Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This lesson links skills in Visual Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences, as students develop their understanding of their family structure and personal history by developing a model of their own family.

The lesson supports students to understand the diversity of family structures that exist and helps them build pride in themselves and their own family and history. The Visual Arts component of the lesson sees students develop their sculptural skills by creating various clay shapes and joining them to form a model of their family.

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This lesson has been created in partnership with education specialists, OfficeMax and Winc


Learning intentions:

  • Students are aware of the variety of family structures that exist within our society.
  • Students understand that families have differing histories and traditions.
  • Students are able to create three-dimensional models using a variety of tools and materials.

21st century skills: 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Foundation Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Who the people in their family are, where they were born and raised and how they are related to each other (ACHASSK011)
  • How they, their family and friends commemorate past events that are important to them (ACHASSK012)
  • How the stories of families and the past can be communicated, for example, through photographs, artefacts, books, oral histories, digital media and museums (ACHASSK013)
  • The places people live in and belong to, their familiar features and why they are important to people (ACHASSK015)

Year 1 Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Differences in family structures and roles today, and how these have changed or remained the same over time (ACHASSK028)
  • How the present, past and future are signified by terms indicating time, as well as by dates and changes that may have personal significance, such as birthdays, celebrations and seasons (ACHASSK029)

Foundation to Year 2 Visual Arts

  • Explore ideas, experiences, observations and imagination to create visual artworks and design, including considering ideas in artworks by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists (ACAVAM106)
  • Use and experiment with different materials, techniques, technologies and processes to make artworks (ACAVAM107)
  • Create and display artworks to communicate ideas to an audience (ACAVAM108)

Syllabus outcomes: HTe-1, VAS1.1, VAS1.2.

General capabilities: Literacy, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures.

Relevant parts of Foundation HASS Achievement Standards: Students identify important events in their own lives and recognise why some places are special to people. They describe the features of familiar places and recognise that places can be represented on maps and models. They identify how they, their families and friends know about their past and commemorate events that are important to them.

Relevant parts of Year 1 HASS Achievement Standards: Students identify and describe important dates and changes in their own lives. They explain how some aspects of daily life have changed over time while others have remained the same.They sequence personal and family events in order and represent the location of different places and their features on labelled maps.

Foundation to Year 2 Visual Arts Achievement Standards: Students describe artworks they make and those to which they respond. They consider where and why people make artworks. Students use the elements and processes of arts subjects to make and share artworks that represent ideas.

Topic: Art & Craft.

Unit of work: Learning Through Art & Craft – Primary.

Time required: 90 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – Some students may require support to apply modelling skills, including forming different shapes and joining.

Resources required: Device capable of displaying video. Plasticine, air drying clay or similar modelling clay. Modelling Tools. A6 pieces of paper/A4 sheets cut into quarters (one per student). Large poster sheet. Creating a Plasticine Figure (optional). Joining Clay Step-by-Step Instructions (optional).

Either The Family Book (Todd Parr) or Just the Way We Are (Claire Robertson and Jessica Shirvington) to read aloud to the class. Boxboard (one piece per student). Alternatively, a clip of someone reading both of these books has been provided in this lesson.

Keywords: family, family structure, kinship, diversity, difference, clay, model, three dimensional, join, shape, sphere, cylinder, roll, poke, cut, art, craft.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand that families have differing structures, histories and traditions.
  • Students are able to create three-dimensional models using a variety of tools and materials.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... use a range of techniques to form a plasticine model.
  • ... identify members of their immediate family and their roles within the family.
  • ... identify some members of their extended family.
  • ... identify celebrations and traditions of their family.
  • ... explain that there are many different types of families.
  • ... create a model to communicate information about their family.

Teacher content information:

Family Diversity

Australia is a diverse nation. We have many different backgrounds, countries of origin, cultures and religions. We also have different family structures. While the traditional family structure of a male and female parent and children living in the same home remains prevalent in our society, w

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