The cartoons below have been embedded from the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph.
Cartoons are a form of visual representation of ideas, views and concepts. It is important that students develop skills in interpreting cartoons. Interpreting cartoons involves knowledge of the context of the cartoon, identifying different issues being explored in the cartoon, identifying the techniques used by the artist, and considering the views or opinions that the artist is trying to convey.
- What is the cartoon about?
- Who is represented in the cartoon? Why?
Knowledge of the context:
- What events have happened?
- Look at the date of the cartoon. What events had happened at the time the cartoon had been drawn?
- Who are the key people/roles involved in the event/issue?
Identifying issues explored:
- What can you see in the cartoon? What words are used?
- What concepts are being explored?
- Has the artist used symbolism, irony, analogy or exaggeration in communicating?
- Is the cartoon persuasive?
Views and opinions:
- Can you identify the political views or perspective of the artist?
- How are these views or perspective communicated?
- What other opinions are there about this issue?
Fires around Port Macquarie, Lake Cathie and Lake Innes began in November 2019. As of 21 January the Crestwood Drive, Port Macquarie fire had burnt out 3572ha, while the connected Lindfield Park rd, Port Macquarie fire had burnt out 859ha.
The Lake Innes Nature Reserve was home to a flourishing koala colony. Between 350 and 600 koalas are believed to have died in the fires around the Lake Innes area.
The image on the left is a screenshot of the RFS Fires Near Me app showing the location and extent of the Port Macquarie fires. The screenshot on the right shows the size of the Port Macquarie fires in relation to other fires in the mid-North Coast region.
Photos below show the aftermath of the fire - taken on 17 January, 2020.
The post below from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services indicate that while the fire around Lake Innes was extinguished, there remains risk for future fires flaring even several months later. The post below was posted on January 21.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
Following the fire a number of injured koalas required intensive care. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital was inundated
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has a large number of koalas in care. The least injured/ill koalas are available for public viewing, while those most injured are screened from public viewing for their own wellbeing. Below is an example of the management of koalas, their injury/illness and treatment.
Go Fund Me Campaign
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital set up a Go Fund Me Page to raise much needed funds to support care for injured koalas and to establish drinking stations and a breeding program for koalas in the region. The initial goal was for $25,000. By 21 January, the campaign had raised nearly $7.5 million dollars. The scope of the projects originally proposed have now been expanded in light of the huge amount of money raised.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital - Go Fund Me.
A bushfire started on December 31 at Charmhaven on the Central Coast and burned over several days. This is one of the smaller fires in The Australian Bushfires 2019-2020, but still burnt out 418ha of land. Local residents were issued with warnings and in some cases were evacuated. Two homes, located on Birdwood Drive and Arizona Drive were lost.
The photos below show the aftermath of the fire, taken on 18 January. There is some evidence of regrowth, but the fire-ground still smelt of smoke and was still hot underfoot.
Community groups have attempted to rescue injured wildlife and provide food for them. Below are photos of food left in a hanging container and food left on a tree stump.
Coordination of feeding and watering stations has been aided by the using of spatial technologies such as Google maps.
A Water Our Wildlife CCWSAR Map has been developed to help volunteers know where feeding and watering stations have been set up, so that people can visit them independently and re-stock them..
Victoria – Joint Task Force 646
Following a request from Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, on December 31, naval vessels, helicopter and fixed wing military aircraft were made ready for use in evacuations. This was decided in consultation with the Prime Minister and Defence Chief General Angus Campbell.
HMAS Choules transported approximately 1100 evacuees from Mallacoota to Western Port on January 4-5. The ship then returned to Mallacoota to deliver diesel fuel and a fuel management team to keep generators running. RAAF Black Hawk and Taipan helicopters transported firefighters to fire grounds, and helped evacuate vulnerable people. Three Spartan aircraft assisted with evacuations.
On January 5 and 6 ADF flew in emergency food, fuel, water and medical supplies to 18 cut-off communities. On January 7 they prepared a staging area for around 100 international fire fighters around Omeo.
On January 7, further evacuations from Mallacoota took place, and satellite phones and food, medical supplies, water and fuel were delivered in some isolated locations, including Bemm River and Genoa.
Reconnaissance flights were conducted over fire affected areas on January 8. A medical team was deployed to remote towns such as Combienbar and Gipsy Point.
5400 litres of diesel and 800 litres of unleaded petrol were flown in to Mallacoota.
Equipment and Engineering personnel were provided to assist state government in reopening roads, removing debris and clearing fire breaks and fire trails. On January 9, ADF undertook route clearance north of Bairnsdale and the Great Alpine Road was reopened. Hay bales and fodder were moved into key locations. Air Force air traffic controllers assisted to help manage the large volume of air traffic at the Bairnsdale Airport.
From January 10, ADF undertook continued work in support of relief centres at Omeo, Swifts Creek, Bairnsdale, Orbost and Mallacoota. ADF also supported evacuations from the Victorian Alpine region.
Undertake internet research:
- Make a list of the different issues affecting the people of Mallacoota prior to the ADF assisting them?
- Make a list of the different tasks undertaken by The Australian Defence Force to assist the people of Mallacoota?
- Why do you think that The Australian Defence Force had to be called in to assist the people of Mallacoota? Was this a good decision? What are the costs and benefits of using the ADF in this way?
- What challenges did the ADF face in assisting the people of Mallacoota?
- Outline the effectiveness of The Australian Defence Force in responding to the bushfire crisis affecting Mallacootta.
Embedded below are social media posts from The Guardian, The Australian Defence Force, the Royal Australian Army and the Royal Australian Airforce.
- What is the purpose of The Australian Defence Force, Royal Australian Army and the Royal Australian Airforce posting updates about their activities? What are the benefits of these posts?
- Consider the following statement about media: "Media and media messages can influence beliefs, values, attitudes, behaviours and the democratic process." What messages are conveyed in the posts below? What values are communicated? How might these posts influence democratic processes?
Embedded below is a series of tweets by Brendan, a local resident of Mallacoota. As the emergency unfolded, he published updates on the progress of the fires and the experiences of him and his family, and later on his community. The tweets included below are just from the first few days of the disaster. You can also listen to an interview with Brendan by clicking here.
Unlike a formal newspaper article or a television news story, this is a very personal account, describing one man's individual experiences.
- Create a list of the impacts of the fire on this particular person.
- Create a list of impacts on the community of Mallacoota.
- Use the hashtags #Mallacoota, #Australianbushfires and/or #bushfires to search Twitter. Explore the perspectives of other residents during the emergency. Add to your lists above, and write a short description of the accounts of these individuals.
- Consider the language and the descriptions included in the accounts you have read. How do these differ from the language and descriptions in more formal pieces of writing or news such as newspaper articles or news reports?
- As a geographer, what are the advantages of reading personal accounts of a natural disaster such as the Australian Bushfires? What are the disadvantages?
- What steps could you take to verify the accounts of individuals on twitter or other forms of social media?
Dates for consultation on the new draft syllabus for Senior Geography have recently been announced. To find about about the dates click to see the Geography and Geography Life Skills Stage 6 Draft Syllabus Consultation page.
There are several documents worth reviewing prior to consultation sessions:
- The Geography and Geography Life Skills Stage 6 syllabus review (released 2018)
- Geography and Geography Life Skills Stage 6 Draft Directions for Syllabus Development (released for the consultation period July-September 2018)
- Feedback from GTANSW and ACT
At this stage four different options for course structure have been provided by NESA for review and consultation. The new syllabus draft that will be released just prior to the consultation meetings (22 July) is likely to be based on one of these models.
All Preliminary options provided included a topic on The Nature of Geography, a Geographical Investigation and a Global Transformations topic. This last topic may be drawn from the Australian Curriculum and can be found at the Australian Curriculum (Global Transformations) page.
Two of the proposed course structure options included Natural and Ecological Hazards, likely drawn from the Australian Curriculum (Natural and Ecological Hazards) topic. One option included Biophysical Interactions, likely drawn from the existing Stage 6 syllabus. One option includes a topic Physical Environments and Natural Hazards, possibly a melding of the existing Biophysical Interactions topic and the Australian Curriculum Natural and Ecological Hazards.
Sustainable Places looks certain to be included in the HSC course, being in each of the 4 proposed options. This is one of the Australian Curriculum topics and the national version of the topic can be found on the Australian Curriculum (Sustainable Places) site.
The Ecosystems at Risk topic has been retained in all four options, but in Option 4 to a lesser extent. Until the draft syllabus is released we won't know how much of the actual topic is likely to be changed or retained.
Population Change is a topic in two of the proposed course structure options. The topics Human and Ecological Change, People and Economic Integration and Landcover transformation are each found in one option. It is possible that these will draw on the Australian curriculum topic Australian Curriculum (Landcover Transformation), or the existing People and Economy Activity topic.
Overview - What we know so far...
3 topics and an investigation:
- Nature of Geography
- Global Transformations
- One topic still to be announced - possibly some combination of Biophysical Interactions and Ecological Hazards or one or the other.
- Geographical Investigation
3 (possibly 4) topics:
- Sustainable Places
- Ecosystems at Risk (but may be a shorter version of the current topic)
- One topic (or possibly two) still to be announced. There are a few different options as to what this topic will be.
This is the first time there has been change in the Senior Geography syllabus in NSW for many years. It is important that as many people get involved in the consultation sessions as possible. Make sure you attend and have your say.
Later edit following release of Draft Syllabus:
Preliminary topics are:
- Earth's Natural Systems
- Human Systems
- Human-Environment Interactions
- Geographical Investigation
HSC topics are:
- Planning for Sustainability
- Urban and Rural Places
- Ecosystems and Global Biodiversity
I was lucky enough to attend the first ever TM Geography a couple of weeks ago. The teachmeet was held at Saint Ignatius' College on Monday 5 and was hosted by Jessica Lonard.
Using infographics in assessment
Jessica Lonard, our host, began the presentations with a presentation on how to use infographics in assessment of student learning. The room was decorated with examples of her students' work. There are a range of programs that can be used to create these infographics. One of the easiest is Picktochart. Other programs include Infogr.am, visual.ly, and easel.ly.
For further information you might like to check out 10 free tools for creating infographics.
Spotlight - ABS
Sharon McLean presented a session on Spotlight from the Australian Bureau of Statistics which I have discussed in a previous blog: Australia's Population. This program brings population statistics about Australia to life by presenting them in a fun interactive voiced by Shaun Micallef.
Flipping the geography classroom
Ryan Gill presented a session about the challenges and successes of flipping his classroom including creating the videos, winning over parents and keeping students engaged. Flipping the classroom is a strategy where students are exposed to new material outside of the classroom through the use of videos, readings, etc and then class time is used to consolidate the new learning through activities such as discussions, problem solving and debates.
Google Tour builder
Mick Law from Contour Education showed us the latest and greatest mapping tools, concentrating mainly on the new Google Tour Builder. This seems to be a much simpler way to create a virtual tour than through Google Earth.
Kate Corcoran showed us how she uses Nearpod in her classroom. Nearpod is a program that allows you to set up interactive quizzes and surveys and enables sharing between groups. Students log into a group and can access the resources that the teacher has made available to them on their devices. The teacher can control the students' screen while they are part of the group.
Thinglink is a site which enables you to create interactive images. Di Laycock showed us how you can add comments, images, videos and music to create a multimedia experience from a still image.
Creating virtual field sites
I went through the process of creating a virtual field site to give students access to field sites which they would not otherwise be able to experience. This is done by combining videos, photos, google tours, and links to articles all combined with the use of a blog site or website builder like weebly.
Above: Photo from the Central Park sales building.
Yesterday I attended a forum on the use of green walls and roofs in Sydney. The forum was part of the Sydney Design series and put on by the Powerhouse Museum and City of Sydney Council. This was an examination of the issues associated with city living, the need for sustainability to be considered in city design, and the solutions offered by green roofs and walls. The presenters were Sacha Coles, a director at landscape architecture firm ASPECT Studios, professor Stuart White, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures, and Lucy Sharman, Senior Project Officer Green Roofs and Walls, City of Sydney. I will attempt to do justice to their ideas.
What is a green roof?
Structurally a green roof consists of waterproofing, a membrane, soil and plants. To be considered as a "green roof" over 30% of the surface must be covered in vegetation.
What is a green wall?
The definition of a green wall is less restrictive. It can be something being grown up a wall (such as a vine), planter boxes next to a wall with plants reaching up and along the wall, or a vertical forest installation such as the work of Patrick Blanc.
Urbanisation and sustainability
An increasing proportion of people live in the world's cities. Initially we can see this as exacerbating the world's environmental problems with issues of housing demands, increased pressure on food supply from the farmland on the periphery of the city, photochemical smog, loss of open space, storm water pollution, and a raft of other problems. However, we need to think of cities as centres of sustainability. The increased density associated with city living can actually mean that cities can provide viable sustainability solutions. Increased densities result in decreased car dependency, easier transport solutions, less need to lay new roads, electrical lines and water (unlike new developments in new suburban areas on the outskirts of cities) . Architectural innovations such as green walls and roofs can provide cities with the ability to improve their capacity to feed themselves, filter their water and waste, and moderate temperatures associated with the urban heat island effect. Globally some cities are already making a grey to green transition. These include Chicago, Basel, London, Stuttgart.
How can governments encourage GRW?
Some cities around the world have begun introducing incentive program's to encourage GRW. These include:
- fee reductions
- reduced storm water & levee fees
- density bonuses
- education programs
- technical support and advice
- mandatory legislation
In Sydney there are still some barriers to widespread use of GRW. It is still quite poorly understood, there are technical issues and cost barriers, and industry is not quick to embrace it.
In the City of Sydney currently:
27 green walls
53 green roofs in Sydney
At least one DA each week which incorporates a green wall or roof.
Documents from the City of Sydney Council that support sustainability and Green roof and walls developments.
- Sydney 2030
- Greening Sydney Plan 2012
- Green Roofs and Walls Strategy
Check out other upcoming events at PowerHouse Museum as part of Sydney Design 2013.
Relevance to the classroom
So how can this information be integrated into the classroom? After all, this blog is supposed to be about teaching. If you are using Sydney as your large city case study in Year 12 Geography Urban Places, this fits in perfectly. I'm considering looking at Central Park specifically and how this development gives us some hope of the improved sustainability of development in the city. I will also tie it in with a number of other examples of development around the city. My previous blog about the Inner West Light Rail extension fits in well with this topic too. Click for lessons on Sustainability in Sydney for Yr 12.
There is scope to look at cities and sustainability in the broad sense in Year 11 Geography when you are examining the Population topic and looking at social, economic and environmental impacts of population growth. This also ties in with some of the presentations at the Australian Geography Teachers Association Conference in January from Professor Peter Newman about the transformation of Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul and Singapore as a biophyllic city.
You could also tie this in with Year 10 Geography Australia's Future as part of a broader discussion on sustainable development in Australia.
Why not create a vertical garden in your classroom or somewhere in your school? Flower Power currently sell a frame and planters to create your own vertical garden. It is only about 1m by 1m and will cost about $300 to set up but it would be a great way to attract some attention to your faculty or even your school depending on the scale. You may even be able to access a grant from your local council.
We are all used to running geography fieldwork for the physical geography topics like Coastal Management, Land and Water Management, Biophysical Interactions and Ecosystems At Risk. There are various companies that run great excursions for these topics, but when you get to the human geography topics it isn't so easy to find pre-organised excursions.
For my Year 11 Geography class I've taught the compulsory Population topic, and then Cultural Integration as one of the optional topics. We've examined the topic of refugees as part of an exploration of population movements, so I decided on a trip to Cabramatta to explore the impact of the Vietnamese community on this south-west Sydney suburb. I suggested this as an option on the online group Geography Teachers Online. As a result, I met up with a couple of teachers to thrash out some ideas about options for fieldwork.
Some of the ideas we came up with were:
- questionnaire of local residents
- land use survey
- urban transect of the Main Street
- environmental survey
- a photo essay based on cultural influences in the suburb
- an interview with a local government representative/Councillor
Cabramatta Library is located a short walk from the railway station. They offer a presentation on how the suburb has changed over time and are very obliging to school groups. They provide a half hour video on the development of Fairfield Local Government Area covering indigenous history, early colonial development, the market farms, education, rail development and migration. The presentation focuses on the Fairfield Local Government Area as a whole rather than Cabramatta itself, but this provides an excellent idea of the context in which Cabramatta developed. Following this there was a presentation on Cabramatta itself focusing on statistical information from the Census. It is also possible to organise a walking tour through the local council with a guide included, but they require about a months notice.
There are lots of opportunities for students to try different foods and drinks. For lunch, we went to Guan An Bau Troung, located on the main street, John St.The students all ordered a dish of their own and then I ordered a few different dishes for them to try and share. The food was really cheap and the servings were huge, even for boys who eat their weight in food in a single sitting. Obviously I had to check all the allergies, anaphylaxis risks involved, but I really think sharing a meal is a great bonding experience for a class.
If you want to have a look at the fieldwork activities we used the Cabramatta Excursion page of the www.preliminarygeography.hsieteachers.com site.
Back in the classroom we are going to analyse the field data a few different ways.
- Students' field sketches will be scanned and shared. An analysis of the various cultural influences will be written.
- We will create radar graphs from the environmental surveys
- The questionnaire results will be shared amongst the class. Results will be tallied, and the implications of results considered. Is this community self-contained? Do residents spend most of their lives in and around the suburb? Is the ethnic background of residents still predominantly Vietnamese?
The great thing about using Cabramatta as a fieldwork site in Year 11 is that is also a great case study for the following HSC year. You can refer back to it and draw on the students' experience when you are short on time and trying to maximise time in class. Cabramatta makes a great study for looking at ethnicity in Sydney as part of the Urban Places topic. You can find a summary of this part of the course that I wrote last year for HSC Online.
Deputy Principal at a Sydney high school. Coordinating author of the new Geoactive book series.
Student resource sites: