachers can ensure not only comprehension and 'deep-learning' in students, but can also instil a sense of confidence when dealing with geographical knowledge and conventions. When students have achieved both of these skills, it becomes possible for them to then transfer them to other activities, and ultimately to other aspects of their everyday lives.

 

This notion of transference of geographical skills is often overlooked (Martin, 2006), but this is clearly not the case. Martin identifies a whole range of ways in which geographical thinking is employed in everyday life (e.g.: deciding whether to drive or walk to the shops, sketching a map to give someone directions, or deciding where to holiday), often without the 'geographer' realising that those are the set of skills at play (Martin, 2006, p. 32).

 

It is important to make these links between formal geography and everyday life explicit for students, and this activity does just that! By engaging their geographical knowledge – their new skill set – students can actually do something that has real-life applications and rewards. Where would we be without geography?

 

Martin, F. (2006) Everyday Geography: Re-Visioning Primary Geography for the 21st Century. Geographical Education, 19, 31-36.

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Oxfam - Mapping Our World: Home

Oxfam - Mapping Our World: Home | Where Do I Fit? HSIE resources for Stage One teachers and students | Scoop.it
Lucy Baird's insight:

4. The previous three resources have served to introduce students to the concept of mapping, and common mapping and geography conventions. It is vital for teachers to spend adequate time on this stage of the learning process, as it is only through true comprehension of the basic facts, that students will be able to extend, transfer and abstract this knowledge. Links can be drawn between this process of learning, and students 'travelling up' the SOLO (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome) Taxonomy (Biggs & Collis, 1982), from identifying and naming features of maps, to finally building up a skill set capable of producing maps, and hypothesising about geography more generally.

 

This website, created by Oxfam, provides an interactive means through which to explore the globe. The use of this website as a teaching tool would be greatly enhanced by the use of a number of globes and world maps in the classroom (perhaps one of each per table group), to make the content more tactile and engaging. Initially, the website asks students to count how many continents they can see, when viewing the globe from one, fixed perspective. Then students are able to tilt and rotate the globe, and are prompted to count again. By doing so, students can begin to understand how the globe is a representation of the Earth, and of 'flat' maps.

 

The real value of this website comes in the next step, when students can “flatten” the globe, and see it transformed from spherical to flat. Further, students are given a slide button, where they can view the map on a continuum from 'flat' map to globe. In this way, students can see what happens to the shape and size of countries and continents as this process occurs.

 

This website provides a powerful example of exactly how the globe is a representation of the Earth, and goes some way to achieving outcome ENS 1.5 in the NSW HSIE K-6 Syllabus for Stage One (Board of Studies, 2007, p. 30). It also provides a perfect way to introduce a discussion about people in other parts of the globe, thus employing somewhat of a global perspective when discussing studnets' place in the world. Further, the way it empowers and engages students in their own learning, allowing them to make geographical discoveries and links is invaluable. But most importantly, it's fun!

 

 

Biggs, J., & Collis, K. (1982). Evaluating the Quality of Learning: The SOLO taxonomy (structure of the observed learning outcome). New York, USA: Academic Press.

 

Board of Studies NSW. (2007). Human Society and Its Environment K-6 Syllabus. Sydney, Australia: Board of Studies NSW.

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