Australia, New Zealand and Oceania

1/19/2009
G'day mate, we have been down in Oz having an onkey-dory time! Here is what we have been doing the last three weeks for geography.

We:
  • Learned Geography Songs for Australia, New Zealand & Oceania
  • Labeled Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
  • Labeled the following territories and states: Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania.
  • Located and labeled the North Island and South Island of New Zealand, the Solomon Islands of Melanesia and the Hawaiian Islands.
  • Located and labeled the island groups of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia
  • Marked the Tropic of Capricorn and labeled it
  • Used an atlas to match latitudes and longitudes of islands with their names
  • Labeled the bodies of water surrounding Australia and Oceania
  • Read and learned about physical features of Australia and Oceania.
  • Made salt dough physical relief maps of Australia.

We used the Salty Map Dough recipe from Kid Concoctions.
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 1 1/3 cup water
We made a second batch using equal parts of corn starch, flour and salt with water to experiment with the consistency. When they are dry, they can be painted.

  • Used clues to locate and label rivers, bays and harbors
  • Shaded the desert, grasslands and forests and then wrote one fact about the vegetation that grows in these areas
  • Completed a table with mountain names, location and height and made a vertical bar graph to compare the five tallest mountains
  • Went diving in The Great Barrier Reef ~ a virtual field trip
  • Studied the climate and analyzed graphs on average temperature and precipitation
  • Completed a chart on products and resources and then used the chart to answer questions
  • Identified unusual animals and plants in Australia and New Zealand, like the koala and platypus
  • Sang the Kookaburra song and listened to its laugh
  • Read It's Designed to Do What it Does Do, by Ken Ham and Buddy Davis - A fun book about animals in Australia
  • Listened to a fun song about the platypus by Buddy Davis:


  • Read and learned about human geography of Australia and Oceania
  • Completed a graph on population growth over the last 50 years
  • Used clue to locate major cities on a map
  • Identified the official languages
  • Read a graph of religions of Australia and Oceania and use the information and a map to answer questions
  • Found photographs of traditional clothing
  • Read about the people of New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji in Window on the World
  • Read about daily life in Australia and New Zealand in Children Just Like Me 
  • Demonstrated the traditional Maori (aboriginal) greeting: Two people clasp hands and press their noses and foreheads together
  • Colored the Flag of Australia
  • Learned some everyday expressions for language activities, like g'day and tried to use as many as we could in a sentence.

Here are a few of the fun, distinctly Australian words and expressions we learned:
  • g'day - good day
  • mate - friend
  • ta - goodbye
  • Oz - Australia
  • onkey-dorey - good
  • fair dinkim - genuine, the honest truth
  • dinky do - the real thing
  • boomer - a big kangaroo
  • up a gum tree - in trouble
  • humpty do - all mixed up
  • take a squiz - look over
  • get all wet - get angry
  • jumpbuck - sheep (there are 10 jumpbucks for every Australian)

Here are a couple of the boys' sentences using the expressions:

Jordan: "G'day mate. Would you like to come over for a barbie? If you come, bring your cozy because we are going swimming in the billabong." (Translation: Good day friend. Would you like to come over for a BBQ? If you come, bring your swim trunks because we are going swimming in the pond.)

Nathan: "G'day mate. I saw a boomer today. When I looked at him he got all humpty-do. Hey look! A boomer is coming. We're up in a gum tree! Look, he's getting all wet!" (Translation: Good day friend. I saw a kangaroo today. When I looked at him he got all mixed up. Hey look! A kangaroo is coming. We're in trouble! He's getting angry!)

Listened to a popular Australian song called the Waltzing Matilda. (We enjoyed the song and the pictures too!)



"Waltzing Matilda" is the story of a hike taken by a swagman (wanderer) and his matilda (bedroll). He goes camping by a billabong (pond) and waits for his billy (pail used for heating water) to boil underneath the coolibah (type of gum tree). The swagman captures a jumpbuck (sheep) in his tuckerbag (traveling bag).


  • Learned about Australian foods - what is vegemite, anyways?
  • Made an Australian Meat Pie for our ethnic cooking night.



  • Investigated how to make a boomerang, and a didgeridoo (another link)
  • Smelled a sample of Eucalyptus (we had one from a leaf exchange we did while doing Botany!)
To tell you the fair-dinkim, it was a lot of work, but we learned a lot! So ta for now . . .we are stamping our passports and moving on to Africa!
 
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