AHM BlogLesson Planning:

Australian History Lessons for Year 10 Students

Posted January 2017

We’ve made planning your Australian history lessons easy with our rich online resources for Year 10 students. The Australian History Mysteries secondary website includes a range of interactive case studies that have been designed specifically around the Australian Curriculum: history as outlined below:

Year 10 Level Description

The modern world and Australia

The Year 10 curriculum provides a study of the history of the modern world and Australia from 1918 to the present, with an emphasis on Australia in its global context.

The twentieth century became a critical period in Australia’s social, cultural, economic and political development. The transformation of the modern world during a time of political turmoil, global conflict and international cooperation provides a necessary context for understanding Australia’s development, its place within the Asia-Pacific region and its global standing.

The content provides opportunities to develop historical understanding through key concepts, including evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability. These concepts may be investigated within a particular historical context to facilitate an understanding of the past and to provide a focus for historical inquiries.

Key inquiry questions

  • How did the nature of global conflict change during the twentieth century?
  • What were the consequences of World War II? How did these consequences shape the modern world?
  • How was Australian society affected by other significant global events and changes in this period?

Overview content for the Modern World and Australia includes the following:

  • The inter-war years between World War I and World War II, including the Treaty of Versailles, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression (ACOKFH018 – Scootle)
  • Continuing efforts post-World War II to achieve lasting peace and security in the world, including Australia’s involvement in UN peacekeeping(ACOKFH021 – Scootle)
  • The major movements for rights and freedom in the world and the achievement of independence by former colonies(ACOKFH022 – Scootle)
  • The nature of the Cold War and Australia’s involvement in Cold War and post-Cold War conflicts (Korea, Vietnam, The Gulf Wars, Afghanistan), including the rising influence of Asian nations since the end of the Cold War(ACOKFH023 – Scootle)

Australian History Mysteries Lesson Plans

You simply need to introduce the lesson/activities to your students, encourage them to tackle the group or individual tasks and assess their progress.

Your students will be stimulated by the variety of resources and activities including:

  • Video, picture and object analysis
  • Matching images, documents, events and consequences
  • Archaeological diagrams
  • Site studies
  • Family history timelines
  • Reading graphs and charts
  • Decision-maker games
  • List compilations
  • Sequencing and sorting photos and events
  • Creating and interpreting timelines
  • Quizzes
  • Extension tasks

Teachers can assess each of the tasks by viewing students’ PDF, online lesson worksheets and ‘game-playing’.

Overview Depth Study

Great Depression — Testing images of the Great Depression 

This unit provides a way of introducing students to the social impacts of the Great Depression on Australia in a simple, entertaining and challenging way. Its aim is to help students be more aware of the variety of experiences and the complexity of the factors involved in determining how people were affected by the Depression. It does this by using an empathic approach to the period, while still tackling it in a historically accurate way.

Case Study lesson plan structure:

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Activity 1: What is your image of the Great Depression?
    Completing a Great Depression survey
  • Activity 2: Becoming a family in the Great Depression
    Forming groups to become different families in the Depression
  • Activity 3: Visiting the scene of the events
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 4: Responding to the Great Depression as your family
    Exploring 25 situations in family groups
  • Activity 5: Understanding an image of the Great Depression
    Investigating one historian’s view of the Depression
  • Activity 6: How might the National Museum of Australia represent this historical theme?
    Exploring key objects in the museum which illustrate the case study theme
  • Appendix: Teacher’s Great Depression score sheet

Depth Study: World War II (1939-45)

Students investigate wartime experiences through a study of World War II in depth. This includes a study of the causes, events, outcome and broader impact of the conflict as an episode in world history, and the nature of Australia’s involvement.

Overview of the causes and course of World War II (ACDSEH024 – Scootle)

  • Examination of significant events of World War II, including the Holocaust and use of the atomic bomb (ACDSEH107 – Scootle)
  • Experiences of Australians during World War II (such as Prisoners of War (POWs), the Battle of Britain, Kokoda, the Fall of Singapore) (ACDSEH108 – Scootle)
  • The impact of World War II, with a particular emphasis on the Australian home front, including the changing roles of women and use of wartime government controls (conscription, manpower controls, rationing and censorship)(ACDSEH109 – Scootle)
  • The significance of World War II to Australia’s international relationships in the twentieth century, with particular reference to the United Nations, Britain, the USA and Asia (ACDSEH110 – Scootle)

Australian History Mysteries Resources:
Why did the Government lie about the bombing of Darwin?

Students investigate one of the most significant episodes in Australia’s Second World War experience. Why was the bombing of Darwin ‘hushed up’ by the government? Was there a warning that was ignored? Was there looting and cowardice by soldiers? Was 19 February 1942 Australia’s ‘great day of shame’? Students visit the sites, analyse the maps, interrogate witnesses, sequence the events, and come to their own conclusions.

An interactive entitled, The Bombing of Darwin, is also available for this case study.

Case Study lesson plan structure:

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Activity 1: Fire! What do you do?
    Understanding the main concept(s) raised in the case study
  • Activity 2: Images of war
    Examining the strengths and weaknesses of photographs and a painting as evidence
  • Activity 3: Video visit
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 4: An inquiry
    Examining the behaviour of key people during this event using a variety of evidence
  • Activity 5: Was it right for the government to lie?
    Determining arguments for and against the government’s decision to lie about the bombing of Darwin
  • Activity 6: Creating images in wartime
    Assessing four paintings of the event

Interactive historical decision-maker

It is February 1942. A Japanese attack on Australia is expected. Can you prepare Darwin’s defences and protect Australia from this attack?

What are the mysteries of Maralinga?

Students explore an important Australian Cold War event that is often overlooked in Australian history: the testing of atomic weapons in Australia in the 1950s. They ask what it reveals about the Australia in which it occurred and in doing so explore both their own values, and develop an empathetic understanding of the values and attitudes of Australian society during the Cold War. Students also investigate the effects of nuclear testing on Aboriginal people from that area and ongoing debates about responsibility and compensation since that time.

An interactive entitled, Cold War Timeline, is also available for this case study.

Case Study lesson plan structure:

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Activity 1: What is your image of ‘the bomb’?
    Understanding the main concept(s) raised in the case study
  • Activity 2: Video visit
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 3: Group reports
    Examining a range of attitudes to issues relating to the testing of atomic weapons in the 1950s and 60s
  • Activity 4: Outcomes and today
    Coming to a conclusion about the impacts of atomic testing in Australia

Interactive historical decision-maker

Cold War timeline
A timeline of some significant international Cold War events, including events that involved Australia.

Depth Study Rights and freedoms (1945 – present) 

Students investigate struggles for human rights in depth. This will include how rights and freedoms have been ignored, demanded or achieved in Australia and in the broader world context.

  • Background to the struggle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for rights and freedoms before 1965, including the 1938 Day of Mourning and the Stolen Generations (ACDSEH104 – Scootle)
  • The significance of the following for the civil rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: 1962 right to vote federally; 1967 Referendum; Reconciliation; Mabo decision; Bringing Them Home Report (the Stolen Generations), the Apology (ACDSEH106 – Scootle)
  • Methods used by civil rights activists to achieve change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and the role of ONE individual or group in the struggle (ACDSEH134 – Scootle)

Australian History Mysteries Resources:
Coniston Massacre — What happened at Coniston in 1928? 

In 1928 at least 31 and possibly more than one hundred Indigenous people were killed near Alice Springs after a local dingo trapper was found dead. A Government Inquiry found the killings were justified. Were they? How can such a terrible event have happened? Students investigate the evidence to try to establish the facts, and to understand the attitudes, values and clash of cultures that made these events possible.

Case Study lesson plan structure:

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Activity 1: Understanding a key concept
    Understanding the main concept(s) raised in the case study
  • Activity 2: Visiting the scene of the events
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 3: Examining key evidence
    Examining and interpreting evidence from the time 
  • Activity 4: Representation and commemoration
    Analysing representations and commemorations and drawing conclusions

How have Indigenous people’s citizenship rights changed over time? 

Students explore the evidence to critically discuss the issue of Australians’ attitudes to Indigenous rights and racial equality. They explore how the apparent racism revealed by the 1965 Freedom Ride in places such as Walgett and Moree can be reconciled with the overwhelmingly positive example of the 1967 referendum. Or how the apparent hostility of many towards the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972 can be reconciled with the awarding of equal pay to Aboriginal pastoral workers in 1966 and the adoption of the Racial Discrimination Act in 1975. The case study also compares the Yirrkala people’s claim to legal ownership of their land in 1971 and the Mabo case in 1992.

An interactive entitled, The 1967 Referendum, is also available for this case study.

Case Study lesson plan structure:

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Activity 1: Focusing on rights
    Understanding the main concept(s) raised in the case study
  • Activity 2: Video visit
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 3: Decision makers
    How have Indigenous people’s rights developed over time? Decision maker
  • Activity 4: Case Study 1: 1967 Referendum
    An historical case study for analysis and discussion by the whole class
  • Activity 4: Case Study 2: Mutual obligation
    Two contrasting case studies

Interactive historical decision-maker

The 1967 Referendum — What do they tell us about Australian attitudes? 
Students decide whether the 1967 Referendum should be included in a ‘human rights hall of fame’ by looking at a range of evidence and a range of different views. Does it deserve a place along with such events as women obtaining the right to vote in Australia in 1902 and the Mabo High Court decision of 1992?

Depth Study: The environment movement 1960s – present

  • The background to environmental awareness, including the nineteenth century National Parks movement in America and Australia (ACDSEH028 – Scootle)
  • The intensification of environmental effects in the twentieth century as a result of population increase, urbanisation, increasing industrial production and trade (ACDSEH125 – Scootle)
  • The growth and influence of the environment movement within Australia and overseas, and developments in ideas about the environment including the concept of ‘sustainability’ (ACDSEH126 – Scootle)
  • Significant events and campaigns that contributed to popular awareness of environmental issues, such as the campaign to prevent the damming of Australia’s Gordon River, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl and the Jabiluka mine controversy in 1998 (ACDSEH127 – Scootle)
  • Responses of governments, including the Australian Government, and international organisations to environmental threats since the 1960s, including deforestation and climate change(ACDSEH128 – Scootle)

Australian History Mysteries Resources:
What happened to Juanita Nielsen? 

Students investigate the murder mystery of Juanita Nielsen, a prominent Sydney activist in the 1970s, who opposed the development of the historic Victoria Street in inner Sydney. They must decide who killed her and why. The focus of the case study is to use her death to put the society of the time under the microscope — the green bans, union rivalries, political corruption, a powerful criminal presence, police involvement, clashing egos and an emerging environmentalism movement.

An interactive entitled, Who killed Juanita Nielsen? A cold case, is also available for this case study.

Case Study lesson plan structure:

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Activity 1: 20 Questions
    Understanding the main concept(s) raised in the case study
  • Activity 2: Meeting Juanita Nielsen
    Investigating photos as accurate representations of people and events 
  • Activity 3: Video visit
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 4: ‘Becoming’ a witness
    Key witnesses involved in the events surrounding the disappearance of Juanita Nielsen
  • Activity 5: Questioning the witnesses
    Formulating questions to ask the witnesses and making connections between the evidence
  • Activity 6: Your editor’s instructions
    Writing a magazine or newspaper article about the Juanita Nielsen disappearance

Interactive historical decision-maker

Who Killed Juanita Nielsen?
Students attempt to work out who killed Juanita Nielsen from the evidence provided in order to come up with a prosecution report. They must consider all the evidence along the way from a variety of key witnesses.

Depth Study: Migration experiences (1945 – present)

  • The waves of post-World War II migration to Australia, including the influence of significant world events (ACDSEH144 – Scootle)
  • The impact of changing government policies on Australia’s migration patterns, including abolition of the White Australia Policy, ‘Populate or Perish’(ACDSEH145 – Scootle)
  • The impact of at least ONE world event or development and its significance for Australia, such as the Vietnam War and Indochinese refugees(ACDSEH146 – Scootle)
  • The contribution of migration to Australia’s changing identity as a nation and to its international relationships(ACDSEH147 – Scootle)

Australian History Mysteries Resources:
Snowy Hydroelectric Scheme — A melting pot of different nations? 

The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme is always presented as the beginnings of, and a triumph for, multiculturalism in Australia. If it was, how were former enemies able to work together apparently so successfully in a new community? How were tensions, even hatreds, overcome? Focusing on some specific case studies, students investigate a number of possible explanations and draw their own conclusions about the scheme.

Case Study lesson plan structure:

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Activity 1: How do you solve this problem in the school?
    Understanding the main concept(s) raised in the case study
  • Activity 2: Background to the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme
    Exploring sources to understand the Scheme 
  • Activity 3: Background to Australia’s post-war immigration policy
    Using background information and evidence to draw first impressions 
  • Activity 4: Visiting the scene of the events
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 5: Making a decision: why were the Snowy workers able to work together?
    Examining statistical data and testing ideas against evidence 
  • Activity 6: The Snowy Scheme – a case of multiculturalism or assimilation?
    Categorising different sources of evidence 
  • Activity 7: How might the National Museum of Australia represent this historical theme?
    Looking at existing interpretative objects and suggesting others that might tell more of the story

Vietnam — Can you be a Vietnam War ‘Myth Buster’?

There are many aspects of the Vietnam War that are popularly accepted. This unit puts them to the test. Did Whitlam bring the troops home? Were returning soldiers splattered with paint? Did Australians oppose the war? Were protesters just scruffy university radicals? Were soldiers forced to go to Vietnam? The unit introduces such themes, and lets students be the ‘myth busters’ by providing them with evidence that will support or refute each claim. They make the decisions!

Case Study lesson plan structure:

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Activity 1: What is a ‘myth’?
    Understanding the main concept(s) raised in the case study
  • Activity 2: Discovering people’s images of the Vietnam War?
    Conducting interviews and recording information 
  • Activity 3: Visiting the scene of the events
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 4: Testing evidence about some ‘myths’ of Australia in the Vietnam War
    Summarising findings and developing skills to critically analyse the myths