Activity Introduction

cc-primary14-heroQuick summary: During this lesson students learn about some traditional symbols that are used in Indigenous artworks. They use these symbols to write the story behind an imagined artwork. Students’ short stories are recorded using an iPad or camera, and linked to QR codes. This lesson links to the Outdoor Learning – Dot Painting – Year 1 & 2 Lesson, which can be completed afterwards.

This lesson is designed to be taught outside. It contains all the tools required for students to reap the benefits of being outdoors while learning the outcomes of the Australian Curriculum. By spending time outdoors and connecting to nature, students are more likely to care for and conserve nature as adults.


Essential questions:

  • How can artworks tell a story?
  • What has traditionally been of importance to Indigenous communities?
  • What are the mental, physical and academic benefits of completing classroom activities outside?

21st century skills:

story of country skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 1 English

  • Create short imaginative and informative texts that show emerging use of appropriate text structure, sentence-level grammar, word choice, spelling, punctuation and appropriate multimodal elements, for example illustrations and diagrams (ACELY1661)

Year 2 English

  • Understand that spoken, visual and written forms of language are different modes of communication with different features and their use varies according to the audience, purpose, context and cultural background (ACELA1460)
  • Create short imaginative, informative and persuasive texts using growing knowledge of text structures and language features for familiar and some less familiar audiences, selecting print and multimodal elements appropriate to the audience and purpose (ACELY1671)

Syllabus outcomes: EN1-2A, EN1-6B.

General capabilities: Literacy, Intercultural Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority:

Relevant parts of Year 1 English achievement standards: Students create short texts for a small range of purposes. They use capital letters and full stops and form all upper and lower-case letters correctly.

Relevant parts of Year 2 English achievement standards: Students create texts, drawing on their own experiences, their imagination and information they have learnt.

Topic: Outdoor Learning, Biodiversity.

Unit of work: Outdoor Learning Unit.

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – the teacher reads a story, explains information, facilitates discussions and guides activities.

Resources required: Several copies of Indigenous Symbols – Without Labels and Aboriginal Dot Paintings – Examples for students to use in groups. One copy of Indigenous Symbols – With Labels for teachers to check answers. A copy of Why I Love Australia by Bronwyn Bancroft (available in hard copy or on iTunes). A device capable of creating audio visual recordings, such as an iPad or camera. Printed photos of Indigenous dot paintings that use traditional symbols. Access to cloud storage, such as Dropbox, to save recordings and link them to QR codes. Dreaming, Dreamtime and Aboriginal Art – Teacher Content Information.

Digital technology opportunities: QR codes, digital recording, digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Indigenous, Australia, literacy, art, dot, painting, narrative, QR code, recording, audiovisual, outdoor learning.

Cool Australia would like to thank The Albert George & Nancy Caroline Youngman Trust – managed by Equity Trustees.

Youngman Trust Logo

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


Teacher Worksheet

cc-primary13-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students gain an appreciation for the value of ‘Country,’ and understand the traditional symbols that are used in Indigenous artworks. Students recognise how to create a narrative for an imagined artwork that uses these symbols.

NOTE: This lesson links to the Outdoor Learning - Dot Painting - Year 1 & 2 lesson, which can be completed afterwards.

Outdoor learning information:

Outdoor Learning Series:


To help guide teachers through suggested activities in this lesson, we have developed a series of icons designed to show what types of activities are involved and where these activities may take place (see Learning Activity Key below).

learning activity icons key updated-v3

This lesson is designed to support students and teachers undertaking the Outdoor Learning Unit. Click he

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