Stage 3 HSIE Cultures CUS3.3
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Stage 3 HSIE Cultures CUS3.3
Some inspirational educational websites to use for Stage 3 HSIE Cultures CUS3.3. Enjoy!
Curated by Janet Mickels
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GBR Explorer Overview

GBR Explorer Overview | Stage 3 HSIE Cultures CUS3.3 |
Janet Mickels's insight:

The world famous Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia, is a significant Australian site that students can study for CUS3.3 from a global, cultural, and environmental perspective.  In 1981 the Great Barrier Reef was included on the World Heritage List as a place of Outstanding Universal Value and for its integrity.


As the largest living structure on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef is incredibly rich and diverse.  Stretching 2300 kilometres, this natural icon is so large it can even be seen from outer space.  Its coral reefs make up only 7% of the Marine Park and the World Heritage Area.  The rest of the Marine Park is an incredible variety of marine habitat.  The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park:covers 344,400 km2 in area, includes the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, and includes some 3000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays and about 150 inshore mangrove islands.


This impressive and visually compelling website maintained by the Australian Government's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is full of educational content, for Stage 3 students in particular, to enable students to learn and identify examples of Australian culture, such as this significant site. The website should be viewed in conjunction with, which is also maintained by the Authority.  In view of its global significance, however, Stage 3 students could look further into the concept of an Australian identity by examining how a site with such "universal value" (meaning that it is important to everyone world wide beyond the value it holds to us nationally) can also be such a key part of our national cultural identity, and give their own point of view on this issue.


Students can also examine the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to Australian culture and identity when learning about the Reef.  There are more than 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owner groups that have long continuing relationships with the Great Barrier Reef region and its natural resources. These groups are situated along the Queensland coast from the eastern Torres Strait Islands in the north to near Bundaberg in the south.  The website covers this in some detail, including information about art, music, and dance, tools and weapons, hunting and collecting  - see


The charter of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Education Unit is to deliver education programs and activities about the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area throughout Australia. To meet this charter, the Education Unit has developed a range of new programs and educational activities, which are available online or by request.  Reef Beat is aimed at Years 5 to 9.


Through this website, schools are invited to join the exciting educational program called "The Reef Guardian Schools Program", which encourages schools to commit to the protection and conservation of the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.  School newsletters can be also subscribed to via this website resource, which also contains an abundance of activities for students and teachers.  A service learning oriented community service "waterways clean up" activity could help develop an understanding of environmental issues affecting the Reef and the threat pollution poses to the future of this culturally significant site.


Students and teachers are invited to "dive in" to the GBR Explorer, which is an online interactive resource to explore and learn about the animals, plants, landscapes, and geography of the Great Barrier Reef, which will help them better understand this important cultural icon.  I am sure that  children and adults alike will greatly enjoy going on this visually beautiful and exciting discovery tour.


The glossary of words used in the website would also make a fantastic teaching tool for spelling words to work into a themed lesson plan about Reef.  


This website is an absolute delight!





Katherine Katona's curator insight, March 24, 2015 8:50 PM

This is a fantastic site with a plethora of information and resources for students and teachers all about Australia's world famous Great Barrier Reef. 


The facts about the Great Barrier Reef cover everything from the size, biodiversity, animals, corals, the costal ecosystems and its Heritage. It is clearly noted that there are more than 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owner clan groups that maintain heritage values for their land and sea. 


There is an annual education series called Reef Beat that offers educational themes about the Great Barrier Reef.  Many of these tie in well with the Science curriculum. 

In case you or your students are unable to visit the Great Barrier Reef there is an official Marine Park Authority Image Collection that you can log in to and access free of charge for non-commercial educational uses.


There are also ways in which you and your class can get involved to help "ensure this great natural icon is protected for future generations to enjoy like we do."

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Welcome from Anangu

Welcome from Anangu | Stage 3 HSIE Cultures CUS3.3 |
Publication information and downloads
Janet Mickels's insight:

This terrific website about National Parks in Australia includes a beautiful feature of our national icon, Uluru (previously named Ayers Rock in 1873), which also has an extremely significant and proud Aboriginal cultural heritage.  The website is maintained by the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population, and Communities. Under the heading “Parks Australia, National Parks”, the website welcomes us to Anangu land with a video and invites us to share the story of Uluru, using video footage and stunning images of the Uluru landscape.  


Uluru is located in the "red centre" in the heart of Australia. It is a sacred site in Aboriginal culture, and a significant site for the purposes of Stage 3 Cultures CUS3.3. The national park in which it is located is called the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The first stop for visitors is the Cultural Centre, which introduces visitors to Tjukurpa, a traditional law that guides Anangu daily life.

There are so many issues of Aboriginal significance relating to Uluru that are explained very clearly and sensitively from an Aboriginal perspective in the website, including storytelling videos by traditional owners such as Barbara Tjikatu (see "Publications" section of website).  The website has examples of historic Aboriginal rock art around Uluru which help us better understand the history of the occupation of the region. The Anangu languages and bushfoods are also described under the "Culture" heading.  There are excellent factsheets on the website as well, including information about the "Handback" of Uluru to the Anangu traditional owners in 1985, which would be a fascinating subject for Stage 3 students to study for this topic for examining the contributions of Aboriginal people to Australian culture and identity - perhaps using combination of learning strategies such as brainstorming, role plays, group discussion, KWL charts and individual reflection See and

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is internationally recognised as a World Heritage Area. It is one of the few properties in the world to be dual-listed by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for outstanding natural values and outstanding cultural values.
In 1987, the park was first recorded on the World Heritage list, and, later in 1994, the park became only the second in the world to also be recognised for its cultural landscape - reinforcing the learning around examples of Australian culture and the contributions of Aboriginal people to this culture and identity. This listing honours the traditional belief systems as part of one of the oldest human societies on earth.  The website has a link to an ABC podcast "Red Centre Way" on this issue and on the history of Uluru (see under heading "Publications").

In 1995 the National Park won the Picasso Gold Medal, the highest UNESCO award for outstanding efforts to preserve the landscape and Anangu culture and for setting new International standards for World Heritage management.


The website also has downloadable activities and worksheets for children aged 4-7 years, 8 – 12 years, and all ages, which would be useful to build into a lesson plan about Uluru. The beautiful and educational video footage on the website would also be excellent for students to watch in class on a smart board (see under heading "Publications", which also has extensive case studies, fact sheets, maps, park notes, and newsletters available free to download).  


I commend this resource to you.

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It's an Honour - Commonwealth Coat of Arms

It's an Honour - Commonwealth Coat of Arms | Stage 3 HSIE Cultures CUS3.3 |
Janet Mickels's insight:

This very educational website "It's an Honour" is maintained by the Commonwealth Government of Australia, and is an excellent teaching resource for Stage 3 Cultures CUS3.3. The “It’s an Honour” website is designed as being about “Australia celebrating Australians”, and therefore contains images, detailed historical information, fact sheets and protocols for use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, Australia’s much loved national symbols, and our national honours and awards system.

National Australian symbols covered by the website include the Australian National Flag and other important Australian flags such as the famous Australian Aboriginal Flag, the Torres Strait Islander Flag, and the less well known Defence Ensigns. Other national symbols include our floral emblem, the national gemstone (the Australian Opal), and, in a crossover with national culture, our national anthem and our celebratory colours of green and gold.

The website also has a fantastic “For Teachers” section identifying the broad learning outcomes for students, and containing lessons, activity ideas, quick quizzes to use for review or to help engage students, and a glossary. The glossary could be used as a spelling list as a way of extending this area of study.


The “For Students” section of the website is for upper primary students (Stage 3). Students are able to explore this section to find out fascinating information about the national coat of arms, national symbols, and our honours system, with the view to achieving some of the learning outcomes for this subject (primarily, examining the various national symbols and colours that are associated with Australia, including contributions of Aboriginal people to Australian culture and identity; identifying examples of Australian culture, such as music - our national anthem).

I highly recommend the use of this website as a teaching resource for this subject, and am sure that both teachers and students will love it!

Katherine Katona's curator insight, March 24, 2015 7:05 PM

This is a very useful government site for both students and teachers. It has information on all the national symbols. It offers an easy to use glossary and quick quizzes for students. The website is easy to navigate and offers clear information. Best suited for Stage 3 students.


For teachers it also offers lesson and activity ideas.


Assessment: Presentation

Once students have gathered information from this site and others they can further develop their digital literacy skills to create a "Welcome to Australia" presentation for someone visiting Australia for the first time. Throughout the students' exploration of different cultural influences they can regularly blog or journal their findings. Then at the end of the unit students can collate their information into an informative and interesting group presentation. The students will need to demonstrate an understanding of different viewpoints of Australian identity by showing examples of Australian culture including contributions of Aboriginals and Torre Strait Islanders. 


Board of Studies, NSW (2006). Human society and its environment K-6 Syllabus. NSW: BOS


Fahey, C. (2012) Planning for teaching and learning in geography and history. In Taylor, T., Fahey, C., Kriewaldt, J., Boon, D. (Eds). Place and Time. French Forest: Pearson.

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Visiting a park | NSW National Parks

Official information on national parks in NSW, Australia. Camping, accommodation, walking and more. Rainforests, waterfalls, outback deserts, wildlife, beaches, alpine snowfields, rugged bush…find yourself in a national park.
Janet Mickels's insight:

Did you know that to the south of Sydney, within an hour's drive of the Sydney CBD, lies the world's second-oldest national park and Australia's first national park?  Established in 1879, the beautiful Royal National Park was created to serve as the "lungs" of Sydney to allow people to enjoy the outdoors.  Originally called the "National Park", the park was renamed as the "Royal National Park" in 1955 after a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.  In 2006, the park was added to the National Heritage List.


The park has a rich Aboriginal cultural heritage, and was home to the Aboriginal people of the Dharawal nation. There are many protected Aboriginal sites and artefacts within the park.  Aboriginal Discovery Rangers in the park can take schools on guided Discovery tours, which is an excellent learning opportunity about Aboriginal culture.


The website is maintained by the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, and has detailed information about the plants, animals, and landscape of the park and its culture and history.  See also


It is wonderful that such a significant site in Australia's history and culture lies within easy reach on Sydney's doorstep, and is full of terrific learning opportunities for HSIE - in particular, identifying examples of Australian culture and examining the contributions of Aboriginal people to Australian culture and identity.

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Sydney Opera House - World Heritage Listing

Sydney Opera House - World Heritage Listing | Stage 3 HSIE Cultures CUS3.3 |
World Heritage Listing
Janet Mickels's insight:

The Sydney Opera House website celebrates our treasured national cultural icon by not only explaining the history and heritage of this building but also giving details of current events and programs, including those tailored specifically for Stage 3 upper primary students.

The Sydney Opera House is a culturally “significant site” for the purposes of CUS3.3, and, with its inclusion in 2007 on the UNESCO World Heritage List under the World Heritage Convention, is also a site of global significance. The Sydney Opera House is considered by the World Heritage Committee to be “one of the indisputable masterpieces of human the history of humankind”, alongside other universally treasured places such as the Taj Mahal, the ancient Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China.  As the Sydney Opera House is such an important national icon, study of the site (combined preferably with an excursion) enables students to identify this as a significant example of Australian culture and to also help them demonstrate an understanding of what is an Australian identity and give their own impressions and point of view. on this issue.  A class discussion in small groups would allow students to use inquiry based learning to firstly investigate and then critically compare the Sydney Opera House with other culturally significant sites worldwide, such as The Great Wall of China or The Ancient Pyramids, and consider the dual national/international identites of these sites.


How lucky we are in Sydney to be able to visit and study this masterpiece! For those students outside of Sydney, however, the Sydney Opera House can be visited remotely by using the Digital Education program for NSW public schools with Connected Classroom facilities ( The website has a fantastic “Education” section, which has details of the primary school program, school excursions, teachers’ resources and teachers’ professional development.

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