Teacher Plan for Aboriginal Cross-Cultural Awareness Program


WeekTeacher and student activities
Week 1

Background research of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture before invasion by the Europeans (extracts from Living off the Land: Book 1 – Invasion). Students:

  • read and reported back to share notes with rest of class.

Played the game My Patch (On the Track, p 22). Students:

  • discussed how they felt when their 'patch' was taken away;
  • related this to how Aboriginal people felt with the invasion of the European settlers.

Excursion to Margate Aboriginal Centre. Students:

  • participated in session involving Gumnuts to Buttons kit and looked at the concept of invasion;
  • drew pictures about parts of the map they were given and included things like foods eaten, shelters that might have been built and plants and animals in that area;
  • reflected on our feelings when our pictures were ripped up.

Task 1: Write a report about your feelings during the Gumnuts to Buttons game at Margate.

Week 2

In science we followed up an earlier unit on natural resources and the environment by looking at the land management issue.

We read selected extracts from Towards a New Dreaming (p 8, pp 20–4) and discussed:

  • how the Aboriginal people were able to live in harmony with the land;
  • how they were able to maintain a healthy environment.

We then looked at European land management and the impacts settlement has had on the environment. These included:

  • farming, tree felling and overgrazing;
  • introduced species;
  • reduction and pollution of water resources;
  • damage to the land;
  • how we have created pollution and produced waste;
  • how we have used more resources.

We came to the conclusion that by studying how the Aborigines were able to work with nature we could begin to repair the damage caused by 200 years of European settlement.

Task 2: List the problems caused by European settlement.

Shared reading of 'A Just Punishment' (Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Upper Primary Collection, pp 40–1).

Week 3

We explored the concepts:

  • People own land
  • The land owns the people (On the Track, p 14).

We discussed:

  • Which group would hold which viewpoint?
  • Why did European settlers see the Aborigines as having no ownership of the land?

Task 3: From your knowledge of Aboriginal culture what view do Aborigines have of the land and how does this differ from the European settlers' viewpoint?

Through reading and writing activities we explored and discussed the concept of inequality (Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Upper Primary Collection, 'Different Laws for Different People', pp 4–5; Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Middle Primary Collection, 'Equal Opportunity', pp 18–19).

Week 4

Task 4: In small reading groups read 'From Little Things Big Things Grow' (Australian Readers Discovering Democracy Upper Primary Collection, pp 38–9).


  • discussed what the Gurindji people were making a stand about;
  • read newspaper articles about them (Towards a New Dreaming);
  • read and researched about Eddie Mabo and used the information to write a report about what was significant about him in relation to the Aboriginal fight for land rights (About Aboriginal People, pp 9–10).

Small group computer activity (Stories of Democracy CD-ROM, 'Native Title Act' – Eddie Mabo).

In SOSE we looked at different strategies people use (Discovering Democracy Upper Primary Units, Handout 16, p 145) and listed the strategies Vincent Lingiari and Eddie Mabo used.

Task 5: Research and construct a timeline of significant events in relation to the land rights issue.

Week 5

Do people have the power to change situations that are unjust?

We investigated the 1965 Freedom Ride (Discovering Democracy Upper Primary Units, pp 117–120) by:

  • undertaking the 'Tuning in' activity;
  • reading the introduction to the 1965 Freedom Ride;
  • viewing the Discovering Democracy Primary Video.

We discussed issues such as:

  • How would the children have felt before the students came?
  • And after they came?
  • What changes did they bring to the Aboriginal children in the town? (as suggested on p 118 of 'People Power').

We then listed some of the injustices that the Freedom Riders wanted to change and the strategies they used.

After a second viewing of the video, we:

  • filled in the People Power matrix (Upper Primary Units, Table 1, p 118);
  • looked at newspaper articles (Upper Primary Units, Handout 2, p 130).

Students were asked to imagine themselves as a journalist covering the story of the Freedom Ride.

Task 6: Write a piece for the newspaper or a news report for television which tells the reader/viewer about the Freedom Riders.

Using Handout 2, we discussed what news articles needed to include:

  • headline;
  • lead sentence;
  • two or more sentences that include important points about the Freedom Ride; at least one sentence about the effectiveness of the student actions.
Week 6

A shared reading of 'Where Are the Children?' (Two Rivers, p 68–75) was followed by discussions on:

  • what the poem is about;
  • the issue of separation – the separation of families and how students would feel if they were taken away from their families.

We then viewed Rabbit-Proof Fence (released 2002).

Task 7: Write a review of the film.

Week 7

On the topic of reconciliation the students:

  • shared views about what it means;
  • completed a 'vision map' (Australian Council for Reconciliation), and jigsaw task;
  • cut out pieces and then discussed what each point meant;
  • listed suggestions on the board (Towards Reconciliation: Activities for Reconciliation Week, pp 19 and 23).

Task 8: Write your own view of what the vision statement means.

Week 8At school assembly we sang songs about: Aboriginal identity ('Searching For Who We Are'); belonging to the land ('I Come From the Spirits'); and reconciliation ('We'll Travel Together', which talks about a journey of healing for the Aboriginal people).
Book Week celebrationsBook Week/NAIDOC Week celebrations: As a culmination of our Aboriginal unit of work the class group presented a performance of prose and songs in the school library and hall for visiting high school students, parents and primary students. Discovering Democracy materials and class artwork were also featured at this time.