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Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

Illawarra Environmental Education Centre

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Stage 4

Mt Keira - Landscapes and Landforms

Stage 4 Geography

Landscapes and landforms 


Mount Keira Summit Park and surrounding forest

Unit of work

Follow link for Google Site unit of work 

Program overview

This fieldwork-based program immerses students in the environment of Mt Keira summit. Students consider the features of landforms and landscapes of the Illawarra using mapping skills, compass use and a profile sketch from the lookouts. A study of rock formations helps students understand how the Illawarra escarpment formed and the rainforest walks are a great opportunity to investigate the physical factors and the values of this spectacular environment.  

The excursion complements the online unit of work that includes an investigative study and an assessment task.

Inquiry and focus questions

  • Why is there a diversity of landscapes and landforms on Earth?
  • What environmental and human processes form and transform landscapes and landforms?
  • Why do people value landscapes and landforms?
  • To what extent are landscapes and landforms sustainably managed and protected?

Learning experiences  

Mapping and Compass skills

Students are provided with large topographic maps of the Illawarra to conduct exercises in locating area and grid references, noting key features of the landforms and landscape. They also examine contour lines to determine the topography of an area. Students are shown how to use a compass to take a bearing of notable features visible from the Mt Keira lookout.  A profile sketch is drawn to help students identify the plateau, cliffline, escarpment and coastal plain. 

How have humans transformed the landscape? 

Students observe how human processes have transformed Wollongong’s landscape in the past 50 years by completing a field sketch from the summit viewing platform of Mt Keira. Their observations are compared and contrasted against historical photographs of the same perspective from the 1950s.

How was the Illawarra Escarpment formed?

Students are shown first hand how the natural processes of erosion and weathering shaped the landforms of the Illawarra as they examine various rock formations on the western side of Mt Keira.  Photo elicitation is also  used to identify and prompt students to examine the specific processes which shape the formation of the Illawarra escarpment.

What environmental and human processes form and transform forest landscapes?

Students conduct fieldwork comparing the biotic and abiotic factors in the rainforest and the modified Summit Park. Notable differences between the two are analysed for any impact due land clearing and human features. 

Consideration of the aesthetic, cultural and economic value of rainforest landscapes.

The escarpment forest walk is an opportunity to consider what makes Mt Keira an economically, aesthetically and culturally valued landscape for a variety of user groups.

Key syllabus outcomes

Geography K-10

S4 - Landscapes and Landforms

  • GE4-1 locates and describes the diverse features and characteristics of a range of places and environments
  • GE4-2 describes processes and influences that form and transform places and environments
  • GE4-4 examines perspectives of people and organisations on a range of geographical issues
  • GE4-5 discusses management of places and environments for their sustainability
  • GE4-7 acquires and processes geographical information by selecting and using geographical tools for inquiry