Delving deeper into history

Australian Curriculum

Activity: Apply deep knowledge to the teaching of Australian History.

Year 4

The key inquiry questions at this level are:

  • Why did the great journeys of exploration occur?
  • What was life like for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples before the arrival of the Europeans?
  • Why did the Europeans settle in Australia?
  • What was the nature and consequence of contact between Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples and early traders, explorers and settlers?

Year 9

The key inquiry questions at this level are:

  • What were the changing features of the movements of people from 1750 to 1918?
  • How did new ideas and technological developments contribute to change in this period?


Write down 3 ‐5 dot points about why students might find the teaching of Australian History challenging.

In small groups, draw a mind map of what might be included in these lessons in their content areas.

The mind map might include: first contacts, Aboriginal warriors, Colonial expansion, Pemuluwuy, Walya, Musquito, Tedbury, Jandamarra, Cook, Collins, Frontier Wars, Penal colony, Free settlers, convicts.

Select several concepts from the map and assign them to small groups for discussion.

Have a speaker from each small group address the whole group to present what the group has discussed.

Gain feedback from the class in relation to whether this activity changed their ideas about whether the teaching of Australian history might be challenging and whether it has assisted them to complete the assessment task. Clarify if necessary.

Use a mind map

Using a mind map in this instance is valuable in that visual cues help us to better recall and remember information; words are abstract and often difficult for the brain to retain, whereas visuals are concrete; the effective use of visuals can decrease learning time, improve comprehension, enhance retrieval, and increase retention; and abstract concepts can benefit from images, when course creators use visual metaphors (McDaniel, M & Einstein, G 1986 & Meier, D 2000).


McDaniel, M & Einstein, G 1986, ‘Bizarre imagery as an effective memory aid: The importance of distinctiveness’, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 54‐65.

Meier, D 2000, The accelerated learning handbook, McGraw‐Hill, NY.