Territories: YEAR 1 - HASS - Elaborate

A possum disturbs Old Dog, and a ‘cranky’ magpie swoops at anyone who steps into the backyard. Little J and Big Cuz share a room and when Little J steps on Big Cuz’s art project, a disagreement over territory ensues. The result is a clear dividing line to mark their individual territory. But they discover they have to compromise on a shared space, and cooperate in order to move in and out of the room, and to get past the swooping magpie in the backyard. Their joint, inventive solution wins high praise from the class at ‘show & tell’.

Elaborate - Present narratives, information and findings in oral, graphic and written forms using simple terms to denote the passing of time and to describe direction and location.

Theme - MAPS

After viewing Little J & Big Cuz, Episode 12 ‘Territories’, engage students with the following activities to support their understanding about place, maps and boundaries.

Introduce students to the artwork of John Olsen, The You Beaut Country, and have students examine any one of the paintings as if they were examining a map. Teachers’ resource:

  • The You Beaut Country, Years F-12 Education Resource, John Olsen
    John Olsen paints places that are familiar and close to him, such as the lily ponds full of frogs, and the expansive and distant landscapes of Australia. He paints many of his artworks from memory as he relives the experience of travelling through, and flying above, the co

As a class, examine the map he painted of John Olsen, ‘Lily Pond at Humpty-Doo’ (2004), The You Beaut Country, Years F-12 Education Resource (pdf)). Have students observe and list the pond’s special features and the detail of life in and around the pond.

Compare this painting with Poet’s Garden, 2005, where Olsen combines different viewpoints of the landscape into one image. He was influenced by Aboriginal artwork, Spirit Dreaming through Napperby country, 1980, by Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri & Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri.

Have students observe and list the features of the Country in this artwork and nominate the symbols used for the land features and meeting places. Both artworks act as maps and contain the essential information to understand and determine the cardinal points, the road system for travel, distance between two points, etc.

Draw students’ attention to the tradition of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples passing down, from generation to generation, their knowledge of their Country’s boundaries such as rivers, lakes and mountains, etc. This knowledge was recorded in their storytelling, songlines, artworks, music and dance that the Elders taught the children and young people. Refer to Australian Museum, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collection for further information.

Divide the class into four groups, and allocate one quarter of the school grounds to each group. The groups need to investigate what buildings, pathways, gardens, meeting places, rubbish bins, etc. exist in their quarter. As a group they are to produce a map/artwork of their experience of the area, in the manner of either Olsen and/or Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri & Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, a conventional street map, or as a combination of all three. Encourage all members of the group to contribute to the map design and construction.

Provide large sheets of butchers paper and drawing and painting media. Students can use grid lines and compass points to scale the map and provide directional guides. After each group has completed their map, tape the four maps together to provide a map of the school. Try to link up the boundaries of each territory for each map, in order to make the final combined map complete and cohesive. If possible, have students label areas with text.

Invite each group to share their observations of their school ‘territory’, and what experiences they tried to convey through their map. Encourage students to use the correct mapping terminology.