HSIE Stage 1: The Aboriginal relationship to the land and ways of caring for the land
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The Rainbow Serpent

Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories, Story by Dick Roughsey, Narrration by David Gulpilil, Soundtrack by Andrew Vial Photographed and edited by Alexander Cochran, A...
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The ways in which Aboriginal people relate to and care for the land are heavily influenced by an intricate system of spiritual beliefs known as the Dreamtime. An understanding of the Dreamtime is thus necessary to recognise the importance of the land for Aboriginal people and appreciate how it provides them with a sense of belonging. In the above Youtube clip, David Gulpilil narrates Dick Roughsey’s interpretation of “The Rainbow Serpent”, one of the most spiritually significant Dreamtime stories. The book recounts the tale of a great snake called Goorialla, who covered a flat and barren land with hills, mountains, animals, trees, creeks and rivers.   

 

As Watts (2005) contends, art offers “valuable lessons, both practical and philosophical, that other subjects cannot provide.” To help students acquire a deeper understanding and appreciation of the story, have them produce a pictorial depiction of how the Earth was transformed by the Rainbow Serpent’s journey. This could take the form of a before and after picture created using crayons or paint and accompanied by some of the descriptive words and phrases that were heard in the video. To assess their understanding of the content, ask students to discuss what they have drawn and explain how they have depicted the transformation of the country by the Rainbow Serpent.

 

Watts, R. (2005) Attitudes to Making Art in the Primary School. International Journal of Art & Design Education. 24 (3), 243–253.

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Indigenous landcare - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Indigenous landcare - Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry | HSIE Stage 1: The Aboriginal relationship to the land and ways of caring for the land | Scoop.it
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This section on Indigenous landcare from the website of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is a valuable resource for teachers planning lessons aimed at educating students about the enduring relationship Aboriginal people have with the land. It contains several examples of how Aboriginal people today use a combination of modern and traditional practices to care for the environment. For instance, a group in Gipsland replanted native vegetation around a burial site that had been exposed because of wind erosion, while the Wagiman people established sustainable grazing systems on traditional Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory.

 

Teachers can use the examples set by the Aboriginal people mentioned on the website to inspire and educate their students about caring for the environment. Chatzifotiou (2006) emphasises the importance of a hands on approach to environmental education where young children learn the knowledge and skills needed to care for the land through active participation. To that end, students should be given the opportunity to partake in activities such as planting trees, removing weeds and composting. Like the initiatives undertaken by the Aboriginal groups on the website, these activities will improve the local environment and give the young participants practical knowledge about caring for the land. Additionaly, they will help them develop a deeper appreciation of the relationship between people and environments (ENS 1.6).

 

Chatzifotiou, A., (2006). Environmental education, national curriculum and primary school teachers. Findings of a research study in England and possible implications upon education for sustainable development. The Curriculum Journal. 17 (4), 367 – 381.

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Aboriginal Heritage in Lane Cove, Manly, North Sydney, Warringah, Willoughby, Ku-ring-gai, Pittwater, Ryde

Aboriginal Heritage in Lane Cove, Manly, North Sydney, Warringah, Willoughby, Ku-ring-gai, Pittwater, Ryde | HSIE Stage 1: The Aboriginal relationship to the land and ways of caring for the land | Scoop.it
Aboriginal Heritage in the north Sydney area - Lane Cove, Manly, North Sydney, Warringah, Willoughby, Ku-ring-gai, Pittwater, City of Ryde
Mark Tipping's insight:

The website of the Aboriginal Heritage Office provides a wealth of information about various cultural and heritage sites in Sydney such as sacred trees, axe carving grooves, burial grounds, shell middens, rock paintings and rock shelters. These sites provide insight into how the first Australian people interacted with their environment. With the assistance of an interactive whiteboard, teachers could use the images and information on the website to teach students about the plants and animals eaten by Aboriginal people as well as the tools they used, their survival techniques and their spiritual beliefs. While most of these sites are no longer in use, they are still of great historical and spiritual significance.

 

To heighten students’ awareness about how they interact with their own environment, have them compile a list of natural and built features in their local area and create a map that shows their location. Let the students explain how they interact with some of these features. To assess their comprehension of the content, have the students recall the heritage sites that are important to Aboriginal people and ask them what areas of the environment are important to themselves. This task is directly applicable to the HSIE stage 1 outcome ENS 1.5 as it covers the ways in which people interact with the different built and natural features in their local area.

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Digital Collections - Pictures - Lycett, Joseph, ca. 1775-1828. Drawings of Aborigines and scenery, New South Wales, ca. 1820 [picture]

Digital Collections - Pictures - Lycett, Joseph, ca. 1775-1828. Drawings of Aborigines and scenery, New South Wales, ca. 1820 [picture] | HSIE Stage 1: The Aboriginal relationship to the land and ways of caring for the land | Scoop.it
Mark Tipping's insight:

This digital album of paintings by the convict artist Joseph Lycett provides some invaluable insights into the relationship between Aboriginal people and the land. It includes twenty of Lycett’s paintings that would help both teachers and students acquire a clearer picture of how early Aboriginal communities operated. Of particular relevance to the Aboriginal people’s relationship with the land are those images that depict their hunting, farming and food gathering methods.

 

Using visuals to teach vocabulary motivates students to engage with the content and helps them retain information (Hill, 1990). With this in mind, select some of the relevant paintings and ask students to collaboratively create a word list of everything they see. To supplement their existing knowledge, use the images to introduce and explain any vocabulary that they are unfamiliar with. Finally, have the students use words from the list to write simple sentences describing what they think is happening in the paintings.

 

To help students reach the HSIE stage 1 outcomes ENS 1.5 and ENS 1.6, show them the painting “Aborigines using fire to hunt kangaroos”. Explain that what is occurring in this particular picture is something called “firestick farming”, a method of farming that involved burning bushland to make clear fields that would attract Kangaroos. Have the students draw and label their own picture of either a modern or traditional Australian farm. To assess their understanding of the content, ask them to compare the traditional and modern farms by pointing out the differences in topography, equipment and animals.

 

Hill, D. A. (1990). Visual impact: Creative language learning through pictures. Harlow: Longman.

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The Arctic People - Environment / Housing

The Arctic People - Environment / Housing | HSIE Stage 1: The Aboriginal relationship to the land and ways of caring for the land | Scoop.it
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This website provides information about the Inuit people of the Canadian arctic and offers a global perspective on the relationship between indigenous people and the land. The dramatic difference in climatic conditions between Australia and Northern Canada has resulted in the development of two very distinct cultures. Of particular relevance to students learning about the ways in which people interact with the environment are those sections of the website that detail the harsh climate of the area and the steps taken by the local inhabitants to survive.

 

Using an interactive whiteboard, display a map of Canada and help students locate the areas where the Inuit people live. Compare the climate of this part of the world with Australia and discuss how it influences the Inuit relationship with the land. Display the images from the Canada’s First People website to show students that the winter months in the Canadian arctic are extremely cold and the land is often covered in snow. Display also those pictures that show how the Inuit people, to protect themselves from these harsh conditions, hunted animals to make warm clothing and built houses out of snow. To make this topic relatable for students, ask them how they adjust to changes in the climate of their own environment. Eg. "What do you do when it is hot?" "What do you do when it is cold?" These lesson ideas are relevant to both ENS 1.5 and ENS 1.6 of the HSIE stage 1 syllabus.

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