This term I had to teach an inquiry unit on colonisation and the gold rushes during 1800’s for Year 5. Throughout the unit I used a range of different teaching strategies. I have kept the teaching strategies in this blog broad, so that you can apply them to a range of different history topics and for different year levels.
This task is great to determine what students already know. Students sit in groups with a piece of A3 paper. Each group has a different coloured marker. Groups write what they know about a topic (ie colonisation between 1788 and during the 1800’s). Groups then pass their piece of paper to the next group. The next group reads what the previous group wrote and can only add new information. Continue the process until all groups have received all pieces of paper. This activities generates a hive of discussion.
Historical Image Analaysis
Choose 2 different painting which represent two very different ideas from the historical time you are teaching. For example, I chose this painting and this painting for my colonisation inquiry unit. Before you ask students to analyse the images generate class discussion by posing ‘I wonder’ questions such as:
- I wonder who created this primary source
- I wonder, where does your eye go first
- I wonder if you can see anything that you didn’t expect
- I wonder what feelings and thoughts does the primary source trigger in you
- I wonder what questions does it raise
- I wonder what was happening during this time period
- I wonder what was the creator’s purpose in making this primary source
- I wonder what does the creator do to get his or her point across
- I wonder what is missing
Then allow students time to reflect on the images themselves. Ask students to record; (1) What facts can they gather from the image? (2) Describe what you see (3) What do you think the artist’s message is? (4) Do you think the image is reliable? Why or why not?
Picture books can be great for all year levels, just because students get older, doesn’t mean they don’t like picture books. For my unit I used two. The first was called ‘Rabbits’ by John Marden and Shaun Tan. You can view the picture book online via YouTube by following this link. The other book I used prior to this was ‘My Place’ by Nadia Wheatly and Donna Rawlins.
The Iceberg Visual Tool
When you consider an iceberg, 90% of its volume (and mass) is underwater. The 10% you see is above the surface. When students analyse an historical event, they tend to like to stay above the surface. They will research and note the when, who and where but will often miss the deeper questions, the volume under the water. Questions to encourage students to search ‘under the water’ might include: (1) What contributed to the events? (2) Who contributed to the outcomes? (3) What was going on behind the scene?
We all know the benefits of games, but quite often it is difficult to find learning games, especially for History. I like to use the learning games from Scootle. For my unit, I chose a learning game from Scootle called ‘Gold Rush‘. During this game, students had to purchase supplies, pay for a licence, mine for gold and manage their money. They learnt a lot about what life might have been like on the goldfields.
A Scaffold for Research
With access to the internet, it is tempting for students to copy and paste, they know they shouldn’t be often find themselves doing it. So what can you do to help reduce this erg? I like to give my students a table like the one below:
Previously I blogged an example of how I used Class OneNote for teaching a unit on bush fires. Below, is a video demonstrating how I used Class OneNote for a unit of work on the Australian gold rushes and the Eureka stockade.