Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students use an online Geographical Information System (GIS) and data from Australia’s leading citizen science program, ClimateWatch, to create their own local species maps. Students will then use information in their maps to create a field guide for a ClimateWatch indicator species that is specific to the geography of your local environment. 

 

This lesson has been developed in partnership with Earthwatch. Earthwatch developed the ClimateWatch program with the Bureau of Meteorology and The University of Melbourne to understand how changes in temperature and rainfall are affecting the seasonal behavior of Australia’s plants and animals. 

 

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand the role of citizen science in geography.
  • Students understand how certain species are connected to the wider environment. 
  • Students are able to use simple GIS functions. 

21st century skills:

 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 Geography

  • Represent spatial distribution of geographical phenomena by constructing special purpose maps that conform to cartographic conventions, using spatial technologies as appropriate (ACHGS066).
  • Identify how geographical information systems (GIS) might be used to analyse geographical data and make predictions (ACHGS069).
  • Present findings, arguments and explanations in a range of appropriate communication forms, selected for their effectiveness and to suit audience and purpose; using relevant geographical terminology, and digital technologies as appropriate (ACHGS070).

Year 10 Geography

  • Represent spatial distribution of geographical phenomena by constructing special purpose maps that conform to cartographic conventions, using spatial technologies as appropriate (ACHGS075).
  • Identify how geographical information systems (GIS) might be used to analyse geographical data and make predictions (ACHGS078).
  • Present findings, arguments and explanations in a range of appropriate communication forms, selected for their effectiveness and to suit audience and purpose; using relevant geographical terminology, and digital technologies as appropriate (ACHGS079).

Syllabus outcomes: GE5-7, GE5-8

General capabilities: Information and CommunicationTechnology (ICT) Capability, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.

Relevant parts of Year 9 Geography achievement standards: Students analyse interconnections between people, places and environments and explain how these interconnections influence people, and change places and environments. They predict changes in the characteristics of places over time and identify the possible implications of change for the future.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Geography achievement standards: Students identify, analyse and explain significant interconnections between people, places and environments and explain changes that result from these interconnections and their consequences.

Topic: Biodiversity, Climate Change.

Unit of work: ClimateWatch: Citizen Science – Geography – Years 9 & 10.

Time required: 80 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – teachers will facilitate the use of online GIS technology and a group research activity.  

Resources required:

  • Student Worksheets (one copy per student).
  • Data projector and connected internet-enabled device.
  • Enough internet-enabled devices to allow students to conduct paired research.
  • A range of whiteboard markers.
  • A stack of sticky notes. 

Keywords: Earthwatch, ClimateWatch, geography, pollinators, citizen science, biodiversity, community.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand the role of citizen science in geography.
  • Students understand how certain species are connected to the wider environment. 
  • Students are able to use simple GIS functions. 

Success criteria:

  • Students can describe the work of an active citizen science project. 
  • Students can research and report on a species' connection to it's environment.
  • Students can use GIS technology to investigate species data. 
  • Students can write a field guide that includes geographical information.

Teacher content information: ClimateWatch is a citizen science initiative developed by Earthwatch that seeks to educate people from across Australia on the issue of climate change and empower them to contribute to solutions. Through its ClimateWatch program, Earthwatch works with educators to help them bring their experiences back to the classroom to foster new generations of environmental leaders. By incorporating ClimateWatch into cu

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: The geographical tool that you will be using today is also used by a range of leading scientists and land managers to visualise and analyse Australia's biodiversity data.

1. To view a species map of your local area, go to the Atlas of Living Australia's Explore Your Area (http://biocache.ala.org.au/explore/your-area) page. You will now be filtering for ClimateWatch data on this map by following the instructions below:

If the pin on the Atlas of Living Australia map is not already over your school, click and drag it to your location.

Narrow the search by pressing the drop-down on 'Display records in a' to a '1 km radius', see screenshot below:

You are now looking at a list of all recorded species around the school. Species are organised on the left of the screen by group and species. 

Identify the ClimateWatch-provided data by pressing   , then click on the 'map' tab 

Click on the  button.

In this new map press  and select 'facet' from the drop down menu.

Se

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