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GEO 01 – Whatever Happened to?


You can download these activities as rich text files (RTF) using the links at the bottom of the page.


    Subject Area


    Geography


    Suggested Level


    7–8


    Overview

    In this unit the loss of biodiversity in Australia is studied with a variety of group activities for students. Each activity contributes to a large classroom display about the topic based on a timeline constructed from 1788 to the present day. The activities cater for a range of learning styles and variations in group size. Groups select different activities based upon their interest. Information has been drawn from ABS publication Measures of Australia's progress (cat.no.1370.0) and other ABS publications and should be supplemented with texts, atlases and the internet.

    Exploration of the topic begins with a class brainstorm before groups undertake their own learning tasks. The tasks cover the nature of faunal extinction on the Australian continent, examination of changes over time, noting in particular the role of population increase, vegetation clearance and introduced species. Students may investigate one or more endangered species, compare the conservation of land in Australia's states and territories and explore some of Australia’s national parks. The information gained is shared through the classroom display, a presentation from each group and completion of a crossword or game to integrate the learning undertaken.



    Requirements

    • Computer
    • Internet Connection
    • Spreadsheet software program
    • Pens and paper
    • Large maps of Australia suitable for a wall display
    • Additional resources such as atlases and textbooks


    Instructions

    Clear a large space on the classroom wall. The creation of large maps of Australia suitable for display may be achieved by projecting an image of the country onto a wall space covered with a large sheet of paper. Alternatively, photocopy several large maps.


    Activities

    The table below outlines the theme and nature of each activity. Each activity is available for download at the end of this document.

      Activity
      Title
      Theme
      Comments

      Whole Class
      Activity 1
      What do we mean by environment?
      Explore the nature of the environment
      All students complete
      Brainstorming
      Mindmapping
      May be assessed for detail, organisations and correct classification, facility with mind mapping software

      Group Activity 1
      Is Australia an important biodiversity hotspot?
      Explores endemic species and makes comparison with selected other countries
      Graph and mapping
      2 students

      Group Activity 2
      Which species have become extinct?
      Explores mammalian extinction in Australia
      Creation of timeline
      Research
      Digital imagery of species
      Caricatures of species
      4 students

      Group Activity 3
      Which species are threatened?
      Explores threatened species
      Graph creation and analysis
      2 students

      Group Activity 4
      How has Australia's population grown?
      Explores the growth of population from 1788 to present day
      Timeline and graphing
      3–4 students

      Group Activity 5
      Which species have been introduced?
      Explores introduced animals
      Research
      3–6 students

      Group Activity 6
      Where has land been cleared in Australia?
      Explores land clearance
      Graph and mapping
      6 students

      Group Activity 7
      Making a tree of life
      Explores the importance of trees for biodiversity
      Creative construction of material for display
      Research
      4–6 students

      Group Activity 8
      How are we protecting biodiversity?
      Explores conservation of land in Australia's states, territories and national parks
      Mapping
      Research
      4 students

      Whole Class
      Activity 2
      Class Presentations
      Each group present their main finding to the class

      Extra Activities
      Completion of crosswords and word search
      Creation of crosswords and game
      Consolidation of learning
      Individuals



    Whole Class Activity 1

    Refer students to the student worksheet class activity 1. Ask the students to brainstorm what the word 'Environment' means to them. Students may present their responses on the worksheet or use a mind mapping tool.

    Ask students to classify their ideas. The diagram (Figure 1) showing the four spheres and human interaction is provided as an example of an approach. The overlap between the human or built environment and the four spheres are points for discussion. Ask the students to annotate the diagram with appropriate images.

    Note: Begin by developing the four natural spheres, before considering the interaction of people with the natural environment.

    Environment: the aggregate of surrounding things, conditions, or influences (Macquarie Dictionary).



    Answers

    Group Activity 1

    Mammals
    Number species
    Endemic species
    % Endemic
    Mammals
    252
    225
    89
    Birds
    497
    387
    78
    Reptiles
    876
    760
    87
    Source: World Resources Institute, EarthTrends available at http://earthtrends.wri.org/

    Group Activity 3

    TermDefinition
    Most severeExtinctThere is no doubt that the last member of the species has died
    Extinct in the wildSpecies is known to only survive in captivity or cultivation
    Critically endangeredSpecies is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in immediate future
    Conservation dependentSpecies is the focus of a conservation program without which it would become vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered within 5 years
    EndangeredSpecies is not critically endangered or endangered, but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium -term future
    Least severeVulnerableSpecies is not critically endangered
    Source: Department of Environment and Heritage, Threatened species and ecological communities in Australia, pamphlet sighted 12th April 2010

Picture graph of threatened faunal species in Australia
    Group Activity 6

    Table: annual area of land cleared (hectares), 2005
    2005 (ha)
    2005 (Km2)
    Area of State and Territory (Km2)
    Area of Land Cleared as % of State or Territory
    New South Wales
    59 100
    591
    800 642
    0.074
    Victoria
    27 400
    274
    227 416
    0.120
    Queensland
    187 100
    1871
    1 730 648
    0.108
    South Australia
    9 300
    93
    983 482
    0.009
    Western Australia
    38 200
    382
    2 529 875
    0.015
    Tasmania
    7 900
    79
    68 401
    0.115
    Northern Territory
    7 900
    79
    1 349 129
    0.006
    Australia
    333 600
    3336
    7 692 024
    0.043
    Source: Adapted from Measures of Australia’s Progress: Summary Indicators, Table 7, 2009



Graph of annual area of land cleared


    Glossary

    Biodiversity – (biological diversity) the existence of a huge variety of living things on earth – plants, animals and micro-organisms.

    Endemic- found nowhere else on earth.

    Deforestation- loss of forested areas

    Extinct- There is no reasonable doubt that the last member of the species has died

    Extinct in the wild- Species is known to survive only in captivity or cultivation

    Critically endangered- Species is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in immediate future

    Endangered- Species is not critically endangered or endangered, but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future

    Infrastructure – the roads, railways, water supply, electricity, gas, phone networks and other capital equipment that supports a region.

    Vulnerable- Species is not critically endangered

    Conservation dependent - Species is the focus of a conservation program without which it would become vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered within 5 years



    References




    Downloads


    Class Activity

Geo_01ClassAct1.rtf
(RTF file, 661 KB)


    Group Activities
Geo_01GroupAct 1.rtf
(RTF file, 719 KB)

Geo_01GroupAct2.rtf
(RTF file, 764 KB)

Geo_01GroupAct3.rtf
(RTF file, 715 KB)

Geo_01GroupAct4.rtf
(RTF file, 731 KB)

Geo_01GroupAct5.rtf
(RTF file, 927 KB)

Geo_01GroupAct6.rtf
(RTF file, 1,075 KB)

Geo_01GroupAct7.rtf
(RTF file, 931 KB)

Geo_01GroupAct8.rtf
(RTF file, 684 KB)


    Revision Worksheets
Geo_01_revision1.rtf
(RTF file, 3.4 MB)

Geo_01_revision2.rtf
(RTF file, 648 KB)
Geo_01_revision3.rtf
(RTF file, 673 KB)

Geo_01_revision4.rtf
(RTF file, 623 KB)


Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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