Learning about Australia

Australia, the Land Down Under, was one of the last continents discovered and explored. It is the land of marsupials and the boomerang, friendly people and the Great Barrier Reef, the only animal made structure visible from outer space. The land with its kangaroos, koalas and crocodiles holds a fascination in the minds of many. It is an interesting theme for a bulletin board.

A map of Australia is easy to draw and the nice thing about it is that you don’t have to worry about drawing counties as it is one country! What you should include is that Great Barrier Reef offshore and the small islands near by, Tasmania and the Land of Kiwis, New Zealand (You can always ask the class if anyone knows where the “old” Zealand is!). Of course you can section the map up into the 6 political regions of Australia and include the major cities, only 8 have more than 500,000 people!

That is the problem with Australia, not a long history, no major cities and the main land feature is a desert region in the middle and that Great Barrier Reef. What should go on the bulletin board? Why not emphasize the natural history?

Australia is old and many of the species are not only endemic, but also unique. That include 85% of the plant species, 84% of the mammals and 45% of the birds. It also has more species of reptiles than anywhere else on earth. Combined with the numerous aquatic species, Australia is very diverse and unique, and that can make the bulletin board for Australia unique.

Every child knows kangaroos come from Australia and one of the most easily recognizable creature on the planet is the Koala Bear, but do they know where they are found in Australia? How many people know that those bright little budgies are from the deserts of Down Under or that the Spiny Anteater, a mammal, lays eggs? The Duck-billed Platypus looks like it was put together by a committee. These will all contribute to a great bulletin board for Australia.

Make it an interactive bulletin board by either having the class draw the pictures of the different creature or by just giving the creature’s numbers and having the students identify them. Kiwi birds look hairy and the snakes are really varied, they will intrigue the children. Any one that identify 5 or more gets 5 points added onto the next test. This encourages interest in the board, furthering the education, and isn’t that what school is all about?