Sunday, July 26, 2015

Poetry, Geography, and Writing: Australia

Vocab word: Escarpment. Photo Credit: Thomas Depenbusch
Geography Warmup

Do exercises 133-138 in World Geography Daily Skill Builders

Discuss: International Date Line

Six Things to Know About Australia

1. Geology:
Australia is the oldest, flattest, lowest continental landmass in the world
Sits in the middle of a tectonic plate: no volcanoes, few earthquakes
Mostly arid, low plateaus

2. Outback
The difference between the outback and the bush.
Anything outside a city is “The Bush”, “The Outback” is more remote
A map of the Australian Outback is a map of Australia

3. Mountains
     Ayers Rock
     Great Dividing Range

4. Great Barrier Reef

     World’s largest coral reef.
     Remember Finding Nemo? How far would Marlin have had to swim from the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney?
     East Australian Current

5. History

     Aboriginal Australians arrived between 40-70000 years ago.
     1770 Captain Cook explored the eastern coast and recommended colonizing “Botany Bay”
     Penal colony established by Britain
     Gold rushes and farming
     1800s: Six British colonies
     1901: Colonies formed a federation

6. Aboriginal Australians
     Dot Paintings

Activity: Dot Paintings

You'll need paper, cotton swabs, and paint. Have a look at these for inspiration, and go to town. Here is a picture of us dot painting:


"The Swimmer" by Adam Lindsay Gordon

Find out a bit about Adam Lindsay Gordon's biography at this site. In class, read the poem aloud and discuss what type of instrumentation/beat/melody you'd use to set this work to music. Now listen to this adaptation. Did it surprise you? Do you think it works?


Time: 20 Minutes
Length: 1 page

Aboriginal Australians are connected to the landscape that surrounds them in ways we have a hard time understanding. For example, each person is deeply connected to the spot where his or her mother first felt the fetus "quickening" in the womb, because that is the spot where the soul of the baby came up out of the earth. Aborigines make word maps by describing their surroundings. Read this article to understand more. You don't have to read it all, but look at particularly the sections "Place is Identity is Place" and "Songlines and Dreaming." Now walk outside and create a story to explain the landscape you find yourself in. Maybe the cul de sac is a campfire and the trees around it are sisters. Maybe the road is a river and the houses are rocks. Maybe the skyscraper is a ladder, or the bridge is a fallen tree. Try to create a map of your surroundings by telling a story, where the reader can identify landmarks and understand what they mean. (This assignment was introduced and led in our class by Be Essert.)

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