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Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.

1 — Framing a historical inquiry

The purpose of this sequence is to orient students to the scope and content of the unit and to the Language, Literature and Literacy learning they will be engaged in. It will also frame a historical inquiry.

Historical inquiry is the process of investigation undertaken in order to understand the past. Steps in the inquiry process include posing questions, locating and analysing sources and using evidence from sources to develop an informed explanation about the past.

Students are given an opportunity to share their own background and cultural knowledge during a co-operative quiz activity and to learn with and from each other. They will contribute to the content of the unit itself. Rich assessment tasks are discussed and timelines for their completion established.

Activity 1: What background knowledge do we have?

Set up ten activity stations around the room. At each station display one of the Quiz cards. Make available a large sheet of paper and textas of various colours. Teacher notes for the quiz cards are available if required.

In groups of two or three, students visit each station for three minutes. If students are not familiar with this kind of activity, model your expectations with one station. At each station, the students record on the paper everything they know or think, including personal opinions, about the question, topic or image displayed on the quiz card. If students disagree with a comment written by a previous group, they add their own comment in a different colour and link it to the previous comment with an arrow.  ACHASSK135

Students briefly revisit each station and read the comments written by other students. Then, with all of the students gathered in a circle, discuss the co-operative quiz activity. Pay particular attention to differences of opinion and differences in the presentation of ‘factual information’. Encourage the students to support their arguments, providing evidence, or the sources from which they have gained information or formed opinions.  ACELY1709

Introduce the historical terms and concepts of democracy, citizenship, rights, primary and secondary sources, proof and evidence.  ACHASSI133

As a class, list questions that students would like to be able to answer by the end of the unit. Divide the questions into two groups: closed questions that relate mainly to factual information and open questions that may not necessarily have one correct answer and that leave room for differences of opinion. Talk about big ideas and guide the students to ask questions of significance. For example: What rights are universal? How have the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia changed since European settlement? Who should decide what is best? Display the questions and provide regular opportunities for the students to return to them and add information (stating sources) or to discuss findings and the issues raised in a social circle using the Philosophy for Children strategy.   ACELY1709ACHASSI122

Activity 2: What do we need to know? 

Outline the unit ‘Talk about rights’ and encourage the students to be active in suggesting variations or options. Refer to Activity 1 to add questions to the unit and modify it in light of students’ background and cultural knowledge.
Introduce the summative assessment task. Discuss the group part of the summative assessment task and brainstorm questions that may need to be considered to create a timeline for the task. Encourage the students to research these questions and set aside a few short sessions each week to share and discuss information and sources.

Introduce a class wikiblog or other sharing device on which students can post contributions throughout the unit.

Activity 3: How will we know we’ve succeeded?

This is a project-based learning unit. The project is the planning, constructing, advertising and opening of a walk-through museum that provides an informed explanation about the past, related to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. It will focus mainly on land rights and The Stolen Generations.

Discuss the formative and summative assessment tasks for the unit with the students. The formative assessment task will be completed throughout Sequences 6 to 10. The summative assessment task will be due in the week before the opening of the museum. Students need to be given a copy of the Student instructions for this assessment task.