Our Communities
Level 1 History/Geography Focus

Introduction to Our Communities

In this module students explore the many communities that they belong to and the diversity in local communities, including religious and cultural practices and celebrations.

All activities in this module are aligned to the Australian Curriculum: History, Years 3 and 4 and the Australian Curriculum: Geography, Years 3 and 4.  (Click here to see the Curriculum Links)

The module focuses on developing intercultural understanding through the following learning objectives.  Students will:

This guide provides information about the four activities in this module:

These activities are complementary but can also be used independently.  Each activity is supported with suggested teacher-led introductory and concluding activities.  For the online components students can work individually, in pairs or as small groups.  These activities can also be adapted for use with a smartboard.

Activity 1: My Communities

In this activity students identify the multiple communities that they belong to and the role these communities have in shaping their identities.

Introductory Activity — Offline

Write the word 'community' on the board and ask students: what is a community?  Gather a few answers from students.  Explain to students that people in communities have something in common, for example, a connection to a place or a love of ballet.

Ask students to work in small groups using the Visible Thinking Question Starts strategy.  This involves students generating questions about community with the following question starts:

How would it be different if...?
What are the reasons...?
Suppose that...?
What if...?
What if we knew...?
What is the purpose of...?
What would change if...?
As a class select and discuss some of the questions that students generate.  Ask students what new things they have learned about the topic by developing their questions.  A downloadable template for the Question Starts strategy is available.

Online Activity

Before commencing this activity, familiarise your students with how to navigate through the website.

Part A: My communities
In this activity students are asked to complete a survey to find out about the many groups and communities they belong to.  The survey is divided into sections (e.g. sporting communities) and students can click to select multiple options in each section.  After students submit the questionnaire, they will be taken to a page that displays a summary of user responses.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Ask students to identify and locate physical evidence of these communities in the vicinity of your school.  For example, a school sign, a synagogue, a swimming pool, a Vietnamese restaurant.  You may like to do this by walking around your local area taking photographs.

Activity 2: Special Days

After hearing about events of significance to five diverse Australian children, students report on days and events that are of significance to them.

Introductory Activity — Offline

As a class, ask students to brainstorm days or events that are important to them (e.g. birthday, Ramadan).  When you have a list ask students to take it in turns to find a similarity between any two or more events (e.g. These both involve food, These are all public holidays).

Online Activity

Part A: Special days
In this activity students are introduced to five different young Australians, who tell them about an event that is special to them.  These events are: Chinese New Year, Easter, ANZAC Day, Diwali and Thanksgiving.

Part B: Write about an event that is special to you
Students are asked to write about their own special day or event.  They are given some questions to help them form a response.

Concluding Activity — Offline

There is no concluding activity for this as it relates closely to the next activity.

Activity 3: Community Calendar

In this activity students create a class calendar of cultural events and days that are celebrated or commemorated both in Australia and internationally.

Introductory Activity — Offline

Working in groups, distribute a selection of standard Australian diaries or calendars (these are easily downloaded, e.g. Australian Parliamentary Calendar).  Ask each group to identify the significant days that are marked on the calendar (e.g. Queen's Birthday, Christmas).  Discuss the following questions:

Online Activity

Part A: Community calendar
In this activity students create a community calendar by each describing one event.  Information and a template for 30 Australian and international cultural events is provided.  It is suggested that you assign events to students (working individually or in pairs).  You may also like to add extra or different events, and can do this using the blank calendar template provided at the end of the list.

Students begin by clicking on the name of the character to read some information about the event.  Students can choose to do further research if needed. 

Students are then asked to click on the name of their event to access their calendar event page to be completed.  In this activity students can, if they wish, save their work to be completed at a later time.  The save button will provide them with a code which must be written down for later use.  Saved work can be retrieved using the retrieve button at the bottom of the page.

When students have complete their sheets they should be printed and compiled to create a class calendar.  Be sure to set your print options to 'landscape' when printing the pages.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Tell students they are to give a short oral report about the event they entered into the class calendar.  Commence this activity by creating a physical continuum in the classroom that begins on today's date and ends in twelve months' time.

Tell students that before making their presentation, they must find the correct position on the time continuum by communicating with other students about when their event occurs.  Allow time for students to mingle.

Once students are in order, standing in a line, ask students a series of questions, instructing them to take a step forward if their event:

Ask students in the line to step forward, one by one, to provide a brief report about their community calendar event.

Activity 4: You're Invited to Three Weddings

In this activity students are 'invited' to attend three culturally diverse weddings.  Students reflect on the similarities and differences between the weddings and reflect on how they feel in culturally different situations.

Introductory Activity — Offline

Ask students to use the Think Pair Share strategy in small groups to identify a time when they felt uncomfortable because they were in a new and different situation.  Students think of the experience, pair with another student and share their experience.  It may be helpful to begin the activity by giving an example from your own experiences to encourage students.

Online Activity

Part A: Three weddings
In this activity students watch videos of three weddings and imagine that they are attending each wedding.  They are required to complete a short questionnaire after each video reflecting on their 'experience'.  After watching all the videos students are asked to list five things that were similar and five things that were different about the three weddings.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Discuss the following questions with students:

Module Reflection

You may like to use a reflection or self-assessment strategy to monitor student engagement with this module.

Further Activity Ideas