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Yr 10: Investigating Australia’s Physical Environments
You have received notification that you have been accepted for an exchange
visit in Thailand. You will be spending a week in a small village in the lowlands of
You have received the following (hypothetical) emails from your exchange school
in Thailand requesting specific information about Australia. You need to respond
to these emails.
“Hi. We hear you are visiting our school. We hope you can teach us a bit about
your country before you come here.
Some students in our class do not even know where Australia is. Could you
please send us a map and tell us a bit about how big your country is. Is it big like
Thailand or small like Singapore?”
Task 1: Mapping Australia's position
1. On a blank map of the world:
Locate 4 different countries (including Australia and Thailand) and 2
Calculate the area for each of the countries and continents selected
(results to be noted on the map)
Indicate the longitude and latitude of the countries
“We saw Cathy Freeman light the Olympic cauldron in Sydney and our teacher
has shown us photos of cave paintings at Uluru.
Can you tell us about the origins of Australia from an Aboriginal and geographic
Task 2: Report on landforms
1. In groups of 4, select an Australian landform (for example Uluru, Devils
Marbles, Wave Rock).
2. Two people from each group will investigate the geographic origin of the
landform and the other two students will research the Dreaming that explains
3. Present the information in a two-page word document. Include a photo of the
landform and web-links.
Our teacher has asked, could you please bring some things with you when you
come on exchange to our school? She wants you to bring some activities for us
to work on in class so that we can learn about:
- major landforms and drainage basins
- weather and climate
- natural resources
flora and fauna
Task 3: Design a webpage (this could appear on a wiki or using frontpage)
1. In groups of four create a webpage designed to teach students about the
physical characteristics that make Australia unique.
2. Draft the webpage concept. Consider factors like:
How are the students going to learn whilst interacting with the webpage?
Page set up and design
Ease of use
3. Each member of the group will choose an “area of expertise” from below.
They will research this area covering the questions outlined and devise the
part of the page that teaches students about this area.
4. The areas of expertise and the information to be covered by the four
i. Major landforms and drainage basins
a) Locate Australia’s major landforms on a variety of maps.
b) Describe the geographical processes that have formed and
transformed these landforms.
c) Locate Australia’s drainage basins.
d) Describe the processes important to drainage basins.
ii. Weather and climate
a) What is the difference between weather and climate?
b) Describe seasonal variations of the climate
c) Explain the processes that cause variations in the weather (include
fronts, pressure systems, El Nino & La Nina)
d) How do the natural landforms impact on the weather?
e) Account for Australia’s relative dryness.
iii. Natural resources
a) List Australia’s natural resources (main ones)
b) Where are these resources found?
c) For 4 resources identified, outline the processes that lead to their
iv. Flora and Fauna
a) Identify some of Australia’s unique flora and fauna.
b) Where can they be found?
c) How have they adapted to Australia’s changing terrain and climate?
5. Once the games have been made the groups will play each other’s games.
They will also give each game a mark. Half of the mark will be for information
learnt and the other half will be based on how much fun the game was.
“Sorry that we have not emailed for a while but our school was flooded with the
start of the monsoon. Our classrooms were under water for three days. We could
not come to school and many houses and farms were destroyed.
People now have to live at the community centre and the government says it will
take a while for roads, electricity and normal water supplies to be fully restored
throughout the area.
Could you please tell us about the types of natural hazards experienced in
Australia. We are particularly interested in the impacts of the disasters and any
strategic plans available.
We look forward to your visit and learning more about Australia.”
Task 4 Home and expert groups
1. Students divide into groups of 6. Each member of the group is allocated a
different natural hazard from the following: bushfires, droughts, earthquakes,
floods, storms, or tropical cyclones.
2. The students now divide and form another set of groups with the other
students who are studying the same natural hazard. Within these new groups
students will create a 2 - 3 page word document (including web links,
photographs / diagrams) that includes the following information:
The areas of Australia that are prone to experiencing this type of natural
Description of the geographical processes associated with the natural
hazard (include a variety of diagrams/charts)
Outline a specific incident of this natural hazard that occurred within
Australia (when, where, how much damage was caused).
Consequences of this specific incident (include information about the
economic, environmental and social impacts).
How did the people react to the devastation? Outline the responses of
individuals, groups (eg. SES, police, charity groups) and government.
What are the responsibilities of the different parties (ie individuals,
groups& government) with regards to this natural hazard?
3. Each group will create an activity designed to teach others about the basic
concepts of their natural hazard (include information about where, how, and
the devastation caused).
4. Each student will take his/her activity back to their original groups and teach
the other members about the different natural hazards.