Features of places: beaches

Topic: Features of places – Australian beaches
Learning Activity
Schools & Teachers
Stage 1
Geography: Year 1 and Year 2
Students investigate the natural and human features of places and the activities that occur there. They identify the active role of citizens in the care of places. They learn what natural and human features are.

Key inquiry question #1

What are the features of, and activities in, places?

Key inquiry question #2

How can we care for places?


Features of places


  • investigate features of places and how they can be cared for, for example: (ACHGK005) 
    • description of the natural and human features of places   
    • consideration of how beaches can be nurtured and looked after

Background Notes for Teachers

Beaches are part of our Australian identity and are a foundation for our culture. Beaches are reflected in so many ways: our national symbols; our history; our sport; industry; music and the arts. Australians are internationally renowned for our connection to beaches and to the ocean.

Young students of geography will develop an understanding of the natural and human features as well as the way we use beaches for leisure, recreation and sport.

Sam Hood

Many of the sources used in this unit are the work of photographer Sam Hood. A Sydney based photographer, Hood had his own studio as well as working for many Australian newspapers. He was able to capture many sides of Sydney from the 1880s to the 1950s. His photographic works range from buildings, architecture, sports, the arts and representations of how Sydneysiders spent their leisure time.  

Student Activities

At The Beach

Students view an image of Coledale to set the context  of At The Beach by Ronald Harvey. Then they answer questions about the beach and its environment.

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Features of beaches

Students examine several images of beaches and discuss the human and natural features in each.

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Beaches and people

Students examine several beach images and discuss the human and natural features in each image. 

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Features and activities on Australian beaches

Students examine source material and answer questions about natural and human features of beaches.

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Beach activities

As a class, write a list of the activities people like to do at the beach.

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Caring for beaches

Students look through the picture book At the Beach by Ronald Harvey searching for examples of how Penny and Henry care for the beach. Students discuss ways in which they can look after beaches.

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Picture books

Grandpa and Thomas by Pamela Allen

Magic Beach by Alison Lester

Greetings from Sandy Beach by Bob Graham

At The Beach by Roland Harvey

There’s a Sea in My Bedroom by Margaret Wild

eBooks available through State Library of New South Wales

101 Best Australian Beaches by Brad Farmer and Andrew Short

Sydney Beaches: A History by Caroline Ford

NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum Geography K–6

A student:

  • GE1-1 describes features of places and the connections people have with places
  • GE1-2 identifies ways in which people interact with and care for places
  • GE1-3 communicates geographical information and uses geographical tools for inquiry

Acquiring geographical information

  • pose geographical questions (ACHGS007, ACHGS013)
  • collect and record geographical data and information, for example, by observing, by interviewing, or using visual representations (ACHGS008, ACHGS014)

Processing geographical information

  • represent data by constructing tables, graphs or maps (ACHGS009, ACHGS015)
  • draw conclusions based on the interpretation of geographical information sorted into categories (ACHGS010, ACHGS016)

Communicating geographical information

  • present findings in a range of communication forms (ACHGS011, ACHGS017)
  • reflect on their learning and suggest responses to their findings (ACHGS012, ACHGS018)
  • Place: the significance of places and what they are like eg location and features of local places and other places in the world.
  • Space: the significance of location and spatial distribution, and ways people organise and manage the spaces that we live in (e.g where activities are located and how spaces can be organised).
  • Environment: the significance of the environment in human life, and the important interrelationships between humans and the environment (e.g natural and human features of a place; daily and seasonal weather patterns of places).
  • Interconnection: no object of geographical study can be viewed in isolation (e.g local and global links people have with places and the special connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples maintain with Country/Place).
  • Scale: the way that geographical phenomena and problems can be examined at different spatial levels (e.g various scales and sizes by which places can be defined such as local suburbs, towns and large cities).

Learning across the curriculum

  • Sustainability
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Civics and citizenship