Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum

People and the environment

Year level: F-2

Students investigate how people use and affect the environment. They develop key understandings about our dependence on the environment, including the use of natural resources for energy, and why it is important to protect and preserve the variety of life on Earth.

Women in  Rajasthan, India, in saris spend time searching for, collecting and carrying firewood before they can cook food.

Women in Rajasthan, India, in saris spend time searching for, collecting and carrying firewood before they can cook food. Photo © Robert Harding/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis


Interdependence and globalisation, Social justice and human rights, Sustainable futures

Australian Curriculum links

Learning areas

English

Foundation

Identify some familiar texts and the contexts in which they are used (ACELY1645)

Year 1

Express preferences for specific texts and authors and listen to the opinions of others (ACELT1583)

Year 2

Identify the audience of imaginative, informative and persuasive texts (ACELY1668)

Science

Foundation

Living things have basic needs, including food and water (ACSSU002)

Year 1

Living things live in different places where their needs are met (ACSSU211)

Year 2

Earth’s resources, including water, are used in a variety of ways (ACSSU032)

General capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) capability
  • Personal and social capability
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Ethical behaviour

Cross-curriculum priorities

  • Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia
  • Sustainability 

Activity 1: Environments around the world

This activity raises awareness of features of the natural environment and provides a foundation for exploring how human activities affect the environment.

Preparation

  • inflatable globe that clearly shows countries and oceans
  • images of a variety of natural and built environments around the world  (some available in the images gallery of this website)

 

Pass the globe around and talk about what it shows, such as land (countries), oceans, and the poles. What cannot be seen on a globe? (such as people, houses, cities, plants and other living things) Are these found all around the world?

Find images of a variety of environments in Australia and around the world. You could filter by Environment under Issue in the images gallery on this website to get started.

Discuss:

  • What is each place like?
  • What might live there?
  • How do people use this place?
  • How have people changed this place? 

Choose and discuss ways of classifying the pictures – such as natural/built, healthy/damaged.

Paint or draw a picture showing your ideas about the environment.

Activity 2: People’s impact on places

This activity explores how urban development and other human activities change the environment, and whether people’s impact on places is positive or negative.

Preparation


Examine
  Window by Jeannie Baker.

List the changes people have made to the natural environment shown on each page. Find examples of these types of changes in your own environment.

Discuss:

  • Why do people make changes to their environment?
  • What impact do the changes have?

Use a PMI chart to consider the impacts of these changes.

Examine  Home by Jeannie Baker.

List the changes people have made to the environment shown on each page.
Find examples of these types of changes in your own environment.

Use a PMI chart to consider the impacts of these changes.

Discuss whether the changes are more positive or more negative.

Use NDLRN digital curriculum resource L16 New developments to consider how urban development impacts on wildlife. Use NDLRN digital curriculum resource L16 New developments to consider how urban development impacts on wildlife.

Invite a member of the local community who has been living in the area for thirty to fifty years (or as long as possible) to speak about the changes they have seen in the local environment over that period.

Create and label two pictures (use one sheet of paper divided into two) to show your environment now and what it might look like in the future.
 

Activity 3: Saving our resources

This activity develops awareness of the link between energy use and natural resources (renewable and non-renewable), and highlights issues relating to environmental impact.

Preparation

  • Why Should I Save Energy? by Jen Green and Mike Gordon (an amusing exploration of energy use)

 

Read  Why Should I Save Energy? 

Discuss questions that reflect the following three levels of thinking.

On the line:

  • Who in the family wasted energy? How?
  • Which things run on fuel?
  • What did the family decide to do to save energy?

Between the lines:

  • What do you think about having no power at school?
  • Why did the boy say that energy is precious?
  • What interests you about energy, and about saving energy?

Beyond the lines:

  • What effect does saving energy have on the world’s fuel supplies?
  • Discuss renewable and non-renewable fuel supplies. Make and illustrate a list for each category.
  • Why is it important for us all to think about saving energy?
  • What can we do in our classroom to save energy?

Activity 4: Cooking dinner

This activity compares the way meals are prepared in different places and explores effects on the environment and people’s lives.

Preparation

 

Draw a picture or take a photo of a person cooking dinner at your house.

  • Who is doing the work?
  • What equipment is being used?
  • What energy is being used?

Add labels to your picture.

Create a flow chart showing how the energy used for cooking was created and directed to your home.

Women in  Rajasthan, India, in saris spend time searching for, collecting and carrying firewood before they can cook food.A woman bakes flat bread on a fuel efficient stove in Tilonia in north-east India.

Examine the photos and answer the following questions:

  • Who is doing the work?
  • What equipment is being used?
  • What energy is being used?
  • What are the people doing?
  • Where will the firewood be taken?
  • How will the firewood be used?
  • Why would the firewood be used for cooking?
  • Would this be an efficient use of fuel? Why/why not?

Create a flow chart showing the process from gathering wood to using it for cooking.

Create a PMI chart comparing your family’s stove with the stove in the photo.

Make a statement about how the different types of stoves affect the environment and people’s lives.

Activity 5: Trees and their products

This activity focuses on people’s use of products that come from trees and explores how the impact on the environment can be reduced.

Preparation


Brainstorm
products people in our society use that come from trees – such as furniture, paper, firewood.

Create a list or images of timber and forest products. Where does the wood for these products come from? How might our use of wood have an impact on the environment?

NDLRN digital curriculum resource L15 News story Use NDLRN digital curriculum resource L15 News story  to follow the production cycle of a newspaper from a forest plantation to a paper mill, to a printing press, to a newsagent, to its readers and finally to waste paper and recycling.

Discuss how recycling can reduce demand on natural resources. What other ways are there of reducing our impact on forests and the living things that depend on forest habitats?

Extend your inquiry to the broader issue of deforestation.

Create a consequences chart exploring possible choices and flow-on effects relating to forest use.
 

Activity 6: Protecting turtles

This activity focuses on a turtle conservation project in Vietnam. It raises awareness of ways in which human activity contributes to the loss of habitat for turtles and wildlife, and also highlights how people can help to protect wildlife.

Preparation


Read and discuss the story Green Forest: Turtles. What do the turtles need to survive in the wild? What is their natural habitat like? What do they eat?

Examine and discuss the picture on pages 10–11 of Green Forest: Turtles.

Identify and label the ways in which human activity contributes to the loss of homes and habitat for turtles and other wildlife. These include:

  • cutting forests
  • converting wetlands to agriculture
  • converting forests to agriculture (burning)
  • polluting rivers and lakes
  • dredging sand (destroys nesting areas)
  • mining
  • building roads through wetlands and forests (divides habitat)
  • building dams (blocks passage for turtles and other aquatic species).

Read the case study People conserving Asian turtles and discuss this information and the photo.

Use your learning from this activity and your own ideas to create a poster about ways people and communities can help to protect wildlife and natural habitats.

Activity 7: The web of life

This activity focuses on the interconnectedness of all the components of an environment or ecosystem. It reinforces the importance of caring for the environment and working to minimise negative impacts of human activities.

Preparation

  • a ball of wool
  • The Waterhole by Graeme Base


Brainstorm knowledge and ideas about the meaning of ecosystem. You might like to read and discuss an explanation of ecosystems at kidcyber – What is an ecosystem?

Read  The Waterhole, then focus on page 3 (set in the Amazon).

Identify all the components of this ecosystem, including trees, water and rocks. What else would live in the Amazon environment but can’t be seen in the picture? For example, insects and fish – remember to include people.

Choose one component of the environment each (parrots, trees, water and so on).

Stand in a circle. Throw the ball of wool to each other, naming the component of the environment you represent when you catch it. Continue until the centre of the circle is crisscrossed with wool.

Choose one element of the environment, such as water. That student tugs back and forth on the wool.

Observe and talk about the ripples and vibrations created throughout the circle. Repeat for other elements of the ‘web’.

Investigate and discuss: What happens when one person drops their wool and the other students pull tight? What does this show about the relationships between the different parts of the environment? What happens when water is dropped and all the students who could not survive without water drop their wool too?

Imagine another scenario, where different kinds of human activity (such as building) are included as well as animals, birds, trees and other natural features of the environment.

Create a wool web for this environment and repeat the steps above to explore effects of human activity.

Discuss what you have learned from this activity and what it makes you think about.

Work together to create a big book or multimedia presentation about how people’s actions affect the environment.

Going further

National Digital Learning Resources Network digital curriculum resources:

 

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Women in Rajasthan, India, in saris spend time searching for, collecting and carrying firewood before they can cook food.
Photo © Robert Harding/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis
Print | Save
Women in  Rajasthan, India, in saris spend time searching for, collecting and carrying firewood before they can cook food. Photo © Robert Harding/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis
A woman bakes flat bread on a fuel efficient stove in Tilonia in north-east India.
Photo © Albrecht G. Schaefer/CORBIS
Print | Save
A woman bakes flat bread on a fuel efficient stove in Tilonia in north-east India. Photo © Albrecht G. Schaefer/CORBIS
Women in Rajasthan, India, in saris spend time searching for, collecting and carrying firewood before they can cook food.
Photo © Robert Harding/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis
Print | Save
Women in  Rajasthan, India, in saris spend time searching for, collecting and carrying firewood before they can cook food. Photo © Robert Harding/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis