Places We Know
Society and Environment
- Read My place by Sally Morgan and discuss how places change over time.
- Classify animals according to the place they inhabit; e.g. farm, cage, sea, land, swamp, tree, burrow.
- Give students a number of items to sort according to the places they come from; e.g. a receipt and canned foods from the supermarket, fruit and vegetables from the greengrocers.
- Visit places where resources are recycled.
- Visit local council-run centres and some of the councillors that help organise such places in the community.
- As a class, share places that are special to students; e.g. their grandparents’ house, a family farm, a special picnic spot.
- Look at and create maps of familiar places.
- Compare historic and modern buildings.
- Investigate ways to care for familiar places.
- Look at ways built and natural places affect the lives of the people that live nearby.
- Visit a zoo or animal farm/nursery and identify the different animals’ coverings, movement, eating habits etc.
- Investigate how swings and slides in the local park work.
- Investigate the different types of material used to build facilities in various local places.
Technology and Enterprise
- Students use recycled materials to design and create a 3-D model of their bedrooms.
- Students use digital cameras to take photos of different places at school, both indoors and outdoors. These can be sorted and categorised as places to learn, places to play, places to rest etc.
- Students design a house (or single room) of the future.
Art and Craft
- Discuss art displayed in places we know, such as sculptures, murals and mosaics.
- Using a large sheet of butcher’s paper, make a ‘magic carpet’ by painting it with patterns and fringing the edges. Then create stories about where students would like to go on the magic carpet.
- Show the students some famous artworks of places important to certain artists, such as Van Gogh’s bedroom or Monet’s garden. Discuss the techniques and styles of the paintings shown. Students can create a painting of their own special place, perhaps using a similar style to the artworks shown.
- Students draw what they think a familiar place will look like in the future.
- Create a class mural of one or more places the class is familiar with.
Music and Movement
- Sing songs about familiar places; e.g. ‘Down at the station’, ‘I’ve been everywhere’, substituting names of places familiar to the students.
- Create a soundscape of a familiar place.
- Students list the sounds heard in a specific place. Recreate the sounds using body percussion or simple instruments for other students to listen to and guess the place.
- Use body movements to show activities carried out in a specific local place. Other students guess the activity and the place.
Dance and Drama
- Create a pretend pet shop, day care centre, hairdressing salon or other everyday place of work. Students can role-play being customers and staff in these places.
- Make masks and/or dress up to create plays about people who visit or work in places they know.
- Role-play shopping for groceries (or a special treat), playing in the park, borrowing a book from the local library, playing on a play swing in the backyard, building a sandcastle at the beach, having a picnic, catching the train or bus to town, or packing to go on a holiday to a favourite place etc.
- Use dance steps to depict a specific place; e.g. quiet, slow steps for the library; busy, quick, loud steps for the park; stop–start, erratic steps for the shopping centre; slow, gliding steps for the local swimming pool.
Health and Physical Education
- Discuss and role-play situations involving how children should and should not behave in familiar places; e.g. being quiet in a cinema or library, not littering parks, checking depth before jumping or diving off a jetty.
- Discuss with and ask students to take note of the location of safety houses in their local area.
- Discuss using different informal places for exercise and health, such as swimming at the beach or pool, or playing cricket in the park.
- Brainstorm to list formal health facilities such as medical centres, dental surgeries, physiotherapists and gyms.
- Identify places where families can purchase fresh or takeaway food. Discuss healthy and unhealthy choices.
- Use different places in the playground to carry out different activities; e.g. run on the oval, tiptoe along the footpath near the library, hop around the sandpit, jump to the climbing frame, gallop to the lunch seats.
Chance and Data
- Record and graph the different types of buildings found around the school or wider community.
- Count the number of students who have the same favourite places. Then tally and graph the results.
- Construct buildings and towns by using construction blocks such as Lego™. Discuss the shapes that are used to construct the buildings; e.g. What characteristics of these blocks make them good for construction?
- Identify 3-D shapes that can be found in different places.
- Students draw basic symbols to represent different structures and objects on a simple playground or home map.
- Students relate specific directions to tell others how to locate a particular place in the classroom or playground.
- Students describe their own backyards, giving the positions of various structures or objects, such as the barbecue, sandpit, swing set or natural features, in relation to each other.
- Students identify the position of their own street in relation to others in an enlarged section of a local map.
- Estimate the time it might take to travel to different places around the school. Then walk to each place, measuring how long it does take.
- Use arbitrary units to measure the length and area of objects found in the classroom, school grounds, local park or beach; e.g. fallen leaves and twigs, shells, cuttlefish shells, crayons, pads, books.
- Measure the length and breadth of the classroom using students lying head to toe.
- Students use large steps to measure the sandpit area, grassed space or oval.
- Find out how many students will fit in a playhouse or a particular climbing frame in the playground (capacity).
- Identify odd and even numbers on letterboxes on opposite sides of the street. Ask: Why are houses numbered?
- Students count the amount of houses near the school with or without garages, those with different colour roofs, those with brick letterboxes etc.
- Students count the amount of houses, streets, shops etc. they pass on the way to or from school.
- Count and record the number of large trees in the school playground. Compare to the number of ‘built’ features such as climbing frames, benches etc.
- Find out and record the telephone numbers of the local library or the public swimming pool; or a list of emergency numbers such as the hospital, the student’s doctor or dentist, Mum or Dad’s workplace etc.
Working Mathematically/Appreciating Mathematics
- Sort and classify the buildings used in the graphing activity in the ‘Chance and data’ section.
- Students explain the quickest and safest route to move from the classroom to another area of the school.
- Students identify numbers and shapes in the classroom, school grounds and their own home to develop awareness of mathematics in the environment.
- Students write recounts of places visited on school excursions.
- Create a list of items that students might find in different places in their homes; e.g. kitchen, bedroom, lounge.
- Write a narrative about a place the students know of that they would like to visit.
- Write a recount of an amazing place the students have visited.
- Create a class travel brochure for the local area. Students can write about and illustrate a page describing their favourite part of the local area.
- Write a letter to a council representative outlining some problems in the local area.
- Write a shape poem or acrostic poem about a familiar place.
Speaking and Listening
- Prepare a questionnaire and interview various people in the local community about their role/job; e.g. school crosswalk attendant, principal, cleaner, local resident, school bus driver.
- Invite a guest speaker from the local council to talk about how different people in the community are cared for.
- Discuss how people from various places differ in how they speak or sound.
- Students prepare a five-minute talk for the class about a place they are familiar with. It could be a favourite place or one they don’t like. Students should include reasons for their feelings about this place.
- Make mobiles with lists of words of where people or animals live or stay in; e.g. people—house, caravan, flat, tent, houseboat, hotel; animals—burrow, aviary, nest, den, cave, hutch, kennel.
- Identify the names of places known that use proper nouns (capital letters).
- Compile a class list of words students encounter at places which they visit on a regular basis; e.g. library, shopping centre, bank, park, zoo, post office, beach, chemist. Use as a reference for writing or create as labels for a ‘Words from around my community’ map. Discuss the words and why it is sometimes very important to pay attention to them.
Reading and Viewing
- Students bring photographs and illustrations from brochures, or pictures they have drawn of places they know in the local community or beyond. Pictures should be labelled with an accompanying explanation for other students to read and view.
- Read stories that involve the characters visiting places; e.g. Australian cities in Possum magic by Mem Fox, the places around the farm in Rosie’s walk by Pat Hutchins. Make story maps of these places.
- Look at pictures of different places. Discuss and compare them.
- Students create a bookmark that has an illustration of their favourite place to read at drawn/painted on it.
- Learn to interpret a local street directory.
- Students identify places discussed on television or in the newspaper.
- Students scan newspapers and cut out articles about places of interest in the local area. Articles may relate to community development projects such as expanding leisure facilities for community use, community events such as ‘fun days’ held in parks or other facilities, or places where problems exist.
- As a class, listen to the radio to compile specific information about events; such as the ‘Million Paws Walk’, organised by the RSPCA, which is held in mid-May in local communities around Australia.