Engaging students with Australia’s Federation

I love this video. Like some of our wonderful cricketers I think many Australians are not aware of the name of our first Prime Minister. I remember learning it in Year 12 legal studies but if I hadn’t completed this subject I may not have known for a long time – or ever! In the past Australia’s political history has not been a major topic and therefore we’ve grown up somewhat ignorant of how Australia’s federation came about and the impact this has had on our society since then. With the a national curriculum in place this will no longer be an issue.

Some of the best sellers at our Teachers Pay Teachers store are our Australian Federation resources. This topic is in the Year  6 Australian Curriculum (ACHASSK134) and while it is important it can be a little bit …how shall I put this…dull. Australia’s move to federation looks remarkably civilised, it was achieved without civil war or great protest. The fist year I taught it I found it very dry and felt like I was just giving them dates and names to remember without any connection to the country we live in today. I know my students found it incredibly boring too but I just couldn’t think of a way to “rev it up”. Then we went on our first camp to Canberra and  I was amazed,and proud, to see the knowledge they had gained come to life as we visited old and new Parliament house, the National Archives and the National Capital Exhibition. I came home from camp with a whole new attitude towards this subject and was determined to make it more engaging for students so they understand and appreciate our history and can share it with others.

One way I’ve endeavoured to make this topic more interesting is by using resources that are not your standard worksheet, we have resources that require internet research, craft activities and creativity and the feedback has been fantastic. Henry Parkes and Edmund Barton can be interesting if the task requires more than just filling in the blank spaces. And studying timelines is not just putting numbers in boxes to order events. I’ve found that students who complete our resources feel a sense of pride that they have created something that looks great and is a fun way to show their learning and they like to share their work with their peers and parents.

We’re regularly adding new products to our range and try to keep product cost to a very reasonable amount (most individual items are less than a cup of coffee). If you’re looking for ways to engage students with Australian Federation then head over to our store or click on the links below.