“Australia only became a nation in 1901, but over time has accrued many symbols to represent itself”. “Symbols are invariably inscribed with multiple meanings; people will interpret them in different and sometimes contradictory ways. These meanings are not fixed but can change over time. Symbols go in and out of fashion. Some endure, others fade away, and new symbols emerge”- from site.
The site: This site offers all the tools that a teacher needs in order to engage students and allow them to develop a deeper understanding of Australia’s Identity, and as a result meet the relating indicator. Titled ‘Symbols in a Suitcase’ – students interact with physcial objects that have given/ influenced Australia, and their current identity e.g. vegemite, a Holden car and the Australian flag. The page offers expert explanations of ten of Australia’s main symbols, a teacher can explore and use this content to enhance lessons. Further,there are links provided to pdfs or external pages which provide teachers with lesson plans that relate to the ‘symbols in the suitcase’. Note: A teacher can create a suitcase relevant to the age group of the students in their class.
Literacy: In my opinion students are already engaged with this resource, however, to provide deeper understanding and engagement a teacher can use one of the links provided on the page e.g. http://www.nma.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0014/240170/symbols-activities.pdf; A class discussion occurs about how the symbols in the case may have developed and changed overtime, they then think deeply about what symbols they believe represent current Australia. In groups students create an advertisement via a poster for an overseas tourist market. The teacher assesses the successfulness of students learning by the level of understanding demonstrated by the students in their advertisement.
Literacy: As homework students select five symbols that represent themselves and write a short description about how they shape their identity, if possible students bring an item into class for the follow up lesson. Students present their symbols to the class e.g. their football logo, a place they have visited etc. A question/answer session occurs between the teacher, the presenter and the students, where students begin to develop their intercultural understanding skills (Board of Studies NSW, 2006, p.13). Through this discussion the teacher assesses all student understanding; i.e. what a symbol is and how it has shaped their identity.
Board of Studies New South Wales. (2006). Human Society & Its Environment K-6. Sydney, Australia. Board of Studies NSW.
National Museum Australia. (No Date). Symbols in a Suitcase. Retrieved April 10,2013 from http://www.nma.gov.au/education-kids/classroom_learning/activities/symbols