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MEASUREMENT OF AREA – Comparing large areas (Stage 3)

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It’s amazing when you see the world from a different perspective. Normally we compare the size of different countries by looking at them on a map of the world. But what happens if you increase your understanding by a new arrangement? This map of Australia shows many different countries to scale on the map of Australia. Now you can see how really large Australia is. France, for example takes up the same space as the top of the Northern Territory. If we could move it, it also takes up about the same area as one third of NSW.


As part of an understanding of size in a series of AREA lessons for Stage 3 students, try selecting just one country, e.g. Japan, make multiple paper copies of this and then cut and paste it without overlaps to cover a paper map of Australia. Estimate how many you will need.  You could try a new country every day.

We measure large areas in square kilometres. That’s equivalent to a 1000 x 1000 metre square or 1 million square metres. This area can take many different shapes, such as a 10 x 100 000 m square or a 100 x 10 000 m oblong, as long as the total area is 1 million m².

Planet Earth has a total surface area of 510 072 000 km². But the total land area is only 148 940 000 km² and the rest of the surface is water. Land makes up 29% and water covers 71% of the total surface area. The largest country is Russia with an area of 17 098 242 km², while the Vatican City is our smallest country with an area of only 0.44 km².

The area of Australia is 7 692 000 km².