Year 4

History Support Materials

History snapshot: Australia at the time of settlement

History/Historical knowledge and understanding/First contacts and Historical skills/Chronology, terms and concepts

Content Description Relevant aspects of the Achievement Standards

Stories of the First Fleet, including reasons for the journey, who travelled to Australia, and their experiences following arrival

The nature of contact between Aboriginal people and/or Torres Strait Islanders and others, for example, the Macassans and the Europeans, and the effects of these interactions on, for example families and the environment

Use historical terms

Students recognise the significance of events in bringing about change.

Nature of the assessment

Teacher observation

Purpose of the assessment

Identify students’ existing knowledge and understandings prior to beginning a unit of work

Stage in the teaching sequence

Start of a lesson sequence

Assessment task

The teacher posed the following questions to the class. The students recorded T or F on their mini-boards and held them up. The teacher scanned the answers, noting the proportion of students who answered correctly.

Q1. The first humans settled in Australia about 50 000 years ago. 

Q2. James Cook discovered Australia.   

Q3. James Cook was in charge of the First Fleet.

Q4. All of the first people in the First Fleet were male prisoners.

Q5. The people in the First Fleet had to fight Aboriginal peoples to take control of the city of Sydney.

Q6. There were children living in Australia when the First Fleet arrived.

Q7. There were sheep in Australia before the First Fleet arrived.

Q8. The people in the First Fleet saw kangaroos for the first time when they arrived in Australia.

The teacher led a brief discussion of each question to gain further information of the students’ understanding. 

Using the information

The teacher observed the students’ incomplete understandings about what Australia was like at the time of settlement. As a result she reworked her teaching program to take time to further develop the students’ understandings of what things might have been like.