You can design your own self-guided excursions to deliver to your students at public waterway sites. You'll investigate the value of water in the urban environment. Use your observational field work skills to create field sketches and maps to help understand changes over time. Use our Alexandria canal example as a guide.
It's easy to identify Sydney Harbour and our great beaches as waterways, but have you thought about the bays, rivers, creeks, wetlands and even stormwater drains that can be found in every suburb? They're waterways, too.
Over time, as Sydney has grown, our value and use of waterways has changed. Natural creeks were turned into canals for transport of goods and people. Some creeks were moved so we could build houses and industry. Some creeks have become hidden underground.
As our knowledge improves, technology advances and attitudes change. This means that we place different values on our surrounding environment, such as:
You can see our stormwater networks with our stormwater catchment map and learn more about how we manage stormwater in our urban environment.
The best way to start is to identify an aim for your waterway based fieldwork investigation. For example:
You may like to investigate your closest waterway. Simply find where you are on google maps and look for the blue bits, these are waterways.
Zoom in and take a closer look.
What type of waterway is it? Is it an ocean, bay, river, creek? Is it a stormwater drain? Is it man-made or natural?
Why do some creeks have straight sections?
Research the changing values and uses of your water way over time by:
With this information you can create a timeline of human interactions.
Fieldwork is an important way to observing, measuring, collecting and recording data, developing and conducting surveys about the value of water in our urban environment.
Investigate some of the fieldwork methods below to get you started.
When planning your fieldwork, it's important to select fieldwork investigation methods or research tools that will help you gather data to meet your aim.
You don't need fancy equipment to do quality fieldwork. You can use your skills of observation. Here are some example of observational methods you can use to do a waterway based fieldwork investigation.
The aim of a field sketch is to identify the waterway and make notes about the features that influence the way we enjoy this space. You can look back on field sketch with notes and recall more than a photo.
Some questions to think about while doing your sketch.
First thing to remember is that you do not have to be an artist to do a field sketch. Break up your picture into 3 sections - foreground, middle ground and background.
By doing surveys, we can identify human activities and natural features such as plants and animals to help us build a picture of the ways the waterways are being used.
A litter survey concentrates on one human interaction. There are two parts to a litter survey.
By doing a litter survey we can:
You can use our Fieldwork Investigation - Litter Survey (400 KB) to help you create your own litter survey.
You could do an observational survey to identify a broad range of information from a site on investigation. It can help you to answer question such as:
You can use our Fieldwork Investigation - Observational Survey (107 KB) to help you create your own survey.
Some questions to think about while doing your survey:
Photos can be used as a field work investigations tool in several different ways. By using this method you will:
You can annotate (makes notes) on your photo to record your thoughts and observations. Using annotated photographs allows you to label the evidence you can see showing the changing value of this waterway over time.
Some questions to think about while doing your annotated photograph:
Sensory mapping uses various senses to map the sounds and feeling in the area. Use an online guide before going into the field. It's good practice to go into the playground to try this first.
Mapping our experiences of an area this way allows us to show how people are affected by the environment and present it as an alternative form of communication.
You can support thoughts and feelings of sensory mapping by recording atmospheric readings as well, such as wind speed, humidity, sound decibel reading or light levels.
Some questions to think about while doing your sensory map:
You can use our Fieldwork Investigation - Sensory Mapping (635 KB) as a guide.
Climate and weather affect the water cycle and the amount of rainfall we get.
Climate scientists predict that the climate in Sydney will change and rainfall will become more unpredictable. Changes in climate patterns have a more serious impact than changing weather patterns, because the effects are over a longer time and a larger area.
Including weather and climate studies in our waterway field work investigations can help us to understand the value of waterways and the outdoor spaces people us in an urban environment.
Clouds can tell us a lot about the way we enjoy open spaces and waterways.
Some investigation methods you can use to evaluate the weather in your fieldwork locations are:
We have put together some of the fieldwork advice from this page to create a self-guided excursion for you. It is based on Alexandra Canal at Tempe Reserve Tempe, Sydney.
The fieldwork investigation is linked to the Stage 4 Geography topic Water in the World - the value of water. Students will:
You can download all the resources you need here:
Self Guide Fieldwork Lesson Plan Alexandra Canal Tempe Reserve (165 KB)– Between four and six lessons, including a two to three-hour excursion.
Sydney Water and Alexandria Canal (2.2 MB)- Presentation.
Alexandra Canal Delivery Notes (209 KB)- Providing questions (and answers) to get students thinking. Includes additional information about the site, links to other online resources, responsibilities of Sydney Water and definitions of water related terms.
Alexandra Canal (597 KB) - Worksheet.
Alexandra Canal Changes Over Time (229 KB) - Worksheet
Alexandra Canal Future Planning (438 KB) - Worksheet
Alexandra Canal Worksheet Teacher Answers (584 KB)- With additional fieldwork hints, tips and resource links.