Last week the students from LA19 enthusiastically embarked on our geography “field trip”. I suppose the title is a little misleading as, after all, it was simply a walk around our own suburb. Nevertheless, I can’t think of a better place to learn about geography than developing a greater understanding of the environment in which we actually live.
The curriculum asks us to study how human decisions and actions influence the way spaces within places are organised and managed. It also requires that students become more critical, analytical and evaluative in their thinking. Well, our field trip has addressed all these requirements and more.
Initially, we watched a video which told us, amongst other things, how trees can save electricity by keeping buildings cooler, acting as natural climate managers. They also provide habitats for wildlife and can increase the value of a suburb through adding attractiveness to the area. With these facts in mind we investigated several other suburbs in WA by “driving” along their streets in Google Maps and awarding ratings for different criteria. We then took this into our own suburb. Not only did we investigate how our suburb was planned, we developed our observational skills, linking hints such as the age of the trees to the age of the suburb. We also saw that a total lack of trees tells us that the land was cleared completely with no provisions made to retain old trees. On top of that we established that there has possibly been a change in the way planning a new suburb is carried out, with newer ones having their houses closer together than older ones. We asked the question, “Why is this the case?” Was the land cleared so completely because the houses, being so close together, would have no space for older trees? In fact, we had lots of new questions and are now attempting to see if we can answer these through our observations. The students are now collaborating in groups on Google Drive to create presentations on their work.