Year 9 – Comparing population size

Today, my Year 9 Geography students began the unit: Australia – should I emigrate?

In the first lesson students were tasked with comparing Australia with selected other countries. The task involved students finding a method of comparing the total population of the selected countries using lego bricks.

Students had to work in pairs to find an appropriate method of showing this on a world map. Here are some examples which really show the difference between the countries selected, including Australia, China and the UK

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Australian Wildfires: January 2013

Tasmaniaexperienced its peak temperature since records began with levels hitting 41.8C onFriday 4th January

The heatwave, which began in Western Australia on December 27 and lasted eight days, was the fiercest in more than 80 years in that state and has spread east across the nation, making it the widest-ranging heatwave in more than a decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Due to the dry conditions, fires broke out across Tazmania. Thousands of people have been stranded and at least 100 homes destroyed as wildfires sweep through the area.
Watch: 9 NEWS Australia VIDEO REPORT
On the island, holidaymakers and Tasmanian locals have been forced to flee by boat as at least 100 properties have been destroyed, a large number in the small community of Dunalley, east of Hobart, where the police station and school were burned down.
Al Jazeera Video report:
In Dunalley, the picturesque fishing town where properties including the school, police station and bakery were destroyed, residents told how they were forced to dive into a canal to escape the flames on Friday.
7 NEWS Australia Video report:
Large parts of south-east Australiaare suffering from the worst fire conditions since the Black Saturday disaster almost four years ago, when 173 people in rural Victoria lost their lives.
Watch: BBC News VIDEO REPORT

Can the body cope with 50c? Read the article here to find out more As a result of the extreme temperatures, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology have had to add a new colour to their temperature maps. Watch the video to find out more

UPDATE – 7th January 2013: South East Australia was starting to see wildfires spreading following a heatwave that had seen record breaking temperatures:

VIDEO – Tasmanian family hide in the sea to escape fire tornadoes: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20959468 Jan 09, 2013
VIDEO – How La Nina has helped to make the Australian wildfires more intense: http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/20948259 Jan 09, 2013
IMAGES – Collection of pictures showing ‘catastrophic’impact of the wildfires in Australia:  Jan 09, 2013


UPDATE – January 12th 2013:

VIDEO – Roads melt in Australia. Record temperatures in the outback cause havoc:
VIDEO: Massive Australian duststorm looks like a giant red wave. Footage and explanation:

Report from ITN on the ‘red wave’:
As the fires continue to rage, many volunteer firefighters have been called in to help with the containment effort. Among them are chefs, electricians and pilots. Backburning is now being used to contain the spread of the fires. Find out more about how this works here by watching this report from Al Jazeera English here:

Sources: BBC News, New Zealand Herald, 9 NEWS, Al Jazeera, 7 NEWS, BBC Weather, CNN, The Atlantic Wire

Now its bushfires as Australia hit again!

BBC News
Bushfires on the outskirts of Perth in Western Australia have destroyed more than 60 homes, officials say.

One blaze has now largely been brought under control, but fire-fighters are still battling the fires to the east and north of the city.

High flames are being whipped up by winds of up to 70km/h (44mph). Hundreds of people have left their homes.

For more infomation and video, read the BBC News reports here

Cyclone Yasi hits Queensland coast in Australia

Fierce winds and driving rains brought by the most powerful storm ever to hit Queensland are lashing northern coastal areas of the Australian state.

With winds reaching up to 290km/h (181mph), Cyclone Yasi is ripping roofs off buildings and has cut power to at least 100,000 people.

The storm struck south of Cairns and is moving inland, with forecasters warning of severe damage and likely deaths.

Queensland’s premier has warned of devastation on an unprecedented scale. For more from BBC News click here

Sky News Australia has up-to the minute reports and video about this extreme weather event, along with details reports on their website. See the latest reports here