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My Country's Growing Pains

My Country's Growing Pains

Unit Summary

In this simulation, students travel back in time and experience life through the eyes of people at the Victorian goldfields in different circumstances and with different perspectives. The students will be encouraged to compare and reflect on the lives of individuals during this time and to understand the impact events from this era had on the development of society as we now know it. Comparisons will also be made with life between time eras.

Curriculum-Framing Questions

  • Essential Question
    Growing Pains – how do they hurt?
  • Unit Questions
    How can we learn from our history?
    What has made our country special?
    How was Eureka the first sign of “mateship” in Australian society?
    How did people arriving from different lands affect our way of life in areas such as dress, food, religion?
    What impact did our early history have on the development of this nation?
    Which era in Australia’s history would you like to have been a part of? Why?
    How did the gold rush impact on Victorian society?
  • Content Questions
    What would life have been like on the goldfields?
    How did the gold rush in Victoria start?
    Who came to the Gold Rush?
    Where did the Gold Rush occur?
    What happened at the Eureka rebellion?
    What would have been the advantages and disadvantages of living in Gold Rush times?

Assessment Processes

View how assessment is used in this unit plan. These assessments help students and teachers set understandable goals, monitor student progress, provide feedback, assess thinking, performance and products and reflect on learning throughout the activities.

Prerequisite Skills

Students Prior Knowledge

  • Prior knowledge from previous history units will be required for a number of tasks so that comparisons can be made. We have studied units on Convicts, First Fleet, War Time (WW1) and Pioneers. Weekly sessions in the computer lab will be used to enhance students’ ICT skills enabling them to manipulate text, images and display survey data if necessary.
  • Seek assistance from school ICT technician on how to set up sharing folders and internal email for students.
  • Unit Plan time, PD sessions and staff meetings will be used to help with the sharing of key findings. Also, articles could be posted on the Intranet and server for access and discussion by all.

Teachers’ Professional Learning
Articles/Books of Professional reading:

  • Pohl, M (2000) Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn. Cheltenham, Vic: Hawker Brownlow Education.
  • Wilks, S (2005). Designing a Thinking Curriculum. ACER Press.
  • McGrath, H & Noble, T. (2005) Eight Ways At Once. Pearson Education.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

  • Whole class, discussions and activities – creating class charts, reviewing and writing reports, texts, reflection cards.
  • Providing scaffolding through small group work utilising: teacher assistance, peer mentoring
  • Planning and research strategies will be emphasised
  • Brainstorming
  • Compare and contrast lives of different people in the same time era and different time eras

Higher order thinking skills

  • Use of graphic organisers – time lines for events leading to the Eureka Stockade, Venn Diagrams for classification and comparing between life in different times in history
  • Planning scaffolds, Thinkers keys, Blooms Taxonomy, Gardener’s Multiple Intelligences, Y Charts, PMI, KWL charts, Question Matrix
  • Whole class sharing sessions to share information and research sources with the class.
  • Students working in pairs and independently to research and produce independent tasks.
  • Students utilising their planning strategies to produce their projects.
  • Conferencing with the teacher.
  • Peer and self evaluation.
  • Multi media presentations
  • Technology suiting the task rather than the task suiting the technology
  • Embedded assessment

The unit will culminate in a camp at Sovereign Hill (http://www.sovereignhill.com.au/*).

Teaching and Learning Activities

1.  Introduction to the Unit: Without telling the children, the teacher will role-play as if teaching in the 1850’s. The content of the lesson, delivery, classroom management and discipline, materials for class work will be modelled. After a period of time the children can discuss what they experienced and come up with suggestions as to what they thought the role play was all about. Leading from here, the link to the period in time can be illustrated. Children complete a KWL chart.

2.  Blooms Activities: Students work in groups or individually. They select and work on up to three activities from each of the 6 level, and create a learning log as they work. For many of these activities, group wikis could be used to record student research and ideas about particular topics. The Webpage Evaluation (doc) support document will guide students in their selection and assessment of websites for research.

For the level Remembering, students choose from:

  • Internet Scavenger Hunt: Children are given a set of questions to answer by accessing given links from the Sovereign Hill site and to selected pages and sites on the internet. Try to find as many answers as possible.
  • Construct a time line to represent the discovery of gold in Australia.
  • Explain the different methods used to search for gold.
  • How did the gold rush start?
  • Find out what a miner’s licence was and what problems it created.
  • List common crimes on the goldfields and try to find out what penalties were imposed by the police or courts. Compare this to today.
  • Find out as much as you can about the following problems that were caused by the gold rushes: transport, food supplies, labour shortage, lawlessness.
  • Make a crossword or word search about a theme related to the gold rush

For the level Understanding, students choose from:

  • Life for women and children on the goldfields was often difficult. Explain some of the problems they had to face.
  • Write a diary depicting life as one of the following - a gold digger, a child on the goldfields, a trooper, a Chinese prospector, the gold Commissioner, a bushranger.
  • Discuss the events that led to the Eureka rebellion.
  • Compare different types of mining.
  • Compare the life of a trooper to those in charge of convicts or present day police.
  • On a map of Victoria, mark where the goldfields were.
  • Make a cartoon strip depicting a day in the life of a miner or bushranger.
  • Give examples of how the discovery of gold affected the lives of Aboriginal people.

For the level l Applying, students choose from:

  • Make a diorama about a period in history of your choice.
  • Build a model of a gold mining settlement.
  • Create your own miniature setting of one of the following - bushrangers holding up a coach, convicts working in a chain gang, soldiers in WW1, the Eureka stockade, passengers on the First Fleet.
  • Design your own miner’s licence. Make it look authentic as possible.

For the level Analysing, students choose from:

  • Write and perform a play based on your choice of time in history. Consider period clothing and speech.
  • Look at the mining techniques up to modern day. What are some of the major changes and how have these occurred? Write your findings and draw or find pictures to support them.
  • What changes in the population and social structure of Australia can be attributed to the gold rushes? Research and graph the population changes.
  • Prepare and deliver a report on the social changes – eg influence of Chinese on the goldfields, effects of sudden wealth, separation of families etc.
  • Research a bushranger of your choice, write a biography and make a wanted poster for them.
  • Prepare, tape and deliver a news flash about one of these events – the Eureka Stockade or a rich gold strike. Explain why you think some people became bushrangers.
  • Imagine you live on the goldfields and have left your family back home. Write a letter to tell them of your experiences.
  • Make an advertisement or brochure for Sovereign Hill and explain why this is an important tourist attraction.
  • The Chinese people successfully mined gold at various locations including Ballarat. Explain why this was so.
  • Think about your school experiences and compare them with those of children on the goldfields. In what ways are they similar and different? Create a wiki (doc) to record your research and ideas.

For the level Evaluating, students choose from:

  • Prepare a case to present your views on the miner’s licence.
  • Debate the question that the miners at the goldfields faced greater adversity than early settlers.
  • Which time in history had the harshest conditions for families? Explain your view.
  • Do you believe Ned Kelly should have been hanged? How would you have handled his trial and punishment?
  • Rate/judge the living conditions/opportunities for Australians now and in the gold rush times (or other period in history).
  • Find some recipes from the pioneer days. Prepare a meal. Discuss whether this food was nutritious and hygienically prepared.

For the level Creating, students use a series of key dates and events and create a ‘rap’ song about the history of Australia (or just the history of gold in Australia).

3.  Thinker’s Keys: Infusing Higher Order Thinking into Content. The following section is based on Thinker’s Keys* developed by Tony Ryan http://www.tonyryan.com.au/home/innovation/thinkers-keys/*

Students will negotiate with their teacher which Thinkers Keys Activities that they will work on individually. They will need to take into consideration their learning styles, areas of interest and ability to locate the resources needed. Each student will record their intentions in their Learning Log and record their findings there if appropriate; they will also need to record their personal reflections about the tasks they have just completed. These tasks will be conducted concurrently with their Bloom’s tasks: whilst waiting for their group members/partners to complete their parts of the tasks, homework activities, ‘early’ finishing activities, etc.

Some of the tasks are also to be completed as a whole class, eg. Alphabet Keys completed in Literacy Block; Disadvantages Key completed in Writing Block.

The Reverse Name ten things that you would never have seen in the Gold Fields.
The ‘What if …?’ What if each digger found lots of gold? What would happen to the value of gold?
Alphabet Compile a list of gold rush or historical Victoria words, ranging from A – Z.
The BAR Improve the design of a normal, everyday shovel/spade.
The Construction Build a model of a small gold mining town.
The Disadvantages What are the disadvantages of ‘panning’ for gold?
Different Uses Name a variety of different uses for a piece of heavy, waterproof material.
The Prediction Pretend that you are a digger in the 1850’s. Predict what would have been a normal day.
The Ridiculous Try to justify this statement:
People who find gold should give all of their gold to charity and keep none for themselves.
The Commonality Name some similarities between a shovel and a tent.
The Inventions Invent an object that would have been very useful for the diggers.
The Alternatives What tools could a digger have used to help him/her find gold?
The Question Write five questions that would have this answer:
Many people came from all over the world to join in the ‘gold rush’ mania.
The Brainstorming Within three months, the population around Ballarat increased dramatically. What things would the government of the time have needed to take into consideration?
The Forced Relationship How might you use a pen, a fork and a plate to find gold?
The Combination List and then combine some of the qualities of a gold pan and a metal detector in order to improve the design of either one.
Interpretation Give some possible reasons why someone would have died while mining.
The Brick Wall What are some things that a person could do to improve their chances of finding gold?
  1. Wiki
    As indicated in the Bloom’s tasks, students will publish their work on a prepared (private) wiki (doc). Students will create their own page with the view of receiving comments, suggestions from the public (parents).
  2. Multimedia Presentation
    My Time In History (ppt)
    Students work in groups to select from a list of characters from history (eg Captain Arthur Phillip, Joseph Banks, a convict, a gold-miner, a free settler etc) and create a multimedia presentation demonstrating their life and the difficulties they faced.
  3. Publication
    Gold Fever (doc)
    Students work in groups of four to develop a Newspaper or Newsletter with a minimum of four ‘topical’ stories from the time of the goldfields. A minimum of three images must also be included.
  4. Scenarios for problem based extension activities
    1. Understanding needs
      You are a Sydney store keeper who has come to the goldfields to make your fortune. In order to be successful you must understand the needs of all those who live there and sell the goods that are essential to them. Unfortunately the space in your tent is limited and you can only display 10 items each week.

      Using the information you have collected about women, the Chinese, Aboriginal people, children and miners on the goldfields, draw up a list or inventory of 10 goods you will sell each week during your first month. Justify your choice of each of these items. Remember that the season may affect your decisions.

      • As food is already being sold by another vendor do not include it in your inventory
      • If you were to compile an inventory for groups settling in a remote area today which items would you include and why?
    2. Have your Say
      You are the editor of the local Goldfields newspaper and want to introduce a new feature entitled "Have your say!" In this feature you intend giving each of the various groups living on the goldfields the opportunity to express its view on what is important to it and explain why. You are interested in the opinions of women, Chinese people, Aboriginal people, children and miners. As the newspaper is small there is only space for one paragraph from each group.

      Consider all the things you have learned when writing your paragraphs. Each paragraph should include a topic sentence and be between six and eight lines in length. You may wish to or create your own newspaper page using Microsoft Word*

    Accommodations for diverse needs

    Students with special needs

    • Use of Gardener’s Multiple Intelligences
    • Open ended questioning
    • Peer coaching and support
    • Pairing of technologically more able students with those less able – within the grade
    • Supporting adults or older students
    • Modified equipment and programs
    • Activities organised on rubrics at different levels of complexity

    English as a second language (ESL) students

    • Use of visual aids to demonstrate learning put into place.
    • Strong buddy groups set up.
    • Extra help from peers.
    • Appropriate resources including Internet sites; a variety of ways available to demonstrate their learning, support personnel, help of peers

    Gifted Students

    • More challenging tasks, extended investigation in related topics of the learner’s choice
    • Open-ended tasks or projects that allow for deeper analysis and evaluation of issues.
    • Activities organised on rubrics at different levels of complexity.
    • Creation of their own rubrics will allow greater ownership of their learning.
    • The class website in particular could be used to showcase work from gifted students
    • Opportunities to act as mentors.

    Indigenous Groups

    • A deeper look into the effects of European settlement and the gold rushes on the indigenous population.

    Janet Hayes participated in the Intel® Teach Essentials Course, which resulted in this idea for a classroom project. A team of teachers expanded the plan into the example you see here.

    © State of Victoria 2008

    Janet Hayes attended an Intel® Teach Essentials course and provided the idea for this portfolio. A team of teachers expanded the project. Copyright is owned by the Crown in right of the State of Victoria. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for study or training purposes, subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source and no commercial usage or sale. Reproduction for the purposes other than those indicated above requires the written permission of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and copyright should be addressed to the Liability Management Manager, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2 Treasury Place, Melbourne, VIC, 3002. The State of Victoria accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any part of this material and bears no responsibility for any modifications made.

    * Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

My Country's Growing Pains

At a Glance

Years: 3 & 4

Subjects: Humanities, English, Communication, Thinking, The Arts, Civics & Citizenship, Interpersonal Development

Time Needed: Integrated across the curriculum for a period of 12 weeks