Territories: YEAR 2 - HASS - Explore

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’.

Explore - Sort and record information and data, including location, in tables and on plans and labelled maps.

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.

Survey the class for the names of the Australian towns or cities the students have lived in or visited, and have students nominate the state or territory where the town/city is located.(If students mention any places in countries other than Australia, list them and explore these locations later.)

Access the National Base Map with External Territories, Geoscience Australia, Australian Government, an interactive geo-positioning map:

Use the Search finder to show on the map the locations of the different places the students have nominated. Have students write each of the place names and the Australian state where they are located.

Depending on technology access at school, allow students to investigate and explore a map of Australia, finding the suggested locations themselves. Provide a blank template of the map of Australia so that when students find a place on the interactive map, they can pin it, and/or mark the positions of the town/city, river, etc. on their own template map.

Ask students to explore the boundaries of the states and territories of Australia, and offer their observations and questions, such as:

  • Why the state boundaries are straight lines?
  • Why the states and territories are different sizes?
  • What is the difference between a state and a territory?
  • Why do states exist?
  • Who was responsible for carving up the mainland in this way, and when?
  • …among other questions.

Additionally, have students also consider the traditional territories of Aboriginal peoples and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples that were marked by clearly defined natural boundaries and comprised of related language groups and clan associations. These natural boundaries gave each person his/her identity, e.g. the broader reference Koori or Murri, and/or the more specific language group reference, for example, Dharawal man or Wiradjuri woman.

Using the sliding scale for size of image, have students find the names and types of land features, mountains, deserts, rivers, etc., that the current state boundaries go over. Introduce students to the map ‘Legend’ so that they can read the symbols on a map.

Have students search for the only part of the states’ and territories’ borders that is a ‘wiggly line’. Ask students to suggest why this border is the only non-straight line? What might the border follow here?

Show students the AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia, which represents the known and documented language or nation groups of Aboriginal peoples and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia.

Ask students to find the same places that they found using the National Base Map, but this time locating them on the AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia. Align the names of the Aboriginal nations and/or Torres Strait Islander nations with the place students have marked on their template map.

Ask students to compare their observations of the boundaries/territories in the AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia and the state and territory boundaries. Have students evaluate which map is more representative of ‘diversity’ and follows the natural contours of the land.

Allow students time to find ten Australian places, the state where those places are located, and the Aboriginal nation and/or Torres Strait Islander nation names associated with the area of location.