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Duration and pathways: Using this unit in the classroom

The unit of work is designed around 12 lesson sequences, which are divided into three main sections: using evidence to recreate ancient Rome, exploring factual texts on ancient Rome and exploring fictional texts on ancient Rome. There are a number of different ways teachers can explore and adapt this unit.

Each of the 12 learning sequences in this unit is approximately 1½ hours long. The unit integrates English with the Year 7 History elective ‘Ancient Rome’. It is primarily designed to achieve English content descriptions; however, the texts studied will also enable students to achieve some relevant History content descriptions.

The unit is designed to be taught in three main sections, ideally chronologically, but able to be explored out of sequence. Each lesson sequence contains detailed information to support teachers in delivering the content; however, more experienced teachers might choose to navigate the unit flexibly, selecting and adapting content to suit the needs of their students. As a unit designed to support teachers in implementing the new curricula, there is a necessary element of teacher-driven pedagogy. The unit becomes more student-driven in some of activities and especially in the summative assessments, where students have creative freedom to develop a factual and fictional text of their choice.

Sequences 1–3

The first three learning sequences set the context for how authors have recreated and imagined ancient Rome. They enable students to explore the challenges and responsibilities associated with developing texts using evidence from an ancient past. These sequences would also work well as an introduction to the Australian Curriculum History elective on ancient Rome.

Sequences 4–6

The next three learning sequences focus on the work of authors who have imagined ancient Rome using factual texts. Students study a conventional information text, a ‘faction’ text and then a hybrid text. Ideally these three learning sequences would be taught in sequence so students can understand the creative development associated with modifying the conventional information text format. The three sequences can, however, be taught as a mini-unit that focuses on the use of factual texts within the topic area of ancient Rome.

Sequences 6–12

The final six sequences in the unit focus on the work of authors who have imagined ancient Rome using fictional texts. This section starts with a three sequence novel study based on The Assassins of Rome, which could also be taught as a stand-alone unit. Teachers should allow for additional class (and perhaps homework) time in order to read the novel, as the sequences do not incorporate allowances for reading time. The novel study focuses on the development of character and setting within the context of ancient Rome. However, you could extend the novel study further and discuss the challenges of dramatising a novel into a movie, as it has been turned into a children’s TV series in the UK. The final three sequences in the unit focus on the creativity of fictional authors and illustrators who have adapted and interpreted surviving literature and architecture from ancient Rome for modern audiences. These sequences focus on poetry and visual narrative and could also stand alone as a separate unit of work.


The summative assessment task asks students to produce one factual and one fictional text based on ancient Rome. In order to complete the assessment, students should undertake at least one factual text study from sequences 4 to 6 and one fictional text study from sequences 7 to 12. However, students who study all nine sequences will have more breadth and scope in terms of both their understanding and their production of the assessment, because they will have closely studied a variety of innovative and interesting texts.