Core units: Years 5-6 — Key understandings

Illustration 1: Pointers to understanding


This illustration of professional practice is based on a series of PowerPoint presentations designed for teachers keen to develop their understanding of the demands of teaching geography in Years 5-6. You can view these to support individual or group professional development, planning and practice. They could, for example, be used as a basis for discussion, the preparation of learning and teaching programs, and the conceptualisation of classroom learning experiences.

Learning goals

The illustration-specific learning goals are:

  • understanding how to approach geography in the primary curriculum
  • understanding the key concepts of geography
  • understanding how geography contributes to the general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum
  • developing ways to inspire curiosity and wonder in geography
  • developing knowledge of links between geography and other learning areas at Years 5-6.

Geographical understanding and context

  • The key concepts of primary school geography. How do we approach geography in the primary years? What are the 'big ideas of geography? The PowerPoint presentation: 
    • describes and explains the basic concepts of Australian Curriculum: Geography.
  • Links to the general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. How does geography contribute to the general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum? How can primary teachers support the linkages? The PowerPoint presentation:
    • provides an analysis of the ways that geography contributes to the development of general capabilities – literacy, numeracy, competence in ICT, critical and creative thinking, ethical behaviour, personal and social competence and intellectual understanding.
  • Curiosity and wonder in geography. What are the rationale and aims of the geography curriculum? How can a primary teacher create curiosity and wonder? The PowerPoint presentation:
    • provides some ideas for stimulating and building upon children's curiosity and wonder
    • aims to generate a sense of the ' world of wonder' that is explored in geography (we call it the WoW factor!) 
  • Links with other learning areas in Years 5–6. What are the links between geography and other learning areas in Years 5–6? What things can a primary teacher introduce to students? The PowerPoint presentation:
    • highlights content statements from Australian Curriculum mathematics, science, history and English which link with those in geography.

Teaching approaches

These PowerPoint presentations are for teachers of Years 5–6. They are intended to give you an understanding of the place of geography in the Australian Curriculum, and how to teach it in effective ways.

The presentations can be viewed individually, or in a professional development forum or staff meeting led by a facilitating teacher or team leader. They can be used as the basis for discussion and planning. They can also be used as a checklist in the planning of teaching units and lessons. 

The presentations are intended to help teachers clarify their own understandings of aims, priorities and concepts in geography so they can help students develop understanding to their highest potential. 

What you need

Four PowerPoint presentations:
PowerPoint 1: The key concepts of primary school geography (PPT)
PowerPoint 2: Links to the general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum (PPT)
PowerPoint 3: Curiosity and wonder in geography (PPT)
PowerPoint 4: Links with other learning areas in Years 5–6 (PPT). Definitions of key terminology are provided throughout this PowerPoint as they link to the Australian Curriculum.


Catling, S. (2010). Understanding and developing primary geography. In S. Scoffham (Ed.). Primary geography handbook. Sheffield: Geographical Association. This article by Simon Catling is very informative and will support your thinking about the progression and purpose of effective primary geography.