The Earth’s Environment

A Stage 2 Geography fieldwork program

The Earth’s Environment” is a Stage 2 Geography fieldwork program focusing on the Key Inquiry Question of ‘Why do people value Balls Head Reserve and how can it be protected’?

Students will use the Balls Head Reserve and Coal Loader Sustainability Centre site to:

  • Examine features and characteristics of places and environments
  • Describe the ways people, places and environments interact
  • Examine differing perceptions about the management of places and environments
  • Acquire and communicate geographical information using geographical tools for enquiry

The program also supports the Sustainability Education Outcomes:

1.3 Value natural and cultural heritage in ways that facilitate outdoor learning

3.3 Purposeful development of knowledge skills and positive environmental attitudes and values that build the capacity of students to live more sustainability in the school and community.

Learning across the curriculum focus areas covered include:

  • Sustainability
  • Literacy
  • Information and communication technology
  • Personal and social capability

The program has three main components:

  1. Introductory activities and web based resources to introduce the students to the program
  2. A full day’s fieldwork at Balls Head Reserve and the Coal Loader Sustainability Centre
  3. Follow up activities to enhance Geographic and Sustainability knowledge, skills, values and attitudes.

During the full day fieldwork excursion, students will:

  • Acquire, process and communicate geographic information to answer a fieldwork question
  • Learn about past uses of the site including those of Aboriginal people, and as a working coal loader
  • Learn basic geographic tools including map reading, line drawings, photo interpretation and using a GPS device
  • Undertake a guided tour of the Coal Loader Sustainability Centre to learn about actions that improve sustainability
  • Undertake a bushwalk in Balls Head Reserve to learn about features and characteristics of places and environments

The program supports the S2 Geography Syllabus ‘The Earth’s Environment’ topic including: 

  • The ways people (including Aboriginal people) value and protect environments
  • How people have valued environments differently over time
  • How custodial responsibility for place influences Aboriginal views on the environment
  • Ways people influence places and contribute to sustainability

Enquiries: Phone: Observatory Hill EEC on 9247 7321

email: [email protected] 

Risk Assessment – The Earth’s Environment

Pre visit tasks 

Further Resources

Summary of Learning Sites, Activities and Student Outcomes

Learning Site Activity Student Outcomes Students will be able to: Fieldwork in Action
Pre visit activities Students watch film clips and undertake mapping tasks to familiarise themselves with the study area.


  • Develop an understanding and empathy with Aboriginal people and culture and identify ways Balls Head Reserve was used in the past
 Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 5.36.28 PM
Coal Loader Sustainability Centre Waverton 1. Introduction and posing a fieldwork question

Why do people value / perceive environments differently including:

  • Why did Aboriginal people value this area?
  • What is a Coal Loader and why was it valued?
  • What is a Sustainability Centre and why is it valued?
  • Understand the way people have valued Balls Head over time
  • Understand how custodial responsibility for place influences Aboriginal views on the environment
  • Identify how we can act sustainably to look after environments
 Coal Loader
Balls Head Reserve 2. Geography Skills using a GPS including:

  • field sketch
  • map reading
  • photo interpretation
  • Using a compass 
  • Collect, record and interpret relevant geographical data and information
 Students investigation 3
Balls Head Reserve 3. Bush walk through Balls Head

Examine features and characteristics of places and describing ways people, places and environments interact.


  • Understand the importance of natural vegetation to the environment, animals and people
  • Explain the functioning of the environment eg for habitats /oxygen provision

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