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Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Leading environmental education to empower learners for a sustainable future.

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S3 Humans shape places – Blackwattle Bay

Humans Shape Places - Blackwattle Bay is a Stage 3 Geography fieldwork program focusing on the S3 syllabus content Factors that Shape Places and particularly the content area Humans Shape Places. Students will visit Blackwattle Bay on Sydney Harbour to investigate how this area is being transformed by the State Government. The overall aim of the fieldwork is for students to develop their own plan to transform part of the Blackwattle Bay foreshore into a more liveable and sustainable place.

Program location

Blackwattle Bay Sydney Harbour. View the Google Excursion Map with approximate walking route, meeting location and pick up location. Please note the bus drop off and pick up point is the bus bay on Taylor St in front of Blackwattle Bay Secondary College. 

Key inquiry question

How do people influence places and the management of spaces within them?

Key syllabus outcomes

Students will:

  • describe diverse features and characteristics of places and environments
  • investigate how people influence places and contribute to sustainability
  • explain interactions and connections between people, places and environments
  • examine a local planning issue, the different views about it and a possible action to respond to it
  • acquire, process and communicate geographical information using geographical tools for inquiry

Integrating the Sustainability’ Cross Curriculum Priority is a feature of the program.

Skills outcomes

  • collecting geographical data by observing, recording and using maps
  • representing different types of geographical information by constructing maps that conform to cartographic conventions
  • presenting findings and ideas in a range of communication forms
  • reflecting on learning to propose individual and collective action in response to a contemporary geographic challenge

Student pre-visit and follow up activities

Successful excursions have direct links to current classroom learning. Pre-visit activities carried out prior to the excursion will help students better understand their excursion content and provide connectedness and relevance to classroom learning.

Have students view the Humans Shape Places support website prior to your excursion to help familiarise them with the excursion content and skills, and possible follow-up tasks.

On the day activities

During the full day fieldwork excursion, students will:

  • acquire, process and communicate geographic information to answer a fieldwork question
  • learn about past uses of the study site including those of Aboriginal people
  • learn basic geographic tools including maps, line drawings, photo interpretation etc
  • measure environmental factors with instruments
  • undertake a water quality test
  • use Ipads to document their fieldwork activities
  • acquire, process and communicate geographic information to answer a fieldwork question
  • undertake a guided tour of Blackwattle Bay to learn about proposed developments and actions that may improve sustainability.


  • Government Schools: $15 per student  (GST Free)
  • Non-Government Schools: $25 per student (GST free). Minimum cost of $600.

Excursion program downloads