Year 8

History Support Materials

History snapshot: Japan under the Shoguns

Historical Knowledge and Understanding/The Asia-Pacific World/Japan under the Shoguns (c.794-1867) and Historical Skills/Historical questions and research; Analysis and use of sources; Explanation and communication

Content Description Relevant aspects of the Achievement Standards

Historical Knowledge and Understanding
The way of life in Shogunate Japan, including social, cultural, economic and political features (the feudal system and the increasing power of the shogun)

Historical Skills
Identify and locate relevant sources, using ICT and other methods

Locate, compare, select and use information
from a range of sources as evidence

Use a range of communication forms (oral,
graphic, written) and digital technologies

Students explain the significance of individuals and groups and how they were influenced by the beliefs and values of their society. They analyse,
select and organise information from primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence.

Nature of the assessment

Teacher observation of directed group work.

Purposes of the assessment

To assess students’ ability to identify, locate, compare, select and use sources for the particular purpose of establishing the nature of and classes within the Japanese shogun (feudal) society.

Stage in the teaching sequence

At the start of the teaching cycle

Assessment task

Students formed small groups of four or five. The teacher allocated tasks to group members. Working in their groups, students:

  • investigated the class structure of feudal Japan
  • created a diagram which illustrated the class structure
  • annotated the diagram to explain the relationship between the classes
  • identified, located and compared relevant sources (primary and secondary/visual and written) to create a collage that illustrated what life was like for different social classes
  • participated in presenting group’s findings to the class.

Assessment criteria

The teacher used a checklist to note her observations of the students’ Historical Skills, and Historical Knowledge and Understanding


  • identifies and locates sources using ICT and print texts
  • compares, selects and uses information from a range of sources as evidence of the class structure of feudal Japan
  • constructs and annotates the diagram
  • uses a range of sources to create a collage to illustrate what life was like for different social classes
  • participates in group presentation of findings to the class.

Using the information

The teacher provided feedback after each group presentation as follows:

Historical Knowledge and Understanding

  • confirmed where the group had provided correct or incorrect information

Historical Skills

  • indicated how the group could have sought and used additional information.

She used her observations of the students’ Historical Knowledge and Understanding, and Historical Skills to refine her teaching in the next series of lessons.

The observation also informed the teacher of the students’ development and use of the following General capabilities:

  • Information and communication technology
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability.