Core units: Year 1 — Exemplars

Illustration 1: My Place

Curriculum overview

The Australian Curriculum: Geography (and its various HASS-based iterations) content description addressed in the illustration is:

  • The natural, managed and constructed features of places, their location, how they change and how they can be cared for

Learning goals

This activity includes outside observations in the school ground as well as classroom thinking to develop understanding of environmental features.
The illustration-specific learning goals are:

  • understanding the difference between natural, constructed and managed environmental features
  • applying learning to the outdoor environment
  • recognising links between features on maps, in photographs and in reality
  • understanding the value of places and their need for our care.

Geographical understanding and context

This illustration of practice includes learning from photographs, fieldwork in the school grounds, making links between maps, photographs and reality, and thinking about values. It combines many different aspects of learning and uses these at a level appropriate for Year 1 students.
The exploration of the school grounds is an activity often undertaken with young children. This activity adds extra dimensions to such explorations by suggesting that digital photographs be taken and matched by the children to locations on a sketch map of the school grounds.
The exploration of the school grounds is further expanded by raising questions about valuing and caring for particular places. This builds on skills and understandings with learning in the affective domain.

Teaching approaches

This illustration of practice supports students to explore the aspects of natural, constructed and managed places.

1. Interpreting photographs
A starting point could be to show children pictures of places which fit into one of the categories 'natural', 'constructed' or 'managed'. A discussion of the features in each photograph will help develop their understanding. The meaning of each of the terms would need to be discussed. Photographs can be from both Australia and the rest of the world. My place photos (PDF) provides a sample set of photographs to support this illustration.

Questions about each photograph could include:

  • What things have been built here?
  • What things in the picture are natural?
  • Why is this place managed?
  • What is similar between two of the places?
  • What is different between two of the places?

2. Exploring the school grounds
An exploration of the school grounds can apply the learning undertaken in the classroom. Students can be asked to find places which fit each of the three categories (natural, constructed, managed) and photograph, draw, or write a few words about examples they find.

If you take some digital photographs of these places, they can be displayed with labels in the classroom. Suggested photographs could include buildings, playgrounds, grass, trees, ovals, flowers, equipment, fences, gates, bare soil and driveways.

3. Using a map to locate photographs
A sketch map of the school grounds can be drawn on a whiteboard or sheets of butcher's paper.

The children then help you to put printed copies of the photographs of the school grounds in the correct location on the map. This helps develop the children's understanding of the relationship of the map view to their views of the place.

4. Looking after places
After the walk around the school, or the map exercise, a discussion of the need to care for places can be conducted.
Questions might include:

  • Which places in the school grounds do you like best?
  • Which places in the school do you use most?
  • Which places in the school always look neat and tidy?
  • Which places in the school sometimes look dirty or untidy?
  • Which places in the school need the most care to keep them looking good?
  • Which places in the school could be improved?
  • What things could each of us do to look after these places in the school?

5. Extension activities
Extension activities might include:

  • exploring further suggestions by students about looking after and valuing of places in the school grounds and nearby environment
  • taking further photographs of features for adding to the large map
  • exploring further how places are managed to produce food, conserve habitats, provide recreation and satisfy other human needs
  • working in pairs, students could give each other instructions to find a hidden treasure in the playground, developing their skills of orientation and use of the language of instruction
  • discussing the idea of 'stewardship of the environment' and how it was practised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

What you need

  • Large pieces of paper for sketch maps.
  • My place photos (PDF) Photographs of a variety of places.
  • Materials for drawing and writing.

Preparation: Photographs (supplied) need to be printed or shown digitally. An inspection of the school grounds for a suitable route.

Time frame: A lesson or two for the school grounds walk.

Curriculum connections

This illustration links with the content descriptions of the following Phase 1 Australian Curriculum.


  • Engage in conversations and discussions, using active listening behaviours, showing interest, and contributing ideas, information and questions


  • Recognise and classify familiar two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional objects using obvious features
  • Give and follow directions to familiar locations
  • Represent data with objects and drawings where one object or drawing represents one data value. Describe the displays


  • Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways such as oral and written language, drawing and role play
  • Compare observations with those of others


  • Identify and compare features of objects from the past and present


If help is needed to get proportions correct on base maps, there are a number of useful websites, see below.
Google Maps. Retrieved August 2012, from:
Google Earth. Retrieved August 2019, from:
Nearmap. Retrieved August 2019, from: