Activity Introduction

srfy10_l3_photoframeQuick summary: In this Finding Out lesson, students will read, watch, and analyse historical sources relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights and freedoms. They will use visible thinking routines and scaffolded discussions to interpret and analyse each source. Students will engage in a Socratic Seminar to discuss the influence of Charles Perkins on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ struggle for rights and freedoms, then deepen their historical understanding through independent research. Students will make connections between the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, progress in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ struggle for rights and freedoms and reconciliation in Australia. They will research the events that prompted the apology, and communicate their understanding in an extended text. Students will reflect on their learning in this lesson by writing a paragraph explaining their understanding of the role that they play in ensuring that the rights and freedoms of others are not denied. 

Essential questions:

  • What are some of the historical events in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ struggle for rights and freedoms?
  • Who is Charles Perkins and what role has he played in the movement for Indigenous rights?
  • What is the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and how is it related to reconciliation in Australia?

21st Century skills: 

Critical Thinking Team Work Empathy Communicating Cultural Understanding Ethical Understanding Problem Solving

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions
Year 10 History:

  • Background to the struggle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ for rights and freedoms before 1965, including the 1938 Day of Mourning and the Stolen Generations (ACDSEH104)
  • The significance of the following for the civil rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: 1962 right to vote federally; 1967 Referendum; Reconciliation; Mabo decision; Bringing Them Home Report (the Stolen Generations), the Apology (ACDSEH106)
  • Methods used by civil rights activists to achieve change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and the role of ONE individual or group in the struggle (ACDSEH134)

Syllabus outcomes: HT5-3, HT5-2

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

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students refer to key events, the actions of individuals and groups, and beliefs and values to explain patterns of change and continuity over time. They analyse the causes and effects of events and developments and explain their relative importance. They explain the context for people’s actions in the past. Students sequence events and developments within a chronological framework, and identify relationships between events across different places and periods of time. When researching, students develop, evaluate and modify questions to frame a historical inquiry. They process, analyse and synthesise information from a range of primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence to answer inquiry questions. Students analyse sources to identify motivations, values and attitudes. When evaluating these sources, they analyse and draw conclusions about their usefulness, taking into account their origin, purpose and context. They develop and justify their own interpretations about the past. Students develop texts, particularly explanations and discussions, incorporating historical argument. In developing these texts and organising and presenting their arguments, they use historical terms and concepts, evidence identified in sources, and they reference these sources.

Topic: Human Rights

Unit of work: Story of Our Rights and Freedoms – Year 10.

Time required: This lesson should be delivered over a series of four to five 60-120 minute sessions. 

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate class discussion, student research and manage the sensitive nature of the content being delivered.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. One web-enabled device per student for online research. Chalk-Talk Visible Thinking Routine Prompts (enough copies for one between four students). Socratic seminar text: “Australia needs to be embarrassed, Perkins says” (one per student). Sticky-notes. Butcher’s paper (optional).

 rights, freedoms, stolen generations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, human rights, research, presentation.

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

Overarching learning goal: Students will build on their understanding of the background to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' struggle for rights and freedoms. They will deepen their understanding of the purpose of historical sources in the construction of an historical narrative. They will be able to interpret and analyse a variety of historical sources. Students will learn how to pose different kinds of questions, then use them to guide their research into, and analysis of, historical events. Students will develop skills in creating descriptive and discussion texts, and learn how to reference sources in their texts.

Teacher content information

The twentieth century was an important period in history. During this time the modern world underwent significant transformation as a result of political turmoil, global conflict and international cooperation. This context in turn influenced Australia’s social, cultural, economic and political developme

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: “From little things, big things grow”

Struggle for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' Rights and Freedoms: Timeline

1. Access the National Museum of Australia Collaborating for Indigenous Rights website. Work individually to identify one event or entry on the timeline to read about, then respond to the following:

a) Summarise what you read about, including key events, dates and people. 

b) Describe how the actions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples progressed their fight for rights and freedoms.

c) Describe the origin, purpose and context of the source – summarise why the source exists and the historical story it is telling.

2. What conclusion can be made from the source in relation to rights and freedoms of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples before 1965? Note down your response in a paragraph: 

Personal Accounts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

1. Select and read one of the personal accounts li

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