In this lesson students develop an understanding of the strategies humans have implemented to ensure their survival in desert and semi-arid regions.
Briefly revisit the different ways that plants and animals have adapted to desert and semi-arid environments. Ask students to discuss the following questions:
- What strategies did Australian Indigenous people use to successfully live in deserts and semi-arid regions?
- How did early settlers work out which regions of Australia were suitable for growing crops, raising livestock or establishing communities.
- What strategies did early settlers use to survive the harsh environmental conditions?
- What were the differences between survival techniques of Indigenous people and those of the early settlers?
- Show students a map of Goyder’s Line and ask them to suggest what they think the line may represent. If students need help, show them the satellite image of eastern South Australia.
- Distribute the worksheet Goyder’s Line to each student. Allow students time to read the information provided. Engage in a class discussion about the information they have just read. Ask the following questions.
- What information did Goyder collect and how was this information collected?
- How was the information used to inform personal and community decisions?
- What were the advantages and disadvantages of the development and implementation of Goyder’s Line?
- How did Goyder use information about the physical conditions of the environment to determine a limit to areas that could be cropped in South Australia?
- Was the development and implementation of Goyder’s Line a good idea? Was it fair to tell people that they should not grow crops, raise livestock or develop settlements in land that was beyond Goyder’s Line?
- How did Goyder’s Line impact on the Indigenous people?
- Organise students into cooperative learning teams and ask them to complete a PMI (plus, minus, interesting) chart on the following statement: ‘People should use scientific knowledge about the physical conditions of the environment to work out where they can and cannot grow particular crops.’
Meet together as a class and look through some of the responses recorded on the PMI charts.
Ask students to form a human graph based on whether they agree or disagree with the following statement:
‘Science knowledge is important in helping to inform choices of where to live and grow crops in relation to desert and semi-arid environments.’
Then ask the students:
What are your reasons for agreeing or disagree with this statement?