Federation for Stage 3

In Terms 3 and 4, to complement Stage 3 students’ class work in the areas of “Gold!” (Human society & its environment) and financial literacy (Priority Schools Program), the weekly library lessons will be providing field knowledge opportunities and Guided Inquiry research activities for the subsequent HSIE unit on Australian Federation.

By way of orientation, I have found these introductory Youtube clips:

A continent for a nation – Australian Federation.

Australia – A Federation in stamps.

This next clip is certainly both persuasive and irreverent in nature:

A brief history of Australia.

We are not sure what our final product might be, but these clips may well generate some discussion of the myriad of possibilities.

Back to Antarctica

Antarctica icebergs

Stage 3 students will be undertaking a Guided Inquiry exercise this term on the topic of Antarctica. For most classes, the science & technology aspects will be part of the work taught by Ms Stockton, the RFF (Release-from-Face-to-Face) teacher, so the library sessions will emphasise the achievement of HSIE (Human society & its environment) outcomes, and will complement the field knowledge being developed in S&T.

The following useful resources were invaluable the last time the curriculum cycle visited “Antarctica”.

Antarctica (Flickr slideshow), images courtesy of Mrs Coote’s brother

Introducing Antarctica (Youtube clips)

Mawson 100421 around station

Antarctica: Being there (TaLe)

As with last year’s Guided Inquiry units, the brief clips and links will be discussed and consolidated after considering the students’ “Plus, minus, interesting” matrices, which will continue to develop the students’ note-taking skills.

Who will buy?: Buds

Flannel flowers by Sahel
Flannel flowers by Sahel, Stage 1, 2010

Once again exploring TaLe, in the quest to find engaging learning objects for the IWB to support Stage 2 in their HSIE unit, “Who will buy?”, I found this:

Buds (Code X01DA), in which the students help a farmer to win an award for business innovation. Players must start out by farming fresh flowers and selling them. The students are encouraged to think creatively to find new market opportunities and meet demand. They decide when to use equipment to make different products, such as compost and pressed flowers.

We will begin exploring this new learning object today. If it’s half as successful as Fish market: explore trading, it should be great!

More on Australia’s global connections

Further to last week’s Youtube clips for the Stage 3 students studying Global connections:

World Food Day 2011 – United Nations

Welcome to Amnesty International

Pirates of the Pacific busted by Greenpeace Australia

World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature, Australia – Adopt a tiger

Sydney 2000 Olympics Games Venues: Olympic Coordination Authority (OCA) and Olympic Roads & Transport Authority (ORTA) – International Olympic Federation.

Who will buy?

Stage 2 students are studying the topic “Who will buy?” The TaLe learning object, Fish market: explore trading is gain proving popular with the students, who are playing it on IWBs and at home. It is code X01DI on the Tale4Students site. They enjoy attempting to secure a rare fizzer tropical fish.

Buy and sell fish in trading markets in a range of Australian and New Zealand cities. Compare market prices, supply and demand. Explore a range of traders to find the best deals and open up new markets. Find a rare fish. Maximise your profit and reputation as a smart trader. This learning object is the first in a series of two objects that progressively increase in difficulty.

This Youtube video clip about a toy hovercraft uses persuasive language techniques to encourage children to want the product:

Buy me that: Helping kids understand toy ads

Magic Art Reproducer

After seeing this advertisement in US comics over many, many years, Magic Art Reproducer finally turned up in a local Magnamail mail order catalogue. Mr McLean’s mother agreed to order him one for his birthday (he was about 14), and the result was very underwhelming, especially the tiny box it arrived in! While it appears to be a large, commercial overhead projector (only just starting to become popular in schools in the 70s), it was extremely tiny and required no power source to operate.

The ad misleadingly shows the artists using the device from a distance, but the barely-visible superimposed image you are supposed to trace can only be seen on the paper if you press your eye to the viewer. (Then you can’t really control your pencil very well.) Mr McLean’s device had a hairline crack in the base, where the upright pole was supposed to connect, so there was enough wobble to be annoying. When copying a 2D artwork, the source material had to be pinned upside down on a wall. It was hopeless trying to get enough light to fall on a 3D object. The trickiest thing was directing light across the source material to illuminate the image clearly – he spent a long time trying to direct a goosenecked desk lamp at the right angle (that he had to return to to his Dad’s desk as soon as possible).

Mr McLean used the device once, then hid it in a drawer.

Global connections – developing field knowledge

The Stage 3 students are studying Global Connections in Human Society & Its Environment (HSIE) this term. These Youtube video clips are discussion starters.

AusAID in Indonesia.

World Vision distributes family kits to survivors of the Sumatra Earthquake (2009).

Australian Red Cross response – Japan Earthquake and Tsunami recovery.

Emergency aid arrives as UNICEF and partners work to restore Libya’s water system.

UNICEF and IKEA aid China earthquake recovery.

Sustaining interest!

A small class of Hearing Support students at my school joined the Learning for sustainability rap today. The boys are very excited about rapping and hope there will be other classes, from around Australia, joining the rap (“Welcome aboard, too, Canterbury PS!”). This afternoon, we got a whole lesson out of deconstructing the official “Year of Sustainability” logo. Our other Stage 3 students are deep into a “Gold” unit this term, but I went in search of a keen group to have a blogging experience. Thanks Mrs Coote and SCHC.

Sustainability logo

Hosted by the NSW DET’s School Libraries and Information Literacy Unit, this rap is aimed at Stage 3 and Stage 4 students. 2010 is the Year of Learning for Sustainability. We hope to share and learn from others about ways of living more sustainably. Teaching resources are available for downloading at:

and the first rap introductions can be found by clicking on “Task 1” at:

Even if you don’t join the rap, I hope you take some opportunities to follow its progress throughout the rest of the term. Rapping is a great way to incorporate ICT and Web 2.0 into CPPT, T&L, S&T and HSIE (to toss around a few abbreviations).

Thanks Lizzie Chase (at School Libraries and Information Literacy Unit, Ryde State Office) for this great learning & teaching activity.

The roll of the die for Stage 3

As noted in my recent post about the culminating activity for Stage 2’s science & technology unit, Bloom’s (Revised) Taxonomy now puts “Creation” above “Evaluation” (as seen in this revised diagram). In the race to the end-of-term activities, this last step can sometimes be easily overlooked, but I was determined to get to this point with both units – and we were successful!

For the culmination of this term’s work with the Stage 3 students – we’ve been studying Antarctic explorers in HSIE (human society & its environment) – I devised a journal-writing activity that relied upon the roll of a six-sided die (ie. numerals 1 to 6) to suggest each new diary entry for our student “explorers”. The students were hopefully able to be creative, while using all the essential field knowledge and skills developed by the unit.

The displayed key to the die was as follows:
1. Team member lost down crevasse
2. Dogs are hungry
3. Frostbite!
4. Sled stuck to ice
5. Clothes wet and frozen
6. Blizzard!

Each student was handed a worksheet with headings for Day 1, Day 5, Day 8, Day 10 and Day 14 (and room for more if the journalist/explorers decided they wanted to keep adventuring and create more entries, or had actually “survived” to make such a decision). Students could elect to be their team’s leader or the member in charge of documenting their expedition for posterity.

It was decided that the first roll would be common for each student in a class, with all future rolls individual to a student as they were ready to write their next entries. One group of explorers, 6D, rolled the dire “Team member lost down crevasse” option for Day 1. 5B began their expedition with the threat of “Frostbite”. 6W got off to a slow start, meeting a “Blizzard!” on Day 1. The teacher and teacher-librarian then made their way around the room, rolling the fates of the explorers for the rest of their journal entries.

It was certainly a fun activity! All three classes were engrossed, and there was a flurry of insightful observations and good use of field knowledge. As the individual journals took on their unique twists and turns, the students began to realise how much they were at the mercy of the elements (and Lady Luck) in the harsh Antarctic environment. Losing team members down crevasses, and having to put their personal reactions into a such short diary entry was often quite confronting, especially if the journal might be the only way that news would get back to loved ones.

Not to trivialise the trials of genuine explorers, there were still a few examples of an ironic, begrudging hilarity, as one student began an incredulous string of bad luck with “Frostbite!”. Another was snowed in by a raging “Blizzard!” for much of his diary (“I paid $30,000 to sail to Antarctica and I’m stuck here in my tent!”) Another student learned of the dangers of ignoring ravenously hungry sled dogs the hard way.

Stage 3 students can often be quite jaded about aspects of their learning, but it was a pleasant surprise today hearing one group, whose teacher had been absent for the simulation game, excitedly remember the highlights of last week’s lesson. Roll on our next term’s (complementary) unit: “Wild Weather and Natural Disasters” for science & technology.

The students write:

Day 1 and we’ve lost a team member. Everyone is sad and nobody wants to talk. We had a quiet dinner and then went straight to bed. Nothing special happened. Just quietness. Captain wrote a letter to his wife. He cried quietly while he did this. We hope it never happens again.”

Day 10: My sled is stuck against the ice again and again. I have an idea! We will unpack some of our equipment and put it into the backpacks…”

Day 5: Today there is a raging blizzard and it is worse than any of us could have imagined. It is freezing cold and we can’t see anything in front of us. I think we will have to stay inside our shelter.”

Introducing Antarctica

Stage 3 students will be studying Antarctica this term during HSIE. These Youtube videos introduce the topic.

“Potty pioneers”:
A sketch from the BBC television series, “Horrible histories”, based on the best selling books by Terry Deary. In this segment, Antarctic explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott, checks his equipment before setting off to the South Pole… just to make sure it’s completely useless.

Horrible histories – Scott of the Antarctic

Even the natural weather sounds on the soundtrack on this one is informative:

Onboard The National Geographic Explorer In Antarctica, 2008

Icebergs, glaciers, snow, ice and water:

Antarctica: Icebergs, glaciers, snow, ice and water

Lots of Antarctica information, including the “Race to the Pole”, is at Antarctic Connection.

Introducing British colonisation

4/5P is studying the British colonisation of Australia. Here are four Youtube clips that should prove useful to introduce the topic.

1980s television commercial for Old Sydney Town:

Old Sydney Town commercial [1980s]

Here is Old Sydney Town in October 2001 (mere months before the famous historical theme park was shut down). Captured here in the form of digital stills, this presentation shows all the features of one of Australia’s longest running theme parks:

Old Sydney Town (digital stills)

Historic Houses Trust has uploaded several useful video clips on the early days of Australian colonisation to Youtube:

200 years ago, convicts at Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks didn’t have lighters or matches to light their pipes. See how to light a fire the hard way:

A convict started a fire

Convicts sent to Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney weren’t always lucky enough to be issued with socks. And to make matters worse, their shoes weren’t even specifically made for the right or left foot. See what they did to ease the pain:

A convict without socks