History sample unit

Download 52.62 Kb.
Size52.62 Kb.

History sample unit 

The Australian Colonies

Stage 3

Duration: Two terms (20 weeks)

Unit description

Key inquiry questions

This topic provides a study of colonial Australia in the 1800s. Students look at the founding of British colonies and the development of a colony. They learn about what life was like for different groups in the colonial period. They examine significant events and people, political and economic developments, social structures and settlement patterns.

  • What do we know about the lives of people in Australia’s colonial past and how do we know?

  • How did an Australian colony develop over time and why?

  • How did colonial settlement change the environment?

  • What were the significant events and who were the significant people that shaped Australian colonies?


Historical skills

Historical concepts

HT3-1: describes and explains the significance of people, groups, places and events to the development of Australia

HT3-2: describes and explains different experiences of people living in Australia over time

HT3-5: applies a variety of skills of historical inquiry and communication

The following historical skills are integrated into the lesson sequences:

Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts

  • respond, read and write to show understanding of historical matters

  • sequence historical people and events

  • use historical terms and concepts

Analysis and use of sources

  • locate relevant information from sources provided

  • compare information from a range of sources

Perspectives and interpretations

  • identify different points of view in the past and present

Empathetic understanding


  • identify and pose questions to inform an historical inquiry

  • identify and locate a range of relevant sources to support an historical inquiry

Explanation and communication

  • develop historical texts, particularly narratives and descriptions, which incorporate source material

  • use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written) and digital technologies

The following historical concepts are integrated into the lesson sequences:

Continuity and change: some things change over time and others remain the same

Cause and effect: events, decisions or developments in the past that produce later actions, results or effects

Perspectives: people from the past will have different views and experiences

Empathetic understanding: an understanding of another’s point of view, way of life and decisions made in a different time

Significance: the importance of an event, development or individual/group

Contestability: historical events or issues may be interpreted differently by historians


Teaching, learning and assessment


Reasons (economic, political and social) for the establishment of British colonies in Australia after 1800 (ACHHK093)

  • Brainstorm the sources that may tell us about the establishment of British colonies in Australia after 1800. Teachers may need to suggest a range of primary and secondary sources, websites, etc and discuss the question: How do we know about this period?

  • Discuss life in Britain during the Industrial Revolution and how it led to the British government setting up colonies in Australia after 1800, using visual images if possible, eg drawings of convict ‘hulks’, images of poverty, crowded and poor city housing, pollution.

  • Generate and compose key ideas and images by mind mapping around the three main categories of reasons: economic, political and social. Key causes may include the Industrial Revolution, poverty, overpopulated cities, crime and punishment (including transportation).

  • Class discusses the concept of ‘cause and effect’, creating a sequence chart showing visually the link between major causes and effects.

Group students for a research activity. Each group is to investigate one of the following factors that led to British colonisation:

  • economic

  • political

  • social.

The group must include at least three sources of evidence used in their research. Each group reports their findings back to the class. Create a classroom display as a record of learning.

  • Sequence significant events that led to the establishment of British colonies in Australia and create a timeline that is then annotated or Illustrated by the class.

Australian government website:


Dictionary of classroom strategies K–6 BOS (mind mapping)


The nature of convict or colonial presence, including the factors that influenced patterns of development, aspects of the daily life of inhabitants (including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) and how the environment changed (ACHHK094)

  • Revise and review students’ understanding of the relationship of Aboriginal peoples and the land. Provide an overview of the lifestyle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples prior to British colonisation. Students should be encouraged to read a selection of stories written by Aboriginal authors, including stories of the Dreaming.

  • The teacher leads the discussion on the diverse relationships between Aboriginal peoples and the British.

  • Describe some of the consequences of British invasion for Aboriginal people.

Choosing a specific incident/situation, provide students with relevant background material. Role play the situation, allowing for a range of perspectives to be included. Discuss why different groups or individuals may view the incident/situation differently. How might this affect a history being written about it?

Assessment activity 1

Students write a journal entry from the perspective of both a settler/convict and an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, including possible scenarios that may have occurred.

  • Invite a guest speaker (an ideal example would be an Aboriginal ranger from a local national park) to discuss the impact on the environment of European settlement.

  • Discuss the number of introduced species (both animal and plant) that have impacted on the Australian environment since European settlement. Students discuss the extent of the impact and suggest solutions.

Invasion and Resistance Kit – BOS

Aboriginal stories

Teacher reading: The Other Side of the Frontier by Henry Reynolds, 1990

Dictionary of classroom strategies K–6 BOS (journal writing)

The Convict Years 1788–1830 by Michael Dugan, MacMillan

The impact of a significant development or event on a colony; for example, frontier conflict, the gold rushes, the Eureka Stockade, internal exploration, the advent of rail, the expansion of farming, drought (ACHHK095)

  • Create a timeline of significant events or developments in Australia in the nineteenth century. Timelines can be created using Timetoast website.

  • In small groups, students investigate one significant event or development that shaped Australia’s identity. Groups could conduct an in-depth study using the jigsaw strategy and report their findings to the class, or the class may select one event to study in greater detail. Investigations should involve using a range of sources.

Assessment activity 2: Empathy exercise

Students consider the significant event/development that they researched and choose a character who may have lived through that time. They write a diary or journal entry from the perspective of that character, describing their life and the impact of the event/development.

When writing an empathy activity, it is important for students to be immersed in the period under study. They will require details of life at the time, such as housing, transport, work, food, beliefs and clothing, through visual sources, artefacts, stories and ICT. They will need to be introduced to some of the historical terms and concepts from that time and be encouraged to use them in their own work.

Once students have some historical background, the following may help them to ‘pad out’ their character:

  • Who are you? An actual historical character or a fictional character?

  • Why do you have a story to tell?

  • Are you male/female, old/young?

  • Do you have a family?

  • Where and how do you live?

  • What is your daily routine?

  • How does the event/development affect your life?

Some possible characters could be a convict, wealthy landowner, poor gold-prospector, bushranger, squatter or Aboriginal drover.

Dictionary of classroom strategies K–6 BOS (jigsaw strategy)


National Museum Australia: www.nma.gov.au/education-kids/classroom_learning/multimedia/interactives/gold-rush

National Library of Australia: http://treasure-explorer.nla.gov.au/collectionitem/gold-rush

Australian government website: http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-farms-and-farming-communities




The reasons people migrated to Australia from Europe and Asia, and the experiences and contributions of a particular migrant group within the colony (ACHHK096)

  • Read The Arrival by Shaun Tan. This text tells a migrant story through a series of wordless images. A man leaves his family to seek better prospects in an unknown country, where he must find housing and employment.

  • Discuss how and why people from all over the world have made Australia their home, focusing on how their lives and experiences have influenced all aspects of Australian life.

  • Identify the European and Asian countries from which people migrated to Australia during the nineteenth century and the reasons for their migration.

  • Students work individually or in pairs to investigate the contributions that particular migrant groups made within the colony. Relevant aspects of colonial life may include:

  • Discuss how the arrival of people from different societies created a cultural diversity that is now an integral part of Australian society and identity.

  • Use technology to document the experiences of a particular migrant group and the contributions they made to society.

  • Create a graphical representation of the countries from which migrants originated.

Australian government website: http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/changing-face-of-early-australia

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

The role that a significant individual or group played in shaping a colony; for example, explorers, farmers, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, humanitarians, religious and political leaders and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples (ACHHK097)

  • Use a range of sources to investigate the role of one significant individual or group in the shaping of a colony.

  • Develop a concept map of the significant role the individual or group had in shaping our colony.

  • What were the significant events? Why and how were they significant?

Assessment activity 3

Students prepare an oral presentation on an individual or group that played a significant role in shaping a colony. Their presentation must communicate how and why their role was significant. They respond to questions at the conclusion of the presentation.

  • Following the presentations, students vote on the most significant individual or group and explain why they are significant.

Explorers: www.teachers.ash.org.au/jmresources/achievers/explorers.html

Aussie Educator – Famous Australians: www.aussieeducator.org.au/reference/general/famousaustralians.html

National Gallery of Australia:


Assessment overview

  • Ongoing assessment – student understanding may be assessed through the use of observational checklists, anecdotal records and analysis of contributions to class discussions.

  • Students complete a variety of work samples, including designated assessment activities. When completing designated assessment activities, students engage in peer assessment based upon jointly derived criteria for activity completion. Students will undertake self-assessment of their learning in relation to the assessment criteria in these activities. They will also receive peer and teacher feedback through the use of an evaluation sheet.

Assessment activity 1

Students write a journal entry from the perspective of both a settler and an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, including possible scenarios that may have occurred.

Assessment activity 2

Students choose one significant event that shaped Australia’s identity. They write a diary or journal entry from the perspective of someone who lived through the event.

Assessment activity 3

Students prepare an oral presentation on an individual or group that played a significant role in shaping a colony. Their presentation must communicate how and why their role was significant. They respond to questions at the conclusion of the presentation.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page