Stage 3 (Years 5 & 6): Topic 1: Factors that shape places

>> Topic 1 Units of work

Content focus:

Students investigate how people change the natural environment in Australia and other places around the world. They also explore how the environment influences the human characteristics of places. Students examine ways people influence the characteristics of places, including the management of spaces. Students explore the impact bushfires have on Australian people, places and environments and propose ways people can reduce the impact of bushfires in the future.

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. For example: 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.
  • Change: explaining geographical phenomena by investigating how they have developed over time. For example:changes to environmental and human characteristics of places.

The Australian continent
Students investigate Australia’s major natural and human features

Australia’s neighbours
Students investigate Australia’s neighbouring countries and their diverse characteristics

Climate of places
Students investigate the climates of different places

Similarities and differences between places
Students investigate the settlement patterns and demographic characteristics of places and the lives of the people who live there

Perception and protection of places
Students investigate how the protection of placesis influenced by people’s perception of places

Key inquiry questions:

  • How do people and environments influence one another?
  • How do people influence places and the management of spaces within them?
  • How can the impact of bushfires on people and places be reduced?

A student:

  • describes the diverse features and characteristics of places and environments
  • explains interactions and connections between people, places and environments
  • compares and contrasts influences on the management of places and environments
  • acquires, processes and communicates geographical information using geographical tools for inquiry

Inquiry skills:
Acquiring geographical information

  • develop geographical questions to investigate and plan an inquiry
  • collect and record relevant geographical data and information, using ethicalprotocols, from primary data and secondaryinformation sources, for example, by observing, by interviewing, conducting surveys, or using maps, visual representations, statistical sources and reports, the media or the internet

Processing geographical information

  • evaluate sources for their usefulness
  • represent data in different forms, for example plans, graphs, tables, sketches and diagrams
  • represent different types of geographical information by constructing maps that conform to cartographic conventions using spatialtechnologies as appropriate
  • interpret geographical data and information, using digital and spatialtechnologies as appropriate, and identify spatial distributions, patterns and trends, and infer relationships to draw conclusions

Communicating geographically

  • present findings and ideas in a range of communication forms as appropriate
  • reflect on their learning to propose individual and collective action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge and describe the expected effects of their proposal on different groups of people

Geographical tools:

  • large-scale maps, small-scale maps, sketch maps, political maps, topographic maps, flowline maps
  • maps to identify location, latitude, direction, distance, map references, spatial distributions and patterns


  • observing, measuring, collecting and recording data, conducting surveys or interviews
  • fieldwork instruments such as measuring devices, maps, photographs, compasses, GPS

Graphs and statistics

  • pictographs, data tables, column graphs, line graphs, climate graphs
  • multiple graphs on a geographical theme
  • statistics to find patterns

Spatial technologies

  • virtual maps, satellite images, GPS

Visual representations

  • photographs, aerial photographs, illustrations, flow diagrams, annotated diagrams, multimedia, web tools


>> Download Factors that shape places cover sheet

Topic 1 Units of work:

Unit 1: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and the Australian Environment
Unit 2: Investigating Environmental Change in Australia and Borneo
Unit 3: Bushfire hazards in Australia
Unit 4: Great Australian Landmarks