Science, society and environment

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The learning area I have chosen to investigate from the Curriculum Framework Society and Environment Learning Area Statements is Outcome 5 Time, Continuity and Change and the year level is Pre Primary. This outcome focuses on the students understanding of how the past has influenced people's actions and values in today's society and also to recognise elements of heritage in the form of practices, traditions, economic institutions and cultural artefacts from the past. The Scope and Sequence I have chosen to investigate is History and it looks at comparing and contrasting people's life stories from the past and how they relate to our present day stories. The concept of the passage of time and terms such as past and present, long ago and before are explored. (Curriculum Council, 2005).

The inquiry question we will investigate is: "WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE GROWING UP IN THE OLDEN DAYS?" Through the use of dress ups, excursions, old photographs, artefacts and other materials from the past to support learning we can show the students how things have changed or stayed the same from the olden days. By investigating what life was like growing up in the olden days we can look at subtopics such as schooling, family life, technology, daily chores, and the role of children in society and compare these areas to the lives of student's today (Curriculum Council, 2008).


Planning - 1 Whole Class Experience

Shared Reading Experience - "Australians At Home" by Jane Pearson.

As part of Planning, the purpose of this experience is to introduce the topic of the Olden Days and find out what the students already know and get them thinking about the topic. In addition, it teaches them how to use informational texts to gather new information. The book explores topics such as daily chores, games children played, household items and daily life through written text and black and white images portraying what life was like. Questions such as what do you think life would be like in the olden days? Would you like to live then? What would it be like having no television? Talk about the clothes and the old photographs. Concepts of the passage of time, past and present can be discussed. Areas of English and Literacy are explored (Curriculum Council, 2005, Pearson, 2007a).

  1. Excursion to Buckingham House
  2. As part of Conducting/Finding out, the purpose of this experience is to gather new information and experience firsthand life in the early c.1900s by using different types of equipment. Buckingham House is a colonial limestone house built in the 1890's and shows what life was like at the turn of the century. The program includes activities such as sewing, pumping water, games, cooking and daily chores. An old school house allows students to see what life was like in an olden day classroom. Students dress up in period costumes and discussion includes comparing life in the c.1900s to today focusing on topics such as technology, school life, and the role of children in daily chores. Photos of the children doing tasks will be recorded for use in a later experience (City of Wanneroo, n.d., Curriculum Council, 1998, Curriculum Council, 2008).

  3. Looking at Artefacts
  4. As part of Conducting/Finding Out, the purpose of this experience is to gather new information and learn about how much technology has changed and progressed from the olden days. Several artefacts will be presented on a table top including a candle stick, washboard, flat iron, wooden rolling pin, butter churn and wooden toys. The students will be able to explore the objects while the teacher explains them. Questioning explores aspects such as do they know what it is, how was it used, what do we use today and what are they made of? Students will have an opportunity to touch, explore and ask questions about the objects to gain further more insightful information. Areas of Science and Technology and Enterprise form part of the learning experience (Curriculum Council, 1998 and Curriculum Council, 2008).

  1. Making Damper
  2. As part of Conducting/Finding Out, students will gather new information, experience food and tastes from the olden days and learn how mathematics is important in cooking. In small groups of four, students will make damper using a recipe card detailing instructions for measuring cups of flour and milk, and dividing the dough mixture ready for cooking. Questions such as where does milk come from and how do you get your milk? Further discussion on who does the cooking at home, what do you eat at home and growing your own food can take place during the activity. Concepts of Mathematics and Science are discussed (Curriculum Council, 2005, Curriculum Council, 2008).

  3. Washing Day
  4. As part of Conducting/Finding Out, the purpose of this experience is to gather new information and experience firsthand what it was like to do the washing chores using olden day technology. In groups of six, students will be able to wash some clothes using an old wooden washboard, soap and a metal trough filled with water. Discussion about modern day washing chores, how has technology changed, and how long do you think it would take to wash your clothes in a tub? Further discussion can take place on the role of children in daily chores and what chores do they do at home? Concepts of Technology and Enterprise will be explored (Pearson, 2007a, Curriculum Council, 2005, Curriculum Council, 2008).

Processing and Translating - 2 Whole Class Experiences

  1. Dress ups
  2. As part of Processing and Translating, the purpose of this experience is to allow the students through dramatic play to explore, express and communicate ideas, feelings and experiences of the concepts of the olden days through the use of dress ups and role play. A variety of olden day clothes, hats, braces and shoes will placed in the home corner alongside an olden day kitchen. The kitchen has olden day utensils such as ceramic bowls, wooden spoons and rolling pins, bread tins, scales and metal pots. Students will be able to role play life in the olden days and cooperate with the other students in the activity. Areas of the Arts, Language and Technology and Enterprise are explored (Curriculum Council, 2005 Curriculum Council, 2008).

  3. Games We Play
  4. As part of Processing and Translating, the purpose of this experience is to get students to classify different toys and games from the olden and modern days into specific groups. Students will be shown images of olden day toys such as a cane hoops and spinning tops, and modern toys such as bicycles and computer games. The students are to classify the images into olden and modern day toys and discuss what is different about the toys and how they have changed over time. Further sorting of the images can include those that can be played outdoor and indoor, or the materials they are made of. Concepts of Technology and Enterprise, Science, Mathematics, English and Health and Physical Education are explored (Curriculum Council, 2005, Curriculum Council, 2008, Pearson, 2007b).

Applying and Communicating - 1 Whole Class Experience

What I Liked Best About the Olden Days Book

Using pencils students are to draw a picture showing what they liked best about the Olden Days? The teacher will prompt thinking by revisiting different experiences the children did or learned about. The teacher will ask the student to explain their drawing and write down on the picture what the student says. The photographs that were taken on the excursion will be glued on the back of the drawing and a written comment on what the student is doing in the photograph is written next to it. When all the children have completed their drawings the pages will be stapled together to form a book and it will be placed in the book corner for the students to read and talk about at their leisure. Concepts of Art and English are explored (Curriculum Council, 2005, Curriculum Council, 2008).


The activities I have chosen for the students are based on my knowledge of various child development theories and the ICP framework. According to Piaget's constructionist theory of child development, "Children develop intelligence through direct hands-on experiences with the physical world." (Morrison, 2008, pg. 63) The planned experiences provide opportunities for active play and collaboration with other students. It is the physical activity and social contact involved in this play that allows children to learn naturally through their senses. As a result of these hands-on learning experiences, students learn to make sense of their world and learn how things work first hand (Morrison, 2008, Doherty & Hughes, 2009). Furthermore, the Socio-cultural learning theory developed by Vygotsky (Morrison, 2008, Doherty & Hughes 2009), looks at the Zone of Proximal Development and the use of scaffolding to extend students learning. Each of the activities allows for the teacher to identify the student's prior knowledge and then through reflective questioning the teacher can further extend learning by introducing new information and provide assistance to reach a higher level of understanding (Murdoch, 2008).

In the Planning stage, the shared reading experience allows the topic to be introduced through an informational text which has real black and white photos from the past. Students are able to reflect on their prior knowledge and understanding, generate questions and share their thoughts on the olden days. In the Conducting stage, the activities are centred on hands-on experiences for the students to provide new information and further stimulate curiosity. The excursion in particular allows students to experience firsthand what life was like in the olden days and explore some of the feelings and values of their fellow students during the excursion. In the Processing and Translating stage the activities allow the students to revisit and work with the information they have learnt and deepen their understanding of the topic. Group work allows for students to practice social and communication skills such as negotiation, decision making and respect. Finally, the Applying and Communicating stage allows students to reflect on their learning and express their understanding through an art piece. The expressive art work allows for a comparison of the students understanding of the topic and to provide an opportunity for them to share their values with others (Curriculum Council, 2008, Murdoch, 2008).

Active Citizenship

Through the investigation of the topic, students may gain an interest in further exploring concepts of the past and social history. Visits to museums and libraries can demonstrate aspects of social action such as the need for and value of looking after our cultural heritage including preserving artefacts, oral histories, languages and, customs and traditions of our diverse cultures. Students also have an opportunity to take part in special celebrations such as WA Week, Family History Week, and Australia Day (Curriculum Council, 2008).

Active Citizenship is demonstrated in a variety of ways throughout the investigation. During the group work activities students are encouraged to show democratic processes such as a willingness to work with others and play in a cooperative manner through the sharing of equipment, taking turns and being nice to others. Skills such as active listening, asking questions, contributing to discussions and following directions are important actions explored by the planned activities. In addition, actions such as negotiation, decision making, showing respect and helping others are demonstrated. (Curriculum Council, 2008).


  • City of Wanneroo. (n.d.). Buckingham House [Brochure] Retrieved 11 March, 2010, from cproot/2021/3/Web_Buckingham_6ppDL.pdf
  • Curriculum Council. (2005). Curriculum framework: Curriculum guide - society and environment. Retrieved 11 March 11, 2010, from Curriculum_Framework
  • Curriculum Council. (2008). Elaborated curriculum guide (including statements of learning for civics and citizenship): Society and environment-Culture - Early childhood. Retrieved 11 March 11, 2010, from Years_K10/Curriculum_Resources
  • Doherty, J. & Hughes, M. (2009). Child development: theory and practice 0- 11. New York: Pearson Longman.
  • Morrison, G.S. (2008). Fundamentals of early childhood education. New Jersey: Pearson Education.
  • Murdoch, K. (2008). Classroom connections: strategies for integrated learning. Melbourne: Eleanor Curtain Publishing.
  • Pearson, J. (2007a). Australia then and now: australians at home. Carlton: Binara.
  • Pearson, J. (2007b). Australia then and now: australians at play. Carlton: Binara.