Mapping physical features

Mapping the school grounds and neighbouring areas provides a visual representation of the features and uses of the place. Regular mapping enables changes to be identified.

Go outside to observe and record the natural and human-made features of the grounds. Repeat observations at different times of day. On a site map of the school use symbols, photographs and annotations to record observations. A site map can be downloaded from the department's Asset Management Directorate.

The general assistant, cleaners and members of the school community may also provide information to add to the map.

Weather influences

Sun and shade

At key times of the day observe and record the position of the sun and the shadows that are cast. What areas are sunny in the morning, midday and afternoon? What areas are shaded at lunchtime in summer and in winter?


Observe and record wind direction at different times of the day. Where does the wind come from? Is it strong or mild? Is it warm or cold? Seasonal? Are there any wind tunnels between tall buildings?

Catchment and landforms


Each storm water drain collects water from a given area which is known as the catchment. Record the slope of the land, direction of water flow, location of storm water drains and indicate the catchments. Mark the direction and location of the local creek or river to which the storm water runs.


School grounds often have interesting features such as rock ledges, steep slopes and banks or mounds and boggy areas. These can be natural or constructed. These areas increase the variety of habitats and potential student learning spaces. Observe, photograph and plot the different kinds of landforms in the school.

Land uses

Land surfaces

Record the different types of land uses and surface covers, for example, concreted quadrangle, grassed oval, buildings, bitumen carparks and paved pathways. Record areas of exposed soil and eroded areas. Describe whether the soil is sticky and clay-like or sandy and gritty.


Photograph and record planted areas, significant main trees, remnant bushland and mulched gardens. Record the location and species of animals sighted during school grounds investigations.

Syllabus content

Mapping features of the school grounds uses geographical skills and tools and could be undertaken as part of local area investigations in support of the Geography K-10 Syllabus in:

  • Early Stage 1 People live in places – locating places
  • Stage 1 Features of places – how places are organised
  • Stage 3 Factors that shape places – humans shape places
  • Stage 4 Landscapes and landforms – changing landscapes
  • Stage 5 Environmental change and management – environmental change.


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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