Outline of unit

The features of the earth and sky make up a significant part of any environment. These features can be observed and described.

Descriptions of the landscape fall into three categories – natural, managed or constructed, but landscapes can, of course, include combinations of these. Landscapes are not fixed and can change depending on natural events and the actions of humans. Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders have strong connections to the natural features of Australia’s land, seas and skies. By observing these features and changes over thousands of years, they have lived in harmony with their local environment, and its features are an integral part of their culture and history.

In this unit, students learn to observe details of landscapes using their senses. They discuss and identify the features and events and are supported to record these through weather observation charts and drawings. They are guided to make connections between the earth, skies and their daily lives. Through observation and discussion students realise that the environment does change and that in some cases the changes occur in repeated patterns that can be predicted, including night and day and the seasons. Students then consider that these patterns enable us to think about ‘what will happen if’ type questions.

Students consider the connection of Australia’s Indigenous peoples to the land, seas and skies and their reasons for wanting to protect the natural environment. They analyse their own local environment to identify natural, managed and constructed landscapes. They are guided to understand that all landscapes were once natural and through human impact many have become managed or constructed. Students compare the maps of a managed environment and a constructed environment and consider how these meet the needs of humans, animals and plants. They then use these understandings to design their own parklands and justify the features they include. Finally, they consider the contributions made to our lives by scientists who study different aspects of the earth and sky.

Cross-curriculum priority

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions

Science Understanding

Earth and space sciences

Observable changes occur in the sky and landscape (ACSSU019

Science as a Human Endeavour

Nature and development of science

Science involves asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events (ACSHE021

Use and influence of science

People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things (ACSHE022

Science Inquiry Skills

Questioning and predicting

Respond to and pose questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events (ACSIS024

Planning and conducting

Participate in different types of guided investigations to explore and answer questions, such as manipulating materials, testing ideas, and accessing information sources (ACSIS025


Compare observations with those of others (ACSIS213


Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways such as oral and written language, drawing and role play (ACSIS029

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA

Achievement standard

This lesson sequence provides opportunities to gather information about students’ understanding of the sections in bold in the achievement statement below:

 By the end of Year 1, students describe objects and events that they encounter in their everyday lives, and the effects of interacting with materials and objects. They identify a range of habitats. They describe changes to things in their local environment and suggest how science helps people care for environments. Students make predictions, and investigate everyday phenomena. They follow instructions to record and sort their observations and share their observations with others.

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 

Stump, Keiran Bennett, CC BY-NC 2.0; Badu Island Lilly Beach, Killer White Fluff, CC BY 2.0; Melbourne, Leo Suarez, CC BY-NC 2.0.

Additional information for teachers


Background information (PDF, 363 KB)

School sun safety policies will apply for field walks.
Instruct students to not look directly at the sun during weather and sky observations.

Materials and equipment (PDF, 395KB)