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This integrated learning experience between Geography and Citizenship education involves students investigating their local communities amenities and whether or not they meet the needs of all people within the community and its surrounds (Gilbert & Hoepper, 2014). Year five students will be required to explore who makes decisions in the community, the different views people have and how these can be heard (ACHGK029) (Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2015d).

Citizens have the potential to influence their environment and the amenities that are included in it for their and others enjoyment. a diverse range of people affect how these choices are made and managed (Reynolds, 2014). Through learning in Geography students explore and study places, both near and far. Studies of place affect our thoughts on contemporary issues, inclusive environments within the community fit within this (Cresswell, 2008). While focusing on Geography, this learning experience incorporates multiple learning areas from the Australian Curriculum as outlined in Table one below.

Curriculum links Content descriptors
Civics and Citizenship Work in groups to identify issues and develop possible solutions and a plan for action using decision making processes (ACHCS032)

Why people work in groups to achieve their aims, and how they can express their shared beliefs and values and exercise their influence (ACHCK027)
(ACARA, 2015a)

Design and Technologies Investigate characteristics and properties of a range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment and evaluate the impact of their use (ACTDEK023)

Critique needs or opportunities for designing, and investigate materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to achieve intended design solutions (ACTDEP025)

Develop project plans that include consideration of resources when making designed solutions individually and collaboratively (ACTDEP028)
(ACARA, 2015b)

Mathematics Choose appropriate units of measurement for length, area, volume, capacity and mass (ACMMG108)
(ACARA, 2015e)
English Understand that patterns of language interaction vary across social contexts and types of texts and that they help to signal social roles and relationships (ACELA1501)

Understand how to move beyond making bare assertions and take account of differing perspectives and points of view (ACELA1502)
(ACARA, 2015c)

Sustainability Designing action for sustainability required an evaluation of past practices, the assessment of scientific and technological developments, and balanced judgements based on projected future economic, social and environmental impacts. (OI. 8)
(ACARA, 2015f)

To optimise learning, students will be asked and will discuss what they think inclusion is and what they think it could look like in a classroom or playground environment. Students will be posed the questions: The playgrounds in Burnie, can every person play on them? Do they allow the opportunity for everyone to be included? Students’ thoughts will be recorded.

Show students this news report

Images of different playgrounds situated around the North West coast, mainland Australia and from over seas will be shown to students (printed and on the interactive whiteboard (IW)).
– Discuss what they see including: what’s different, what’s the same, what do they notice about people in them?

Explain that some pictures show ‘inclusive playgrounds’ (IP) and some playgrounds that are less inclusive. Along the NW Coast there are IP’s at Ulverstone and Devonport. Students will be asked about their experiences with IPs.

Students will sort which playgrounds they think are more inclusive and which ones are less, then compare, discuss and share two points with the class.

The teacher will read out and display on the IW one question at a time (below), groups will be given time to deliberate, then a group will be called on to provide their answer. Some possible questions will include:
– Should we have an IP?
– Is it important to have an IP in every town? Why/why not?
– Does not having one in our local area meet the needs of people within our local and wider community?
– What advantages/disadvantages to people, children and their families does having an inclusive playground pose?
– Should it have sensory variation including the incorporation of a garden?

Groups will research IP designs; then divide. Half will design a playground incorporating elements they found from research and ideas they had. Students are encouraged to be imaginative and creative in their choices. The other half will draft a letter to the council expressing the need for an IP to be implemented in Burnie – the letter could include advantages to both the individual and the community, information about the playground they have designed and outline at least two special features. Students will brainstorm the contents of the letter as to include everyone’s differing opinions, this allows for students who disagree to voice their thoughts, they may decide to create their own letter.

As a final assessment task for this learning activity, students are required to write a reflective piece in their journal stating their perception of what inclusion is, how this new or expanded knowledge might alter how they act when playing or meeting someone new.

Word count – 594 words

References

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015a). Civics and citizenship content descriptors. Retrieved from: http://v7-5.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanities-and-social-sciences/civics-and-citizenship/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level5

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015b). Design and technologies content descriptors. Retrieved from: http://v7-5.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/design-and-technologies/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level5-6

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015c). English content descriptors. Retrieved from: http://v7-5.australiancurriculum.edu.au/english/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level5

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015d). Geography content descriptors. Retrieved from: http://v7-5.australiancurriculum.edu.au/humanities-and-social-sciences/geography/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level5

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015e). Mathematics content descriptors. Retrieved from: http://v7-5.australiancurriculum.edu.au/mathematics/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#level5

Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015f). Sustainability – organising ideas. Retrieved from: http://v7-5.australiancurriculum.edu.au/crosscurriculumpriorities/Sustainability

Beames, S., Higgins, P., Nicol, R. (2012). Learning outside the classroom: theory and guidelines for practice. New York, NY: Routledge.

Cresswell, T. (2008). Place: encountering geography as philosophy. Geography, 93(3), 132-9.

Gilbert, R., Hoepper, B. (Eds.). (2014). Teaching humanities and social sciences: history, geography, economics and citizenship (5th ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Cengage Learning Australia.

Reynolds, R. (2014). Teaching humanities and social sciences in the primary school (3rd ed.). South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.

New inclusive playground opens for kids of all abilities (video) (2014). Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMIgSN968Z4&w=640&h=360]

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