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Planning around plants-Teacher Resource

Landscape Planning for a suburb can be tricky when considering the needs of people and plants.



  • Google maps

  • Town planning grid

  • Younger children may enjoy building their towns using physical materials

  • Older children may enjoy the challenge of digitally representing their towns through 3D-image rendering software, Minecraft, etc.

Learning intention:

Engage students in problem-based learning by planning for a new town in western Sydney which has a large remnant of Cumberland Plain Woodland.

  1. Discuss!
    Brainstorm the key features and characteristics of a town or suburb - e.g. shops, green spaces, houses, roads, schools etc.

  1. The problem!
    Introduce the ‘problem’ for students to solve:
    “You are the lead town planner for a new suburb in western Sydney. In your town design, you must include the key components of a suburb, a large remnant of Cumberland Plain Woodland, and four smaller patches of remnant woodland vegetation. You must also consider the needs of the following stakeholders:

  • The development company who want to maximise the number of people in the town

  • The rangers who want to conserve and protect the Cumberland Plain Woodland

  • The family of four who want to live in a nice area, and require a place to work, shops, schools and parks to go to”

  1. Think!
    Prompt students to consider the following questions in their designs: 

    1. How can you plan around the existing vegetation? Remember, where the edges of bushland meet urban areas, they are exposed to weeds, feral predators, rubbish and fertiliser run-off. How can you minimise the impact people have on the edges of bushland?
      Suggestion: Students might connect all isolated patches by planting more vegetation, or provide vegetation corridors.

    2. Whose interests will you prioritise the most?

    3. Are there any features of your own town that you would exclude?

  2. Plan!
    Students create a draft of their town plan using the grid template. They must first create symbols for each feature of their town - e.g. houses, bushland, schools, roads, etc, and record these symbols in the legend. Students then use these symbols to draw a bird’s-eye view of their town on the grid. 

  1. Produce!
    Students draw their town plans, or digitally represent their towns through 3D-image rendering software, Minecraft, etc.

  1. Pitch!
    Students must ‘pitch’ their town plans to the ‘local council’ (the class), justifying their decisions by explaining how they satisfy the needs of each stakeholder.

Illustration of a dry Sclerophyl forest