The disciplines of Geography and Civics and Citizenship are interconnected in assisting students to develop an understanding of stewardship in contributing to an environmentally sustainable and socially just society in the future (Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2014a). Students develop the knowledge and understanding required to be active and ethically responsible citizens by connecting with the local environment through the effective use of geographical concepts, inquiry methods and skills (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2005).
The Australian Curriculum: Geography (ACARA, 2014b) outlines that students in Year 1 develop an understanding of the geographical concepts of place and space. Students develop a concept of place by identifying and describing the features of a location. The concept of space is explored through considering the purpose and layout of a designated local environment. Year 1 students learn about the geographical concepts of space and place through an inquiry process whereby they formulate questions for investigation. They are encouraged to investigate questions such as What are the different features of places?, How can spaces within a place be rearranged to suit different purposes? and How can we care for places? Reynolds (2009) asserts that students effectively develop an understanding of geographic concepts when their learning is linked with their own personal local environment.
Schools provide suitable locations, for example; the wetlands area or playground, for undertaking fieldwork study and introducing mapping skills in developing a sense of spatial awareness (Reynolds, 2009). Matthews and Cranby (2014b) outline that undertaking fieldwork in and around school grounds is appropriate when considering the attention span, curriculum topic and fieldwork skills relevant to Year 1 level students. Fieldwork enables students to safely explore and make connections with their local environment. Students will be able to develop an understanding of place and space by identifying the features of the school wetlands or playground. Undertaking real-life research contributes to the development of observational, personal and analytic skills while forming respect for the environment (Matthews & Cranby, 2014a).
Teaching mapping skills enables students to learn about where features are in relation to each other, understand how communities depend upon and influence the environment and to orientate themselves (Reynolds, 2012). Additionally, students may record features of the nominated location through annotated diagrams, an information table or photographs. These representations and maps may then be collated, analysed and presented to the class leading to discussion about how the school may care for these areas in terms of their future sustainability.
Students’ participation and action in civics and citizenship learning within the context of this experience may be assessed through the presentation of a proposal on how the wetlands area or playground may be maintained and best utilised in the future (Tudball & Gordon, 2014). Members of the school leadership invited to attend and provide feedback. The presentation and assessment of proposals provide the opportunity for students to demonstrate the skills of research, analysis, synthesis, collaborative problem solving and communication (Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2012). Furthermore, students may be assessed on their understanding that they have a responsibility to be actively involved in the care and maintenance of the school ground environment.
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA] (2012). The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/Shape_of_the_Australian_Curriculum__Civics_and_Citizenship_251012.pdf
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA] (2014a). The Australian Curriculum: Geography: Aims. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanitiesandsocialsciences/geography/Aims
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA] (2014b). The Australian Curriculum: Geography: Foundation to year 10. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanitiesandsocialsciences/geography/Curriculum/F-10#level1
Department of the Environment and Heritage. (2005). National Environmental Education Statement for Australian Schools: Educating for a Sustainable Future. Carlton South, Vic: Curriculum Corporation
Geography [Image 1]. (2014).Retrieved from http://mchsoates.weebly.com/ap-human-geography.html
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Geography. [Image 3] (2014). Retrieved from http://ceveritt.com/the-mark-of-an-environmentally-friendly-business/
Matthews, S. & Cranby, S. (2014a). Geography in the Australian Curriculum. In R. Gilbert & B. Hoepper (Eds.). Teaching humanities and social sciences: history, geography, economics & citizenship in the Australian curriculum (5th Ed.) (pp. 223-247). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.
Matthews, S. & Cranby, S. (2014b). Teaching Geographical Thinking. In R. Gilbert & B. Hoepper (Eds.). Teaching humanities and social sciences: history, geography, economics & citizenship in the Australian curriculum (5th Ed.) (pp. 248-277). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.
Reynolds, R. (2009). Teaching studies of society and environment in the primary school. South Melbourne, Victoria: OxfordUniversity Press.
Reynolds, R. (2012). Teaching history, geography & SOSE in the primary school (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press
Tudball, L. & Gordon, K. (2014). Teaching for active and informed citizenship. In R. Gilbert & B. Hoepper (Eds.). Teaching humanities and social sciences: history, geography, economics & citizenship in the Australian curriculum (5th Ed.) (pp. 297-320). South Melbourne, Vic: Cengage Learning Australia.