Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Great Historical Showbags

Students will choose a person who has been linked to significant events in Australian history and will explore this person through a showbag. The showbag must inform and entertain an upper primary group. Another 5/6 class will come into the room and partake in the great showbag alley sharing at the end of August or after the holidays (depending on how it all goes and how busy we get). The grade 5 students will be focusing on Australia at the time of early invasion and the 100 year period after this, whereas the grade 6 students will be focusing on personalities to do with the development of Australia as a nation particularly after 1900. They need to focus on their person's  achievements,  how  they have been represented in history (via primary and secondary documents), how we judge the achievements of "great people" and to what extent historical events have been influenced by individuals. Some of the individuals under the microscope so to speak at the moment include Edmund Barton, Henry Parkes,   Mary  MacKillop, Eddie Mabo, Vida Goldstein, Tuganini, Sir Douglas Mawson, Ned Kelly. Tomorrow we will discuss what could make up the contents of a showbag.  Imagine the bag below entitled: All You Need to Know About Ned But Were Afraid to Ask or Walking on Thin  Ice,  or Vida was la Vida!  The possibilities for the Great Historical Show Bag Expo are endless!
John Flynn by OF

Showbag by LS and BS
Vida Goldstein showbag by VL

Weary Dunlop by AD

Peter Lalor bag by AW

Students have all been given at least one piece of background information on their person.We have also watched two interesting DVDs, one on Sir Douglas Mawson, and one on Eddie Mabo, and also some clips from the ground-breaking documentary series called  First Australians, which clearly gives the viewpoint of the aboriginal people on what the landing of the First Fleet meant to their way of life and existence. I also read the book called the First Fleet written by Alan Boardman and illustrated by Roland Harvey. Students have also been busy decoding graphs showing the make up of, numbers and destinations of convicts in Australia.

We brain stormed possible avenues of exploring their histotical figure as a class. Most students have begun the process with the production of a timeline in order to get an overview of their person:


Excerpt from OF's timeline on Sir Douglas Mawson

Extract from Mawson timeline by OF

Extract from Ned Kelly timeline by TR

Excerpt from MH's Timeline on

Timeline and preplanning by OF
Here are some extracts from the very stunning timeline by EC on Edith Cowan:

Peter Lalor Timeline by AW

diary enty about a typical day in their life

a jigsaw, drawing complete with a description (the boxes students know how to make from a previous maths lesson)

Truganini by NS
Suffragette hat worn by Vida Goldstein by VL

Well done AS: first cab of the rank so to speak
A very dashing Captain Arthur Phillip by GE

an informative bookmark (students were shown some examples)

Bookmark by TR

Bookmark by JS


 We discussed generalisations and the fact that no person is entirely good or bad.

a PowerPoint of PhotoStory or an animation (if they are feeling ambitious)

Then and Now showing how every day things have changed since the time their Australian figure lived



a placemat - with headings Resilience, Perseverence, Getting Along, Organisation and Confidence
We all did a practice one on Sir Henry Parkes in groups of 3 or 4 today, as a example of how to do the task. (Friday 24th August) Students had to do some research and list things he did which exemplified these qualities  under the respective  headings.  
William Wentworth by MH

Truganini by NS

Henry Lawson by GK

John Flynn and the Keys to Success by OF

The face of...an inkwork with words and symbols depicting the life and times of their significant historical figure

The face of Eddie Mabo by KB
Weary Dunlop by AD

Add caption
Mary Mackillop 

The face of Peter Lalor by AW
A brilliant representation of Vida Goldstein by VL

Plasticine model showing detail of the dress code of the day (Plasticine available, preliminary sketch and notes are essential before beginning the model)

Sir Donald Bradman by BS and LS

Sir Henry Parkes by AK
Edmund Barton by TM
Edmund Barton by TM
Captain Arthur Phillip by GL

Vida Goldstein by VL

Sir Donald Bradman...revamped, apparently the original was too skinny

Ned Kelly by TR

Sir Donald Mawson by OF

John Flynn by OFW
Mary Mackillop

Weary Dunlop

Eddie Mabo


cartoon  strip or a graphic noivel about a significant event in their person's life.

wordfind/crossword (Programs available online for these)
Eddie Mabo Wordfind by KB

William Wentworth Wordfind by MH

newspaper article:
by JS

advertisement advertising their character for sale stating their good points or
advertising their cause
William Wentworth by MH

Advertising Vida Goldstein by VL

This was a great idea by AW

information poster (cartridge avialable in the classroom)

Poster by LS and BS

Parallel charts showing life then versus now

a menu

Students can negatiate other activities such as diaoramas for example.

Today (August 29th) we watched Ned Kelly Uncovered and I think the students found it really brought history to life. We discussed how Kelly can be seen as both a hero and a villain and we discussed the fact that not everybody's interpretation of history is the same, even the views of eminent historians can differ quite markedly. Many of our significant Australians currently under the microscope are complex people with varied characteristics who cannot be simply viewed as good or bad. One of the students is currently working on a Ned Kelly Plasticine model and another students helped him design the armour Kelly wore  using the DVD as inspiration.

Sketch up of Kelly armour by BS
UPDATE: last week of term: well done to VL, OFW, GL, AW and TM for their presentation in the end of term assembly, reporting on the showbag progress. 

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful work and a fantastic way for kids to learn about the past.