History Sample Programs

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Years 7-10 History

Stage 5, Topic 4

Australia and World War II

History Sample Programs


Officers from Curriculum K-12 Directorate worked with a number of schools on a programming project. The purpose of the project was to take the programming focus off the restrictive, often slavish, following of every dot point in the old syllabuses to focus on the big picture learning and to incorporate the elements of the Quality Teaching document into student tasks to increase the significance of the learning for students.

The programs are not lesson plans and do not contain the excessive detail and overlays of some programs that have developed in the HSIE subjects. They have a simple format that provides a small number of large tasks to cover the learn about and learn to statements for each topic.
In using these programs students take more responsibility for their learning, work more in groups and have greater choice about what case studies and examples they engage. Teachers can act more as facilitators, but will still need to intervene in the learning to teach explicitly concepts, skills and terminology when students find difficulty within particular tasks. All the tasks can be used for assessment for or assessment of learning purposes. Teachers can use the tasks to provide feedback to students and assess the products and processes of the task for the purpose of recording data that will be used for school reporting purposes. When using the tasks in these ways for assessment, there is no need to create additional assessment tasks and end of topic tests are not needed because teachers will have already the assessment information needed for school reporting.
Schools can add their own resources and vary the ICT suggestions, within the syllabus requirements, to match their school resources.
Feedback is welcomed and adjustments will be made to improve the units in response to feedback.
Other History sample programs as well as programs for Geography and Commerce can be accessed on the Curriculum Support site under HSIE 7-10 History, Geography or Commerce 7-10: Programming Ideas

Topic 4

Australia and World War II


Inquiry questions

  • Why was Australia involved in World War II?

  • What were some of the experiences of Australians as a result of their involvement in the war?

  • What was the impact of the war on the Australian home front?

  • How did Australia’s relationship with Britain and the USA change during World War II?


    1. assesses the impact of international events and relationships on Australia’s history

    2. explains the changing rights and freedoms of Aboriginal peoples and other groups in Australia

5.4 sequences major historical events to show an understanding of continuity, change and causation

5.5 identifies, comprehends and evaluates historical sources

Now easier to achieve with 1:1 laptop use as part of the Digital Education Revolution
5.7 explains different contexts, perspectives and interpretations of the past

Suggested ICT

  • create a formatted, multi-paged document as part of an historical inquiry.

Resources :

  • Defence of Australia – Anzac Day Education Resource – World War II - 2002, Commonwealth Dept of Veterans Affairs, PO BOX 21, Woden. ACT. 2606.

  • The Spirit of Anzac – Investigating a century of Army service – 1901 – 2001: Evidence and Activities. 2000 Australian Army, Ryebuck Media Pty Ltd. Commemorations Branch, Dept of Veterans Affairs, PO BOX 21, Woden. ACT. 2606.

  • Standard Stage 5 History textbooks.

Individual access to the internet now possible with wireless access

www.awm.gov.au – Australian War Memorial site


www.dva.gov.au (Department of Veterans Affairs)


www.australiansatwar.gov.au (compliments the TV series) Hard copies of the Australians at War Education Resource are available from the Australian War Memorial shop or through its online shop at: shop.awm.gov.au for $25.00 each.

Secondary Schools - Code 12453

For enquiries concerning ordering, contact the sales unit on:

Telephone: (02) 6243 4438 Facsimile: (02) 6243 4469 E-mail: esales@awm.gov.au
Suggested site studies include:

  • a local or national war memorial site

  • a local site

  • a virtual site of a theatre of war/event in World War II

  • a museum study.

All students now have the opportunity and equal access to virtual site studies

Learn abouts

Learn tos

Assessment: The activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities. Some activities might be selected and included in a school assessment schedule for assessment of learning.

Digital Education Revolution NSW

  • Australia’s involvement in WWII

  • explain the reasons for Australia’s involvement in WWII

Students can work on one document at the same time using OneNote They can import pictures and draw on them, pointing out features to each other

Posters can be created using websites such as www.glogster.com This is just one of a range of websites that allow for the development of posters online.

Teacher note:

A glossary of terms may need to be created at the beginning of the unit and added to as per need, e.g. appeasement, Australian Imperial Force (AIF), blitzkrieg, censorship, communism, conscription, enlistment, fascism, fuzzy-wuzzy angels, lebensraum, militarism, Nazi, propaganda, rationing, reparations.

Revise some terms from the WWI unit that may be relevant.

Task 1: This is a variation on Task 1 outlined in Topic 2 (Australia and World War I). If the class did this activity in Topic 2, the class can build on the knowledge obtained on WWI and determine how the reasons for Australia’s involvement in WWII were similar/different to WWI. Alternatively, this activity can be completed on WWII alone.


Task 1. Mapping and Research

As a background to Australia’s involvement in World War II, you will be researching the reasons why countries went to war.

You will be divided into groups and your group will be allocated a country to research from the following list: Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Turkey and USSR

  1. Answer the following questions:

  • Where is this country situated on a map?

  • What reasons did this country have to go to war?

  • Who was the leader of this country?

  • Who were their allies?

  • What involvement did it have in the war?

  1. Divide an A4 sheet of paper horizontally. Write your answers to these questions on one half of the paper.

  2. On the other half of the paper, write the name of your country in large letters. When asked by the teacher, display your poster on the classroom wall.

  3. Complete the Handout Countries in World War II, by obtaining answers from other students’ displays.

Task 2: Research task

  1. Using your textbook, the Internet and other resources find out why Australia became involved in WWII. You will need to consider the following:

A very useful function for larger documents with a variety of sections
Australia’s relationship with Britain.

  • Young men’s sense of adventure.

  • Perceived threats from overseas.

  • People’s views of war.

  • Pay and working conditions in 1930s.

  • Feelings of pride and bravery.

  • The enlistment campaign by the Australian government.

  1. Find some examples of recruitment posters from WWII by using your library or the following websites:

Try a range of search engines, such as Bing, Google, AltaVista, Yahoo, and Answers

  • www.dva.gov.au

  • www.australiansatwar.gov.au

Look at how the posters are set out and consider how they try to encourage young men to enlist in the armed forces.

Explain why these posters were designed this way?

Glossary of terms can be created and shared online, or emailed to all students for future use.

A private wiki could be created to allow all students to contribute knowledge and build up the glossary.

Use Google Maps and focus in on a region.

Internet searches and results provide real-time information for students

Use Microsoft Publisher to create a poster, brochure or newsletter

Use Microsoft Word or OneNote to set out your information logically.

If using OneNote, use the points listed as separate sections. You can then add pages to each section.

If using Word, you can use formatted headings then insert a contents page automatically.

  • the experiences of Australians serving in WWII, with particular emphasis on one of the following:

    • Australian nurses serving in the war

    • identify the places where Australians fought in WWII

If in doubt about copyright Issues, visit www.smartcopying.edu.au

  • the impact of the war on Australian civilians with a particular emphasis on ONE of the following:

    • bombing of Darwin

    • Japanese submarine attack on Sydney

    • internment of ‘enemy aliens’

    • significant local event or issue

    • describe the experiences of Australians serving in WWII, with emphasis on the chosen study

  • explain the impact of the war on Australian civilians with a particular emphasis on the chosen event or issue

  • wartime government controls including:

  • conscription

  • manpower controls

  • rationing

  • censorship

  • describe the controls on civilian life imposed by the wartime government

  • outline the arguments for and against such controls in wartime.

You can also create your own opening title page, credits and acknowledgements at the end of the interview. Some parts of the TV interview can be backed by music as well. Use the Adobe tutorials to familiarise yourself with the program

  • the changing roles of Australian women in WWII

  • Australia’s changing relations with Britain and the USA during WWII

  • describe the changing roles of women during WWII

  • explain how and why Australia’s relationship with Britain and the USA changed during WWII

Task 3: PowerPoint presentation

  1. Form groups of four, and select one of the following:

  • Kokoda or another New Guinea campaign, e.g. Milne bay

  • Prisoners of war, e.g. Changi

  • campaign in another theatre of war, e.g.

  • North African campaign (Rats of Tobruk, El Alamein)

  • Middle East

  • Mediterranean (Greece and Crete)

  • European campaigns in Britain, France,

  • fall of Singapore,

  • war in the Pacific e.g. Coral Sea

  • Australian nurses – served in all major conflicts.

  1. Prepare a PowerPoint presentation on your selected area. Your presentation should provide the following information:

  • A map showing where the Australians were fighting.

  • Dates of their involvement.

  • Who the Australians were fighting.

  • An outline of the major events in this conflict.

  • The significant experiences of the participants, e.g., dangers, hardships, living conditions, injuries and casualties,

  • The commanders in this conflict. Were they good leaders? How and Why?

  • Primary sources to illustrate your subject.

  • What was the outcome of this conflict?

  • How your subject contributed to the war effort.

Task 4: Empathy task – letter

1. Select one of the following to consider the impacts on Australian civilian life during WWII.

    • bombing of Darwin

    • Japanese submarine attack on Sydney

    • internment of ‘enemy aliens’

    • a significant local event or issue e.g. conscription, censorship, rationing, the Black market, changing women’s roles, e.g. the land army.

  1. For your selected topic, use your textbook, the Internet and other resources to research the effects on civilian life.

  2. Imagine you are one of those civilians living during WWII. Write a letter to a friend overseas describing your experiences. You should include:

  • A description of the event or issue.

  • A description of how this event or issue has changed your life. (Consider how life was before this event or issue)

  • Descriptions of how you feel about these changes.

  • Historical terms appropriate to the time period.

Task 5: TV panel interview

  1. Working in groups of four, list some of the controls (information, censorship, movement) that were placed on the Australian people during WWII. Draw up three columns and in column one name the control, in column two explain:

    1. Why the control was introduced?

    2. What impact did it have on the civilian population?

  2. Create an interview for post WWII radio, where the government minister responsible for these controls in WWII is being interviewed about his government’s policy.

The radio panel will consist of:

  • the journalist asking the questions,

  • the government minister

  • a panel member who is hostile to the minister

  • a panel member who is sympathetic to the government minister

Your group will need to create questions and answers for each of the panel members that show the opinion of each panel member, except for the Journalist who should be unbiased. The reasons for and against controls should be examined.

Your interview should also include some argument between members with opposing opinions. Each member will be trying to prove and justify his/her opinion. Therefore, your group should try to supply some historical evidence based on your research to support their opinions.

  1. Present this interview to the class as a role play.

Task 6: Speech

  1. Using your textbook, the internet and other resources find out about the changing roles of women during WWII and how Australia was drawn closer to the USA and away from Britain.

  2. Imagine you are a politician in 1947 who is speaking to a group of high school students at a speech day about the changes that occurred during WWII to the role of women and the now changed relationship between Australia, the USA and Britain.

Write a speech of about 350 words (two pages).

Include in your speech historical evidence where possible. Use historical terms and phrases appropriate to the time and present a coherent argument.

Some students will be asked to read their speech to the class.

Import free pictures from a range of sites such as Flickr.com

Insert sound files, video files for a more engaging presentation. Some copyright free material is available at Australian Screen and the Australian War Memorial

Create a timeline using Adobe Presenter and Flash animations

Accurately reference material used

Use Internet Explorer

Wireless access to real texts and real time information

Construct a letter using templates provided in Microsoft Word

Create a multimedia presentation depicting the interview Adobe Premiere Elements

Record the interview on the web cam and present to the class using a data projector.

See How to notes on the use and operation of a Audacity

Record the speech using Audacity (audio recording software).

Countries in World War II


Reasons for war



Reasons for alliances









HSIE AND STAGE 5 January 2005 Page of

NSW Department of Education and Training

Curriculum K-12 http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au

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