Activity Introduction

Activity details: In this activity students are asked to interview someone older than them. The student will ask the person about how they used energy when they where the age of the student. This person should be at least as old as their parents or as old as their grandparents if possible.

NB: Teachers must confirm that this activity fits with their school’s privacy policies. It may be necessary to modify the activity so it does comply. (Making sure there is no references to names, including the student’s name). Your school may also require that a note goes home explaining and asking permission that students collect family oral history comparing energy use.  

Key lessons and understandings of activity:
Students use oral history to compare lifestyles and how changing energy use can be used to follow changes through recent history. They experience the value of oral history within a family context.   

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 5 English:

  • Clarify understanding of content as it unfolds in formal and informal situations, connecting ideas to students’ own experiences and present and justify a point of view (ACELY1699)

Year 5 History:

  • Examine different viewpoints on actions, events, issues and phenomena in the past and present (ACHASSI099)

Year 6 English:

  • Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)

Syllabus OutcomesEN3-1A, EN3-8D, HT3-5.

Module: Energy

Year levels: 5 and 6

Indoor or outdoor activity: Indoor

Duration of activity: 20 mins in class prior to and after interview, homework time

Learning areas addressed: History, English.

Teacher input: Engage students in a discussion around interview results following completion of the activity.

Resources needed: Activity sheet (optional).

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity has opportunities for extension. Parts of this activity will need to be set as homework.

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Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Begin this activity by asking students to think about all the electrical appliances and gadgets that we have now. Ask students to work in groups or pairs to answers the following questions:

• How many of them were around when they were little kids?
• How many do they think will still be around when they are older?
• How many do they use everyday?
• What would they use instead of these appliances if these appliances didn’t exist?
• What new appliances and gadgets do they think will be available in the future?

When complete, ask groups to share their answers with the rest of the class.

While there might be some people out in the world who could correctly predict what sorts of gadgets and appliances will be used in the future, we don’t need to look very far to find out what has happened in the past.

In the next part of this activity, students will devise and carry out an interview with an older person to find out what sorts of appliances and gadgets were used in the p

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Student Worksheet

We now have all different sorts of things that we need energy for. Everyday we need electricity to cook with, to heat our houses and even to watch TV. But it hasn’t always been like that. When people didn’t have all the appliances and gadgets we have today, what did they do instead?

Interview an older person and find out what energy they used when they were the age that you are now.

Details of the person you are interviewing

Name of person you are interviewing:

In what year were they born?

Where did they live (region or country)?


Checklist questionnaire

Electrical appliance Was it in
their home?
If it wasn't, what did they use instead?
Air conditioner
Washing machine
Electric blanket
Vacuum cleaner
Clothes dryer
Hot water heater
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