Year 6

History Support Materials

History snapshot: Reasons for migration

History/Historical Knowledge and Understanding/Australia as a Nation

Content DescriptionRelevant aspects of the Achievement Standards

Stories of groups of people who migrated to Australia (including from ONE Asian country) and the reasons they migrated, such as World War II and Australian migration programs since the war (ACHHK115)

Students identify change and continuity and describe the causes and effects of change on society. They compare the different experiences of people in the past. They explain the significance of an individual and group.

Nature of the assessment

Teacher questioning of students following group presentations

Stage in the teaching sequence

End of semester

Purpose of the assessment

To ascertain students' understanding of central concepts about migration following their completion of a group project


The students had been involved in a term-long project of researching countries from which Australia had experienced a large influx of migrants, the reasons for the migrations and the influence the migrants had had on Australia. Their research included interviewing family and community members to find out more about migrants' experiences and stories.

Following on from the research, the students worked in small groups, chose a country and prepared a poster display about the people who migrated and the reasons for their migration.

Assessment task

Each group was asked to give a short presentation and explain the information in their posters. While the teacher provided the groups with feedback about quality of their posters and presentations, the focus of the assessment was on the students' historical understandings. The teacher therefore asked each group a series of questions about migration from their chosen country. For example, for the group that selected English migrants as a focus: 

  • Why did so many people leave England after the Second World War?
  • What happened during the war that made the Australian Government encourage more people to move to Australia?
  • Why does Australia have a special relationship with England?
  • If you were an Indian person living in England at the end of the war, it would have been difficult for you to move to Australia. Why do think this was?
  • Why did some people migrate to Australia, but then go back to England?


The teacher found that the students had engaged with the task and had enjoyed interviewing community members. However, his questioning of students indicated that in many instances the task had not advanced students' historical understandings.

Using the information

The teacher modified the next program to extend the students' understanding of the causes and effects of migration so they acquired a better understanding of the relationship between different causes and events. He also reviewed and refined the program for use with the next cohort of students. He planned an activity that would encourage students to explore the relationship of ideas.