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Australia:
Lessons About the
'Land Down Under'

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G'day mate! Your students can learn about the "land down under" as Education World offers lessons about the continent of Australia. Included: Activities to involve students in using maps, creating an ABC picture book of Australian animals, preparing Australian foods, and much more!

What do the words outback, dingo, and barbie* have in common? They're words unique to Australia! People often use the word unique to describe Australia. The country is unique in many ways!

Land. Australia is the only country that is also a continent. Australia is the smallest continent in the world and the sixth-largest country in land area.

 

Fast Facts About Australia

* Official Name: Commonwealth of Australia

* Capital: Canberra

* Population: 18,783,551 (July 1999 estimate)

* Area: 2,967,710 square miles

* Languages: The official language is English, but people also speak Aboriginal and other languages.

Sources: Australia -- Atlapedia Online, CIA -- The World Factbook 1999 -- Australia

Location. Australia is located in the Southern Hemisphere between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. The island continent's closest neighbors are Indonesia, New Guinea, and New Zealand. People often call Australia the "land down under" because it lies south of the equator.

Climate. Australia's climate is generally arid to semiarid, temperate in the south and east and tropical in the north. Much of the interior of the country, called the outback, is dry and desertlike. Most Australians live along the coasts in a few large cities. Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, so the seasons are opposite of seasons in the Northern Hemisphere. In Sydney, temperatures range from 64 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit in January and from 46 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit in July.

Environment. Australia is home to such unique animals as the kangaroo, the koala, and the dingo, a kind of dog. Off the northeastern coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef provides homes for thousands of species of marine life.

History. The first known inhabitants of Australia were Aborigines, who are believed to have migrated to the continent about 40,000 years ago. In 1788, England sent its first shipload of prisoners to Australia, establishing the continent as a penal colony. In 1901, Australia became a British commonwealth.

*barbeque

These are just a few of the many reasons Australia is unique. Find out more about Oz (Australia)! Get a lollywater (soft drink) and have a gander (take a look) at this week's activities.

Brief descriptions of each lesson are provided below. Click any headline for a complete teaching resource.

  • Where in the World Is Australia?
    Students locate Australia on a world map and use an outline map of the country to complete a map-skills worksheet. (Grades: 6-8

 

  • Down Under Recipes
    Students experience a taste of Australia by preparing some foods that are popular in Australia. (Grades: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12)

     

  • How the Kangaroo Got Its Pouch
    Students create and perform a play based on an adaptation of an Australian legend about the kangaroo. (Grades: 3-5)

     

  • Growing Coral
    Students learn about corals, coral reefs, and the Great Barrier Reef and then complete an experiment that demonstrates how coral polyps grow. (Grades: 3-5, 6-8)

     

  • Money, Money, Money!
    Students calculate conversions of United States dollars to Australian dollars, using current exchange rates. (Grades: 6-8, 9-12)

     

  • Bark Art
    Students learn about Aborigines, a group of people indigenous to Australia. Students view examples of Aboriginal bark art and create pictures in the style of Aboriginal bark art. (Grades: K-2, 3-5)

     

  • Boomerang Fun
    Students learn information about boomerangs and create different styles of boomerangs. (Grades: 3-5)

     

  • Waltzing Matilda Defined
    Students use glossaries to find the meanings of Australian words in the popular song "Waltzing Matilda."(Grades: 6-8)

Lois Lewis
Education World®
Copyright © 2010 Education World

 

Originally published 09/05/2000
Last updated 10/29/2014
 

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