Animating a Map for Explorer Journeys in Keynote (The First Fleet)

As an Apple Professional Learning Specialist, I am always conscious of supplying teachers with relevant and specific content that is also engaging for the children. Teachers are constantly looking for quality resources. Additionally, we need to embed the opportunity for students to grow their ICT skills, a mandatory component of the General Capabilities statement within the Australian Curriculum (and most national curricula). Developing resources that are strongly connected to curriculum outcomes help meet these objectives. Digital resources such as these are editable and can be easily modified, allowing the teacher to adapt them to meet their specific needs.

Within humanities (HASS/Social Studies), we are asked to investigate a famous historical journey. This could be one of the world's famous seafaring explorers or an explorer on land or air. In this example, we will look at the journey of the British ‘First Fleet’ and the early colonisation of Australia. This epic voyage was a journey with 11 ships carrying more than 1400 passengers over 24,000 kilometres over 250 days from Portsmouth, United Kingdom, to Sydney Cove, Australia. The method we will apply to this journey could also be applied to any historical journey on land, sea or air.

One possible way to run this with your children is to either start from scratch and run through each video (below) with them in class. This way you could all learn together.


Image of First Fleet Cover Slide

In Keynote, the children will create an animation of each journey section. In this animation, the 11 ships will travel along a path for each journey section. As the ships move, a dotted line will outline each stage of the trip. An audio recording of their voice will also accompany each trip section, playing as the ships travel that section of the journey. Additional abridged text will be added in an accompanying text box.

The best way to see how this was done is to listen to the video but also to look at the completed teacher template in Keynote (First Fleet Journey TEACHER COMPLETE) and deconstruct it concerning the animations and their timings. All the resources that you require are in the links below.


Depending on the skill level of the students, the children can either create this project from scratch (i.e. generate from a blank and new Keynote template), or you can send them the provided scaffolded First Fleet Journey STUDENT TEMPLATE (recommended) with certain content included where the children can then build the remaining content.

The Journey

  • Departure: Portsmouth (UK)
  • Stage 1: Portsmouth (UK) to Tenerife (Spain)
  • Stage 2: Tenerife (Spain) to Rio de Janeiro (City in Brazil)
  • Stage 3: Rio de Janeiro (City in Brazil) - Table Bay, (South Africa)
  • Stage 4: Table Bay (South Africa) - Botany Bay (Sydney, New South Wales)
  • Stage 5: Botany Bay (Sydney, New South Wales) - Sydney Cove (Bay in New South Wales)
  • Arrival

Required (iPad)

  • Keynote
  • Safari
  • Pages
  • Photos
  • GarageBand


  • Captain Arthur Philip's Image
  • World Map Image
  • First Fleet Arrival Image


  • First Fleet Journey TEACHER COMPLETE
  • First Fleet Journey STUDENT TEMPLATE


  • Keynote completed example (teacher resource): First Fleet Journey TEACHER COMPLETE
  • Keynote template (student resource): First Fleet Journey STUDENT TEMPLATE
  • Pages First Fleet instructions for teacher and notes for recording (also embedded in the Keynote Presenter Notes) - for audio recording by the children for specific slides.
  • Image: Arthur Phillip - Wheatley ML124 - PICRYL Public Domain Creative Commons
  • Image: First Fleet 1788.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
  • Image: World blank map.png - Wikimedia Commons

Creating the Cover Slide  

The Ships of the First Fleet

Magic Move 

The Journey Begins

Rinse and Repeat

Recording Audio 

Final Touches






4 replies

December 06, 2022

This idea could be adapted to any unit related to exploration. It also would work great to show locations in book, to trace a journey. Thanks for sharing all the details.

December 06, 2022

Yes and…add a screen shot of an Apple Map location for background and use a car, airplane or boat shape depending on location of travel to teach geography. Thanks for template. Wonderful history or geography lesson! The adding of the audio is a fantastic idea!

December 07, 2022

Thanks for the templates and video tutorials. These are helpful resources!

December 08, 2022

Love this Shane.... what a comprehensive walk-through for teachers on such a cool and relevant project! Can't wait to share 🫶🏻

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