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Activity 3

Name: Individual family totem.


Level: Year level 4.
Learning area: History.
Context: Whole class and individual work.

Activity description
This activity has been created to inform students about the kinship structures of Indigenous people. This
activity will begin with the country, kinship and identity video where students will gain an understanding
of totems and their importance in developing an identity for Indigenous people. Students will then read
the Aboriginal totems facts sheet to understand the significance of a totem and how Indigenous people are
connected to their heritage, culture and land. Following this the students will select an animal, plant or
landscape feature that that represents them, their family and their community. The students will then
combine these three features to create an individual family totem. Once the students have developed their
design they will hand make this totem using clay. An explanation of the totem will then be constructed on
the ShowMe application where students will verbally record their voice and use whiteboard features to
present their totem to the class. This activity will allow students to gain an understanding of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander kinship structures, family totems and the interconnected community which
encompasses their culture.

Activity process and questions


1. To begin this activity a KWL chart will be created on the whiteboard to gain an understanding of
what students know about Indigenous kinships and what they would like to know by the end of the
activity.
2. Following this, the country, kinship and identity video will be played to the whole class.
3. The teacher will construct a series of higher order thinking questions for a discussion after the video
o What are totems?
o What can totems be?
o Do all Indigenous people have totems and why?
o What elements are the totems made up of?
o Why do you think it is important for Indigenous people to have totems?
4. The students will then individually read the Aboriginal totems facts sheet to support their
understanding of totems.
5. In their history journals the students will select a totem which represents them, a totem which
signifies their family and something that connects them to their community.
6. The students will combine these three totems to create one family totem pendant.
7. This pendant will be carved from clay with a toothpick or carving tools. Once dry this will be hung
on string as a necklace.
8. Students will then use the ShowMe application to explain the design and significance of the
pendant to them.
9. They will show this short presentation to the whole class.
10. To summarise the activity the KWL chart will be used as a recording instrument to review what was
learnt during the lesson.

Student background knowledge


Students have an understanding of:
o How important country and place are to Indigenous people (Year 3, ACHHK060).
o Ways in which they connect with and protect the land.
o Using technology tools to express a concept effectivly (Year 3, ACHHS071).
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Learning objectives
By the end if this activity students will have the ability to:
1. Identify the kinship structures that encompass the Indigenous culture.
2. Explain the importance of a totem to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity.
3. Elaborate on and connect with the kinship structures of the Indigenous with the experiences and
features of their own lives.
4. Design and create a pendant totem which represents an individual, their family and their
community.
5. Use technology tools to explain thinking process behind the design of the pendant to the class.

Learning intensions
In the activity today we will be learning:
1. The kinship structures of Indigenous communities.
2. The Indigenous connection to the land.
3. What totems mean to Indigenous people.
4. Why people should protect their totem.
5. How significant totems are to the identity of Indigenous people.

Curriculum content descriptions


History:
Historical Knowledge and Understanding: First contacts:
o The diversity of Australia's first peoples and the long and continuous connection of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to Country/ Place (land, sea, waterways and skies) and the
implications for their daily lives (ACHHK077).
Elaborations:
o Examining early archaeological sites (for example Nauwalabila, Malakunanja, Devils Lair, Lake
Mungo, Preminghana) that show the long and continuous connection of Aboriginal Peoples to
Country.
o Mapping the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language groups in Australia, with
particular emphasis on the local area and state/territory.
o Investigating pre-contact ways of life of the Aboriginal people and/or Torres Strait Islanders; their
knowledge of their environment including land management practices; their sense of the
interconnectedness of Country/Place, People, Culture and Identity; and some of their principles
(such as caring for country, caring for each other and respecting all things).
o Studying totems in the lives of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples and examining the
differences between their totems.
The Arts
Visual arts:
o Explore ideas and artworks from different cultures and times, including artwork by Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander artists, to use as inspiration for their own
representations (ACAVAM110).
Elaborations:
o Identifying and explaining choices in art making, including forms, styles and visual conventions in
their artworks, and influences of other artists on their artworks.

General capabilities
Literacy:
o The literacy element of this activity is in the form of a verbal explanation of the family totem in
which the students have created. The students will use the ShowMe application to verbalise their
explanation and justification of their individual totem.
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Information and communication technology (ICT) capability:


o A variety of ICT tools have been incorporated in this activity in the form of a video, research tools
and communication devises. Students will have the opportunity to use these resources to extend
and present the knowledge they have gained throughout the activity.
Critical and creative thinking:
o Critical and creative thinking has been incorporated within this activity to allow students to express
their knowledge of totems and apply this to their own lives by developing a totem which represents
them, their family and their community.
Intercultural understanding
o Throughout this activity students will be exposed to the kinship structures that encompass the
Indigenous tradition. Students will use these concepts to apply them to their own lives and
experiences.

Cross curriculum
Aboriginal and Torrs Strait Islander histories and cultures:
o This activity has been developed for students to gain an understanding of the kinship structures of
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders people (OI.7, OI.8). Students will then use the knowledge
they have gained to form a traditional Indigenous totem which represents them.

ICT processes and skills


To complete the activity students will need to have:
o Basic operational skills.
o Efficient use of the internet.
o Navigation capability.
o Ability to upload photos.
o Knowledge for using IPad applications.

Assessment for, as and of learning


Assessment for learning:
o Peer feedback and questioning techniques will be used throughout the activity to ensure that
students are performing at their best ability. The peer and teacher guidance will allow students to
move their learning forward.
Assessment as learning:
o The learning intensions of the lesson will be identified through the KWL chart completed at the
beginning of the lesson. The teacher will ask the students during the activity if they have achieved
all they want to know by the end of the lesson. This will motivate students to become owners of
their own learning.
Assessment of learning:
o The ShowMe presentation will allow the teacher to gain an understanding of what the students
understand about totems and Indigenous kinship structures.

Risk assessment
o During the activity the school and classroom rules will be followed at all times.
o There will be no food or drink allowed near the laptops or iPads.
o If students are allergic to the clay, they will be given gloves or an alternative option to create their
totem.
o Toothpicks and clay manipulating tools will be used appropriately throughout the activity.
o First aid kit will be on-hand if an injury does occur.

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Materials and resources


Country, kinship and identity video:
This video has been selected to inform students about the kinship structures of Indigenous tribes and the
use of totems to form the identity of new generations.

Aboriginal totems facts sheet:


Students will read the Aboriginal totems fact sheet to develop their knowledge of totems and why they are
important to Indigenous culture.

Clay and carving tools to make the totem pendant:


Clay and carving tools will be provided for the students to create their totem pendant. Their totem will be a
combination of three significant elements which will form their individual family pendant.

ShowMe application:
This information and communication tool has been selected for students to use to inform the class about
their individual totem. Students will upload a picture of the totem they created and use the whiteboard to
physically draw on and verbally discuss and present their family totem.

Differentiation of learning
Blooms taxonomy:
o Higher order thinking questions have been incorporated throughout this activity to extend students
knowledge of the kinship structures of Indigenous tribes as well as the significance of their totems
(Whitton, Barker, Nosworthy, Sinclair, & Nanlohy, 2010).
Multiple intelligences:
o Multiple intelligences have also been incorporated throughout this lesson through linguistic, visual,
tactical, interpersonal and intrapersonal means. This will allow all students to connect with the
learning outcomes in their preferred manner (Armstrong, 2009).
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Constructivist learning:
o Through the theory of constructivism students will connect with kinship structures through their
own families, traditions and experiences. This will allow students to connect the learning intensions
of the activity to their own lives (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2010).

Evaluation
o Was the hands-on activity selected suitable to extend students understanding of Indigenous
kinship?

o Did the students enjoy using the ShowMe presentation tool?


o Is there another document that could be used in conjunction with the Aboriginal totems fact sheet
to enhance gifted students learning?

o How could students of different abilities be further catered for during the lesson?
o What could be improved to extend students knowledge in this area?

References
Armstrong, T. (2009). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (3rd ed.). Alexandria VA: Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. (n.d.). Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from
http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/
Central Tablelands Local Land Services. (2014). Aboriginal totems. Received from
http://www.envirostories.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014TTT/Totems/ES2014-CTLLS-TotemsWEB.pdf
ShowMe. (2015). Create beautiful tutorials with the tap of your finger. Retrieved from
http://www.showme.com/
Public Record Office Victoria. (2012). Country, kinship and identity. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPSEAxGGDHE
Whitton, D., Barker, K., Nosworthy, M., Sinclair, C., & Nanlohy, P. (2010). Learning for teaching: Teaching
for learning (2nd ed.). Melbourne, VIC: Cengage Learning Australia Pty Limited.
Woolfolk, A., & Margetts, K. (2010). Educational psychology (2nd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson
Australia.

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