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Activity teacher notes 3.3

3.3 Island discovery

Levels: LP, P, S
Focus curriculum areas: Arts, society and history
Supporting curriculum area: Science
Key concepts:

Maps, geography, sustainability, tourism

student reading an atlas

Understanding goals

  • To build on the student's understanding of Tasmania by comparing our natural features with those of an imaginary Tamanian island.
  • Students to become familiar with maps, keys, scales and symbols used to define geographical features.
  • Students synthesise information from atlases in order to create their imaginary island.
  • Students investigate the consequences of human activity on local natural conditions.

You will need

student artwork - Joojoo Island card student artwork - Longoo Island card
  • class set of atlases
  • Tasmanian bird and mammal guide books
  • various maps as examples – include tourist brochure maps with symbols and different scale maps.
  • large sheets of paper
  • coloured pencils


Look at the map of Tasmania [PDF 755KB].

  • Find where you live, the cities, major rivers and catchments.
  • Find the national parks.

In groups, look at various tourist maps.

  • Examine the different keys, symbols and scales and discuss whether they are easy to understand.
  • List all the types of features you have seen on maps on the board under two columns – natural features and features made by people.


1. What are some of the consequences of urbanisation and development on Tasmanian birds and mammals?

2. Discuss the impact of development right on the beach at Surfers Paradise.

student artwork more student artwork

3. Look at the basic needs of our Tasmanian wildlife - food, shelter and clean water. List ten ways we can all help to look after Tasmania so that it is a suitable home for our native wildlife.

4a. Find out what services the council provides to your school. (Fresh water, sewage disposal, garbage collection, road works, street cleaning, maintenance of footpaths, childcare)

b. Find out what council house rates cost each year in your area. Find out who pays rates.

5. Debate this topic: All development is positive.

6. Research the effects of overpopulation and uncontrolled development in places like Mumbai in India, Tokoyo in Japan or Johanesburg in South Africa.

Scenario 1. Discover an island

You have discovered an incredible new island off the west coast of Tasmania! It is usually obscured by low-lying mist. Very few people have ever been there.

a. Using a large piece of paper draw an aerial map of the island you have found.

Include the following using symbols and coloured pencils:

Geographical features
  • different types of coastline – rocky points, beaches, cliffs
  • water bodies – a lagoon, lake, pools, swamp
  • river or creek, waterfall
  • mountains or hills
  • an unusual rock feature
  • tallest trees, dense forest, rainforest
  • open grassland, swamp
Evidence of human occupation
  • a cave with aboriginal relicts, middens
  • an historic hut

b. Because you have discovered your island, you can name it!

Scenario 2. Natural history of your island


You do a thorough survey of the island to find out more about its natural wonders.

  1. What is the geology like? Is it mostly sandstone, mudstone, granite, dolerite or a mixture? What sort of vegetation can be found on your island?
  2. Which native Tasmanian animals would be most likely to live on your island? Use books to find out about Tasmanian birds and Tasmanian mammals. Note using symbols and a key where they may be found.
  3. Are there rare and threatened plants and animals on your island? Include them.
  4. Sir David Attenborough has just heard about your island and wants to come and make a natural history film. Write him an email (a couple of paragraphs) describing your island and why it is so special. What Tasmanian mammals are found there, what reptiles, what frogs, what birds?
  5. If not for low-lying mist, who would have discovered your island? Vasco de Gama, Cook or Bass and Flinders?

Scenario 3. Will your island survive visitors?

Here you will examine the consequences of uncontrolled development.

  1. Sir David Attenborough's film is a huge success and people are demanding that all the special ‘values’ of the island are looked after. Research and list reasons why people want to look after special places.
  2. What are some of the ways our community looks after special places? Limiting access, locking gates at night only allowing people to stay a certain length of time, monitoring visitor numbers.) One way is to make it a national park.
  3. What are your thoughts about these ways of protecting special places? Discuss with the class. If you decide to protect your whole island, invent a name that will make this obvious to people.

  4. Lots of people want to visit the island. What kinds of activities would be available to people visiting the island?
  5. Decide on five rules to help protect your island park from being ‘loved to death’. What activities should not be allowed on the island? (See our background note on Rules for Park Visitors for ideas)
  6. If lots of people come to visit, you will need to think about toilets and sewerage. You may need to store sewage and pump it into collection tanks or treat it before letting it go out to sea. Is there a good place to locate toilets?
  7. If people want to come to see your island, will you let them stay overnight? (On Macquarie Island tourists must sleep and eat meals on board their ship. Would this be an idea for protecting your special island?) If you allow visitors to stay overnight, how many visitors can your island accomodate? Will it only be available to the wealthy? Will you allow camping? Will you build accommodation?
  8. Design a brochure to tell people about the special values of your island park and show them how to look after it

Going further

Make your island into a 3D model using paper-maché.

Watch David Attenborough’s video of the Galapagos Islands.

Activity 3.4 - Park manager - Minimising human impacts


Tasmanian mammals – a field guide, Dave Watts, Peregrine Press 2002

Field guide to Tasmanian birds, Dave Watts, New Holland Publishers 1999

Many thanks to Belinda Churchill and Kirsty Medhurst for their input into these activities.