Middle phase (Year 5 to Year 8)

Download Middle phase (Year 5 to Year 8)  (PDF 478.5 KB)

Pre-visit activities

Suggested teaching and learning experiences

Teacher facilitated discussion: Recording history

  • How do we record history?
  • How can a story be told without words?
  • How can history be recorded without text?

Suggested learning activities: Connections to Country

  • Explore the Map of Aboriginal Australia by AIATSIS and David Horton in 1994, noting that Aboriginal Australia is made up of hundreds of countries that still exist today.
  • Find where your school is on the map and note the name of the language group.

Teacher facilitated discussion: Cultural Mapping

  • Provide students with knowledge about the dynamics of Aboriginal and Torres Straits communities - where individuals may have an ancestral, and/or historical, and/or lived connection to a place. For example, a person may be ancestrally Yidinji (Cairns), have an historical connection to Palm Island (as a result of forced removal), but live their lives in Brisbane (Turrubal/Jagera country).
  • The country provides  a foundation from which people get a sense of identity, a sense of place and belonging. Art of the Skins showcases possum skin cloack practices and how this is an expression of connecting to country.

Suggested learning activities

  • There are different ways people document and share stories about their travels - a travel journal, a blog, and photographs.
  • Students create a map of their house and the route they travel to school. The map should include the direction they are travelling, land formations they pass, plants and animals and places of trade in their local area, without using any text or labels on the maps. They can then pair up and try to interpret each other’s maps.

Subject and learning focus

Expression and developing ideas - visual language. Investigate how visual storytelling enhances and layers meaning.
The reasons places are important to people.
Economic, cultural, spiritual and aesthetic value of water for people, including Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander Peoples and peoples of the Asia region.

At SLQ activities

Suggested teaching and learning experiences

Teacher facilitated discussion:

  • Walk through the Art of the Skins exhibition. Look at the way the curators have displayed the artworks. Ask students:
    - Do you like the way the cloaks are displayed?
    - Would it feel different if the cloaks were hung on the wall or behind glass?
  • Look at the display cabinet with the different tools used to create designs in SLQ Gallery, level 2.  Match the tools on the wall diagram to see their name. Think about why the curators have displayed old tools and new tools in the same cabinet. Ask students:
    - Why would these tools be shown together?
    - What is the story they are trying to share?
  • Compare different maps; David Horton’s Map of Aboriginal Australia and J. G Steele’s Map of Brisbane, both on the walls of kuril dhagun, and the Brisbane River Cloak in the exhibition in the SLQ Gallery on Level 2.
    Consider the following:
    ○ What is mapping?
    ○ How are the maps different?
    ○ What symbols can be used in mapping?
    ○ Are there different ways to map one's connections and travels?

Suggested learning activities

  • Have students explore the cloaks in the exhibition, thinking about the kinds of designs that have been applied to the skins - look at shapes, colours, lines, ochre, etc.
  • Use the Art of the Skins activity sheet to experiment with designs they would draw if they had a possum skin cloak. What story would they like to tell?

Subject and learning focus

Students identify how symbols and places reflect identities of different groups including Aboriginal groups.

Visual Arts
Develop ways to enhance their intentions as artists through exploration of how artists use materials, techniques, technologies and processes.

Investigate characteristics and properties of a range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment and evaluate the impact of their use.

Post Visit SLQ activities

Suggested teaching and learning experiences

Teacher facilitated discussion: Culture is dynamic and adapts to change

There are many interpretations of what is defined and known as culture. Everyone has a culture. Culture is dynamic and adapts to change.

  • What is culture?
  • What elements contribute to your cultural identity?
  • Why do you think cultural identity is important?
  • How does culture adapt? (Use the metaphor of culture being similar to yoghurt- it’s a living organism.)

Suggested learning activities

  • As a class, explore different communication tools that can portray our connection to country, community and family. In the past we may have used art, while today we might use Facebook or Instagram. Students can consult with their own families to think about the different tools their own families used. Perhaps their great-grandparents wrote on slate when they were at school?
  • As the students walk into the gallery, they may have noticed the hashtags for the exhibition. What do the hashtags mean? What does it mean when meaning is shared amongst ‘strangers’ using a common expression, like a hashtag? Think of a family hashtag.

Teacher facilitated discussion: A sense of community

There can be a number of communities within a country, all with their own boundaries.

  • How does community contribute to one’s identity?
  • How can community build a sense of belonging?

Suggested learning activities

  • As a class, re-watch the Art of the Skins video where Carol McGregor talks about the process of creating the cloaks as being about sharing experiences. Think about how the class shares experiences every day in their classroom and within their school. What kinds of stories could they tell? What might their stories look like in 50 years?
  • As a class group experiment with different ways of expression idea:
    • Create your own class cloak using a patchwork of fabric (canvas, calico or felt pieces) or pieces of paper.
    • Write a class blog post to telling the story of the excursion to the State Library.

Visual art

Explore ideas and practices used by artists, including practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, to represent different views, beliefs and opinions

Digital Technologies

Plan, create and communicate ideas, and information including collaboratively  online, applying agreed ethical, social and technical protocols.

Plan and manage projects that create and communicate ideas and information collaboratively online, taking safety and social contexts into account.

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