Core units: Year 2 — Exemplars

Illustration 1: Our place on the globe

Curriculum overview

The Australian Curriculum: Geography (and its various HASS-based iterations) content descriptions addressed in this illustration are:

  • The location of major geographical divisions of the world in relation to Australia
  • The definition of places as parts of the earth's surface that have been given meaning by people, and how places can be defined at a variety of scales

The illustration-specific learning goals are:

  • understanding the relationships between the globe of the world and atlas maps
  • developing knowledge of the names of continents, oceans and important places and areas of the earth.

Geographical understanding and context

The understanding of the earth as represented by a globe of the world is a central idea of geography. The globe should be referred to often in discussions of places. Using the globe reinforces the idea that the earth is not flat, that it is a planet in space, that oceans of water dominate it, and that it is constantly rotating and revolving.

Recognising the shape and location of each of the continents is also a basic piece of geographical knowledge which can be developed at this age. The cities and countries which children hear of in stories, films and the news should be located within their relevant continent.

Teaching approaches

This illustration is a set of activities which can be done in any order and might well be spread over the year. They are all intended to widen and deepen the child's familiarity with the globe of the world and the maps that represent parts of it. A number of activities are listed below.

1. Using maps

  • Use a large outline map of the world to name the seven continents and four oceans.
  • Get children to recognise the seven continents and four oceans by name on a globe of the world.
  • Locate your place on the globe and stick a toothpick on it with a label.

2. Using a globe

  • Have children find the location of other places they have heard of and label them on the globe. They might then transfer those locations to an outline map of a continent or the world.
  • Talk to the class about the North Pole, South Pole and axis. Have them spin the globe on its axis (always from west to east). Talk about the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.
  • Show the students the equator, and the northern and southern hemisphere.
  • Compare the sizes of the continents. Ask children to try to rank them in size.
  • Compare the sizes of the oceans. Ask children to rank these in size.
  • Use an orange to represent the globe. Draw a very approximate outline of the continents on the skin of the orange with a marker pen. Then peel off the skin in large slices and try to flatten it into a flat map. Discuss the difficulties of doing this.
  • Use the globe (or a world map) to record the places where important events take place through the year. Add labels for such things as major sporting events, celebrations, disasters, places in the news, and events related to Australia in some way.

3. Using IT

  • Use a simple electronic atlas to ask children to recognise continents, oceans and the geographical terms related to the globe.
  • Use Google Earth to zoom in from a globe representing the whole earth to your own place, and then to other places.

4. Using games

  • Play games which involve finding countries which are land-locked in certain specified locations (for example, on islands or bordered by large lakes or rivers).

5. Extension activities

  • Give the children the origin, destination and route of a journey, and ask them to find from maps the names of mountain ranges they would fly over, major rivers they would cross, and countries within whose airspace they would fly.
  • Ask children to develop more complex versions of the previous activity, and try them out with others in their group.
  • Use a globe and a simple atlas to ask children to identify coastline shapes as parts of the correct continent.
  • Have the children make play-passports and record an imaginary world trip over a period of time.

What you need

  • Globe of the world.
  • Toothpicks and Blue Tack.
  • Large simple maps of the world.
  • Electronic atlas apps can be found by searching the Internet. Usually they can be downloaded for free. Some apps that might be useful include:
    • Barefoot World Atlas
    • World Map for iPad
    • Oxford Atlas (optional)
    • Google Earth (optional)
    • Big Oxford Atlas from Oxford Atlas Project (optional).

Time frame: These activities can be used as a teaching block, or split into a number of sections so that the globe is used at a number of different times in the year.

Curriculum connections

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


  • Understand the use of vocabulary about familiar and new topics and experiment with and begin to make conscious choices of vocabulary to suit audience and purpose
  • Listen for specific purposes and information, including instructions, and extend students' own and others' ideas in discussions


  • Interpret simple maps of familiar locations and identify the relative positions of key features
  • Name and order months and seasons


  • Through discussion, compare observations with predictions
  • Respond to and pose questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events


  • Use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written, role play) and digital technologies