Stage 2 (Years 3 & 4): Topic 2: The Earth’s environment

>> Topic 2 Units of work

Content focus:

Students explore the climate, natural vegetation and native animals of places in Australia and Asia. They examine the importance of natural vegetation and natural resources to the environment, animals and people and learn about the ways people value environments, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Students identify sustainable practices and recognise that there are differing views on how sustainability can be achieved.

Geographical concepts:

  • Place: the significance of places and what they are like. For example: places students live in and belong to and why they are important.
  • Space: the significance of location and spatial distribution, and ways people organise and manage the spaces that we live in. For example: location of a place in relation to other familiar places.
  • Environment: the significance of the environment in human life, and the important interrelationships between humans and the environment. For example, how and why places should be looked after.
  • Interconnection: no object of geographical study can be viewed in isolation. For example: local and global links people have with places and the special connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples maintain with Country/Place.
  • Scale: the way that geographical phenomena and problems can be examined at different spatial levels. For example: various scales by which places can be defined such as local suburbs, towns and large cities.
  • Sustainability: the capacity of the environment to continue to support our lives and the lives of other living creatures into the future eg ways in which people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, use and protect natural resources; differing views about environmental sustainability; sustainable management of waste.

Different environments
Students investigate the natural characteristics of Australia and a country in Asia

Significance of environmentsStudents investigate the importance of natural vegetation and natural resources to the environment, animals and people

Perception of environments
Students investigate the ways people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, value environments

Protection of environments
Students investigate sustainable practices that protect environments, including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Key inquiry questions:

  • How does the environment support the lives of people and other living things?
  • How do different views about the environment influence approaches to sustainability?
  • How can people use places and environments more sustainably?

A student:

  • examines features and characteristics of places and environments
  • describes the ways people, places and environments interact
  • examines differing perceptions about the management of places and environments
  • acquires and communicates geographical information using geographical tools for inquiry

Inquiry skills:
Acquiring geographical information

  • pose geographical questions
  • collect and record geographical data and information, for example, by observing, by interviewing, or using visual representations

Processing geographical information

  • represent data by constructing tables, graphs or maps
  • draw conclusions based on interpretation of geographical information sorted into categories

Communicating geographically

  • present findings in a range of communication forms
  • reflect on their learning and suggest responses to their findings

Geographical tools:

  • large-scale maps, world map, globe, sketch maps


  • observing, measuring, collecting and recording data, conducting surveys or interviews

Graphs and statistics

  • tally charts, pictographs, data tables, column graphs, simple statistics

Spatial technologies

  • virtual maps, satellite images, GPS

Visual representations

  • photographs, illustrations, story books, multimedia, web tools


>> Download The Earth’s environment cover sheet

Topic 2 Units of work:

Unit 1: Planet Earth – An Introduction
Unit 2: Environments and Habitats
Unit 3: Litter, Waste and Recycling