EYFS / KS1 Geography: Go Jetters - Continent of Oceania

This collection of Funky Facts from Go Jetters focuses on Oceania, a continent made up of the large island country of Australia, often called a continent by itself, and other Pacific Islands.

This scattered continent is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the north, east and south; the Southern Ocean to the south and the Indian Ocean to the west. Like all other continents, Oceania has wonders to explore on land and sea.

Australia is home to unusual, native animals like Kangaroos and Koalas, and to the Great Barrier Reef. This system of reefs is one of the largest eco-systems on Earth and can be seen from space.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Solar Race, Australia

Teacher Notes

Before Watching

  • Pupils have probably not heard of the term ‘Oceania’ but they may have heard of ‘Australia’. Introduce this continent using a globe and first find Australia with pupils. Explain that there are many other island countries in this continent, including Australia’s neighbour, New Zealand.
  • Although this is the smallest continent by size, Oceania is spread out over a wider area. Explore the size of this region with pupils using a globe, noting Australia, New Zealand and other islands.
  • Remind pupils about other continents and their names. Play globe tossing and ask pupils to identify Australia and the region of Oceania as well as recapping where other continents are.
  • Find out what pupils know about this region, for example what animals do pupils think they will find in Australia? Give pupils an outline shape of Australia and ask them to draw any animals or features they think might be found there. This can be added to after you have learnt more about the country. Working with young pupils, it may be easier to begin by looking at features of bigger, more obvious countries such as Australia and New Zealand whilst reminding them that this continental region includes many other island countries.
  • Talk about how you might travel to Australia and how long it would take. You could set the classroom chairs in a ‘aeroplane’ formation and have a virtual take off. Keep the formation until pupils come back to school the next day and explain that they are still ‘travelling’ on the journey!

After Watching

  • Investigate some of Australia’s best- known landmarks. Ask pupils to find pictures of these or draw them and add to a map of the country.
  • Discuss how Australia (and Oceania) is ‘on the other side of the world’. Use a globe to illustrate this and introduce the idea that while you are at school, children in Australia are probably sleeping. You could illustrate this idea of different time zones by holding a torch steady, (representing the sun) and rotating a globe from west to east. The torchlight will move across the globe from east to west illustrating the apparent path of the sun and how one part of the Earth is in darkness while the other is in light.
  • Go online and search for webcams in Australian cities such as Sydney and watch these at planned times of the day (such as 12 noon where you are). Talk about what time it is on the other side of the world and what people are doing.
  • Do a picture diary with pupils showing a typical day with images for breakfast, lunch and bedtime. Compare with a picture diary for children in say Sydney, Australia to show that while pupils in the UK are going to bed, pupils in Australia are getting up and having breakfast.
  • Australia gets a lot of sun all the year round and the middle of this huge country can experience very high temperatures. The availability of energy from the sun is one reason why solar racing is possible but lots of sun and high temperatures can be dangerous for people if they are not protected. Ask pupils to brainstorm how they could stay safe if they were out in very hot, sunny weather and to draw things that they would need, such as sunglasses, hats, water and sun cream.
  • Create a large, painted floor map of Australia and mark Darwin and Adelaide. Draw a route between these points and encourage pupils to use it for imaginary play with vehicles in a ‘Solar Race’. Add small play animal figures such as kangaroos and crocodiles.
  • Find out more about the Great Barrier Reef. Use coral and shell artefacts for pupils to handle and draw. Use Google Earth Street View to explore this area virtually and show other images. Explore views of the Barrier Reef from aerial imagery too.
  • Draw and paint pictures of some of the creatures you might find underwater in the Great Barrier Reef and create a class display.
  • The Barrier Reef is endangered by rapid climate change and pollution. Even though it is on the other side of the world explain that things we do in one place have an effect somewhere else. Ask pupils to think of things that might be done to look after where you live and places further away too. E.g. use energy more carefully, walk to school, make less waste and use less plastic. This might tie in with the school’s environmental or Eco-code e.g. ‘Reduce, Re-use, Repair, Recycle, Respect’.
  • Use picture books such as Jeanne Baker’s ‘Mirror’, which compares everyday life in Australia with everyday life in Morocco, as a talking point.

Master Skills

  • Naming, describing and comparing people and places (people, landmarks and features).
  • Locating landmarks and features using paper or digital maps; globes and atlases.
  • Drawing comparisons and similarities between places.

Thinking Questions

  • Why does Australia get so much sun?
  • Why do most people in Australia live near the coast?

Supported Learning and SEN

  • Children could work in pairs or mixed ability groupings so that they benefit from peer support.
  • Using photographs and artefacts to sort and talk about ideas can help some pupils express their thoughts more easily.
  • Use vocabulary cards to match to what can be seen and support language development.
  • Pupils’ ideas might be recorded using audio or video media as well as through writing.

Extend This Project

  • Investigate some other countries in Oceania using Google Earth and find out some Funky facts. Did you know that the country of Fiji has more than 300 islands! New Zealand has two large islands and about 600 smaller ones. There are a lot of islands in Oceania.

Curriculum Notes

These short film clips contribute to the current national curriculum requirements in KS1 geography in England; the Foundation Stage World Around Us in Northern Ireland; the Foundation Phase Knowledge and Understanding of the World in Wales, and at Social Studies 1st level in Scotland.

The clips are especially pertinent to the Areas of Learning and subject requirements of geography but also provide opportunities to develop English and mathematics knowledge and skills in meaningful contexts across all UK curricula.

These clips and ideas will help develop pupils’ curiosity and build on their early experiences of the world around us.

The clips and ideas contribute to UK curricular aspects relating to cultural understanding, particularly with regard to people and places.