There are a wide variety of excellent, age appropriate texts that can enhance the way teachers explore the Year 4 Geography curriculum with their students. Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker tells the story of a young boy who visits a tropical rainforest. He pretends it is a long time ago and that extinct and rare animals live in the forest, and aboriginal children play there. But he wonders how much longer the rainforest will remain. This text is perfect to use in the classroom for discussing Australian conservation and environment issues. One Well: The Story of Water on Earth by Rochelle Strauss tells the story of how all water is connected; every raindrop, lake, underground river and glacier is part of a single global well. It describes that how we treat the water in the well will affect every species on the planet, now and for years to come. One Well shows how every one of us has the power to conserve and protect our global well. The Lorax by Dr Seuss can be used in a variety of ways, as it warns against mindless progress and the danger it poses to the earth’s natural beauty. There are many more Non-Fiction and Fiction texts available on the topic of sustainability and I recommend taking a look at your school and local library to see what they have on offer.
GeogSpace is an an initiative of the Australian Geography Teachers Association and supported by the resources of Education Services Australia. This website provides the resource Investigate places in which we live which details 3 x 30 minute lessons for Year 4 Geography. Step by step teaching approaches are given, explaining how students can be taught to use Google Earth to locate, observe and describe familiar features of the place in which students live and in turn draw maps or construct models representative of the place in which they live. This resource also provides Field and photo sketching, detailing activities that be used in teaching Year 4 Geography. Step by step teaching approaches are given, explaining how students can be taught to distinguish between natural, managed and constructed elements of environments and places, develop skills in recording and communicating information using field and photo sketches and apply inquiry questions to places observed either in the field or in photographs and pictures. Jeannie Baker’s picture book Window is suggested as a great way to explore constructed and managed environments with students. This resource also provides two exemplars: Habitats for animals – an inquiry and The GeoSix and the swamp monster story. Another part of the website worth taking a look at are the teacher Support units that give information and resources in eight areas of geographical education: Thinking geographically, Why teach geography?, Professional practice, Fieldwork, ICTs in geography, Assessment in geography, Language of geography and Geographical inquiry.
coolaustralia.org is a not for profit organisation that provides, curriculum linked resources with a vision of educating young Australians for a sustainable future. These resources give students an understanding of the natural world, how it supports human existence and their responsibility to ensure it is valued properly. The website contains specialised Year 4 Geography units and activities.
My Place by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins is a classic Australian picture book and can be used in many different ways to compliment the teaching of Year 4 Geography. The book is a time machine, taking the reader into the past. It tells the story of a piece of land in Sydney from 1788 to 1988 through the stories of the children who have lived there. It addresses the themes of family, settlers, multiculturalism, and the traditional owners of the land. Each child’s story covers a decade in time and features maps that the successive generations of children have ‘drawn’ which demonstrate the things that have changed and things that have remained the same. My Place has also been made into a series that is available on DVD. Furthermore, an extensive selection of My Place Geography resources can be found on this website which include: teaching activities and clips, My Place Maps and a photo gallery.
Two teacher resource texts that contain an excellent variety of lesson ideas and blackline masters based around Year 4 Geography are The Australian Geography Series’ Year 4: The Environment Sustains Life and Australian Curriculum Geography’s The Earth’s environment sustains all life. Teaching Primary Geography for Australian Schools Early Years – Year 6 is another fantastic resource that helps inform the teaching of Geography in the primary years. If you do not currently have these texts in your school library I suggest requesting them or buying them to add to your personal professional library.
This unit addresses the Australian Curriculum Year 4 Geography in the Australian Curriculum (v 8.1):
Concepts for developing understanding
The content in the geography sub-strand provides opportunities to develop students’ understanding of place, space, environment, interconnection and sustainability. The content focuses on understandings about sustainability – the ongoing capacity of the environment to sustain human life and wellbeing. Students explore the features and functions of environments that support humans and other living things (environment, interconnection). They examine the use and management of resources and waste, and views about how to achieve sustainability (environment, interconnection, sustainability), including the custodial responsibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to their Country/Place (interconnection, sustainability). Students’ mental map of the world expands to South America and Africa and their main countries and characteristics (space, place, environment).
- How does the environment support the lives of people and other living things?
- How do different views about the environment influence approaches to sustainability?
- How can people use environments more sustainably?
The main characteristics of the continents of Africa and South America and the location of their major countries in relation to Australia (ACHASSK087)
- Critical and Creative Thinking
- Intercultural Understanding
- Personal and Social Capability
- Ethical Understanding