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Water for Life

1. Introduction to Water for Life project

There is an ongoing need to ensure that young people acquire a broad understanding of water sustainability and its implications for their own lives and the broader community.

The Water for Life project is a partnership between the NSW Geography Teachers' Association, NSW Science Teachers' Association, and the Department of Water and Energy, with the support of the NSW Department of Environment & Conservation, the NSW Department of Education & Training and the Office of the Board of Studies.

The project partners:

  • have developed appropriate water-related teaching and learning materials
  • have developed a professional development package
  • will work with teachers from the greater Sydney region to utilise the resources.

2. Objectives of the Water for Life project

The objective is to develop relevant water sustainability understandings, attitudes and behaviours in young people to equip them to play an informed and active role in conserving water for current and future needs.

This project will build on and extend other school programs to ensure that teachers of Years 5 to 6 (HSIE and Science and Technology) and Years 7 to 10 (Geography and Science) classes have access to high quality teaching and learning resources on water sustainability, and are trained to use them effectively.

3. Overview of the teaching programs for Years 7 to 10 Geography

These programs are a modification of the sample programs produced by the Curriculum K-12 Directorate, NSW Department of Education and Training. The sample programs for all the geography topics can be found on the website at:

The programs in this resource are a model of how the Departments sample programs can be adapted to meet the specific needs of a school and its community.

These programs (from 4G1 to 5A3) have been produced with a focus on water related topics at the global, Australian and local community levels. This emphasis on water provides the opportunity for students to integrate their learning in Geography from Years 7-10 and to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of these issues around water conservation and sustainability.

Summary of water focus in units

The Greater Blue Mountains as a World Heritage area and a water catchment area for Sydney. Includes fieldwork
River environments at the global, Australian and local levels. Includes fieldwork at Warragamba Dam.
Water and gender issues on a global scale and UNESCO as a global organisation working to reduce global inequalities regarding water.
Access to fresh water and urbanisation as the two global issues. Includes local fieldwork at the school level and links urbanisation to Sydneys water supply.
Drought as a natural hazard for Australia. Includes fieldwork in the local community.
New technologies for water supply in a Sydney community: Newington. Includes fieldwork at Newington and Sydney Olympic Park.
Waste management including wastewater management in Sydney. Land and water management including stormwater harvesting at a local level. Includes fieldwork at the school level.


The program for 5A4 is a reprint of the sample program from the Curriculum Support website. It has been included to complete the suite of units.

4. A resource for all schools

This focus on water is crucial for all NSW students, including rural communities in drought-affected areas. This resource has been written with a Sydney focus in many places, but these examples can be substituted by more relevant examples to suit the location of the school.

There needs to be a balance between local, Australian and global levels of study. Students need to be assisted to understand water issues in their full Australian and global contexts.

Australian examples are also a part of global geography and they are used in Stage 4 to connect students with their world, to assist them to understand global concepts and examples.

5. Syllabus fit

These programs have been mapped against the syllabus and they meet syllabus content requirements, including geographic tools and ICT demands.

Geographic tools

The mandatory tools allocated to each unit by the syllabus have been included in these units. If teachers are modifying the suggested tasks they need to take care to substitute another task that includes the prescribed tools.

If teachers are integrating units (as in the example of 4G1 and 4G2) the tools for both units can also be integrated.

It is not the place of this program to explain how to teach the tools. This program has been written for teachers trained as geography teachers. There are commercial resources available for teachers needing further assistance with tools.

The tools and skills in these programs have been carefully sequenced to build on prior learning from the previous units especially with respect to the research and fieldwork components.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

The ICT in the geography syllabus is mandatory for all schools and all students. These programs have modelled a variety of ICT tasks to assist teachers with this aspect of the syllabus. Many of the tasks can be successfully delivered without the use of ICT and teachers should not see ICT as a barrier to using these programs. However, teachers need to ensure that they are meeting the requirements of the syllabus.


The terminology used in these programs comes from the syllabus, specifically the learn about and learn to statements. It is essential that all students are exposed to this terminology in Year 7. If students do not know or understand the meaning of any of the concepts or terms used in the tasks, teachers will need to explicitly teach these terms and concepts before proceeding with the tasks.

6. Student fit

These programs have been written for an average student. Teachers with students in the higher and lower ability ranges in their classes will need to modify the tasks to meet the full range of student abilities in the class.

The programs are an example of quality teaching. They are based on the scenario model that provides students with direction in a real life application of geography. Some of the scenarios, although written as hypotheticals, would be more effective as authentic tasks, giving students an opportunity to connect their learning to their world. They also allow students to demonstrate civics and citizenship and contribute to school environmental management, and to the community.

Student-centred learning

Many of the tasks are student-centred and rely on groupwork to engage students and to immerse them in learning. Where teachers are not comfortable with groupwork, the tasks can be varied to have students working individually, in pairs or as a whole class (teacher-centred). Groupwork is more time-efficient for many of the topics especially when there is a lot of content to cover. Groupwork suits all ability levels and enables the teacher to offer individual assistance and more explicit teaching when necessary.

7. Timing

The syllabus does not allocate time to each of the focus areas because the time spent on each topic will depend on the school and the class, pedagogy and prior learning. Therefore no time allocation has been indicated but every attempt has been made to make the tasks achievable by an average class.

8. Assessment of learning

All the tasks provided in these programs are assessment for learning tasks. Some activities in these tasks can be selected to be assessment of learning as well. Assessment of learning tasks require marking guidelines to be constructed.

Three sample tasks for assessment of learning have been provided: one for Stage 4 and two for Stage 5. Teachers make their own choices about which tasks become assessment of learning for the purposes of reporting. All assessment tasks must fit the school and faculty policies and procedures and be part of their assessment schedule for the prescribed stage.

Stage 4 Programs and Assessment task




4G1 23-11-07

4G2 23-11-07

4G3 23-11-07

4G4 23-11-07

Assessment for 4G1 23-11-07

Stage 5 Programs

5A1 28-07-09

5A2 28-07-09

5A3 28-07-09

5A4 28-07-09

5A1 23-11-07

5A2 23-11-07

5A3 23-11-07

5A4 23-11-07

Assessment for_5A1_28_07_09

Assessment for_5A3_28_07_09

Assessment for 5A1 23-11-07

Assessment for 5A3 23-11-07