Terra Nullius? The Very Early Years
An integrated unit for Stage 2
The unit from which this is derived was first developed by Stage 2 teachers using a range of learning activities previously devised and trialled by an ESL lecturer working with students and teachers in the classroom. It was originally designed to encourage and promote discussion among students and development of their language skills. Students are presented with a range of problem-solving situations that reflect the significant events of the colonisation of Australia. Through discussion, students make choices which they must then justify. The teacher assesses students by listening to how they articulate their choices, how they answer questions about the reason that events happened the way they did, and the historical consequences of those events.
This unit attempts to increase students’ understanding of how it is possible for history to be presented from different points of view.
Another feature of the unit is the use of visuals. Conceptualising the past is difficult for Stage 2 students; visuals enable them to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the past. Visuals are also a mechanism for promoting classroom discussion which is both descriptive and critical.
The five learning sequences within this unit are both broad and detailed, and are intended to be taught over a two-year stage. Teachers could choose to begin at any of the learning sequences, depending on the students’ prior knowledge and experience. As another way of helping to present the range of perspectives addressed in this topic, teachers might consider supplementing an existing unit with one or more discrete learning sequences from this new unit on Invasion and Colonisation.
The selection of the initial sequence of historical events has been designed to enable students to make comparisons between the cultures, and to appreciate their similarities as well as the differences between them before colonial contact took place. Year 3 students examine Aboriginal and European cultures before 1788, with the learning sequence concluding with Cook’s journey and the concept of terra nullius. In Year 4, students begin to examine the early development of the penal colony and the often violent interactions between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures.
Areas of Integration
The unit aims to promote student learning through the integration of outcomes across four key learning areas. The HSIE content of the unit provides the context for integration of English, Creative Arts and Mathematics outcomes.
Outcomes being addressed in this unit
Talking and Listening
Talking and Listening
TS2.1 Communicates in informal and formal classroom activities in school and social situations for an increasing range of purposes on a variety of topics across the curriculum. Skills and Strategies
TS2.2 Interacts effectively in groups and pairs, adopting a range of roles, uses a variety of media and uses various listening strategies for different situations.
Reading and Viewing Texts
RS2.5 Reads independently a wide range of texts on increasingly challenging topics and justifies own interpretation of ideas, information and events. Skills and Strategies
RS2.6 Uses efficiently an integrated range of skills and strategies when reading and interpreting written texts.
Context and Text
RS2.7 Discusses how writers relate to their readers in different ways, how they create a variety of worlds through language and how they use language to achieve a wide range of purposes.
NS2.1 Counts, orders, reads and records numbers up to four digits
DS2.1 Gathers and organises data, displays data using tables and graphs, and interprets the results
MS2.1 Estimates, measures, compares and records lengths, distances and perimeters in metres, centimetres and millimetres...
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