This integrated learning experience will engage students in research, discussion and drama activities surrounding the topic of continuity and changes within communities and how with this knowledge become active citizens. Year five students will engage in learning about colonial presence in the town of Burnie, how the environment has changed and development that has occurred (ACHHK094) (ACARA, 2015).

Students will be shown images of old buildings and houses in Burnie, some which are still standing, they will be asked if they recognise any or know where they are. They will be asked a series of questions including ‘Why are buildings not made like this anymore?’

The class will participate in a walking tour of Burnie’s CBD and relevant surrounding streets and asked to note any noticeable changes that they see, things they think are older and have been there for a long time. Open-ended questioning will be used to prompt students to think deeper about what they are seeing. Students will visit the Pioneer Village Museum and engage in the ‘Street Scape’ exhibition, they will complete an art activity comparing old artefacts and its modern day equivalent.

Upon return, students will be split into groups for a drama activity; the activity will explore a specific scenario to do with the town, its history and the different perspectives of certain people involved.

The scenario: The historical buildings in the Burnie CBD are old and in the way, they should be knocked down.

The class will be split into groups, each group will represent different people including: town councillors, builders for the removal of the buildings, builders against the removal, senior citizens, community members, building owners and youth council representatives. The students will be given access to different items of clothing/ accessories that will help develop their ‘character’. The teacher will take on the role as mayor. The students are then required to come up with debate topics, based on their character that suits the scenario and to persuade the ‘mayor’ as to why/why not the buildings be pulled down. Claire (2005) states that learning through history, students are able to view progressive measures within society, and whether or not it has had positive outcomes. Coming out of role, students will vote, and a class discussion will follow to consolidate students’ ideas given in the debate, the answers devised and to answer any questions.

Incorporating drama into historical learning allows for engagement in issues from the past, that they might otherwise have found difficult to, through other means of teaching and learning (Hoodless, 2008). Using drama allows for students to internalise their thinking about issues and provides another portal in which to communicate thoughts. This leads to ideas, discussions and debates, which integrates with Civics and Citizenship education (Hoodless, 2003). Through placed-based activities, students’ learn through the local landscapes and allows a connection with the ‘place’ to be made (Beames, Higgins, Nicol, 2012). Higgins (2009) states that developing connection with place allows for students to build relationships with the community, develop an understanding of the consequences of ones actions and the ‘ethics of citizenship’ (p. 48.).

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Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015). Content descriptors. Retrieved from:

Beames, S., Higgins, P., Nicol, R. (2012). Learning outside the classroom. New York, NY: Routledge.

Claire, H. (2005). ‘Learning and teaching about citizenship through history in the primary years’ in Leading Primary History. London: The Historical Association.

Higgins, P. (2009). Into the big wide world: Sustainable experiential education for the 21st century. Journal of Experiential Education, 32(1), 44-60.

Hoodless, P. (2008). Teaching history in primary schools. Exeter: Learning Matters.

Hoodless, P. (Ed.) (2003). Teaching humanities in primary schools. Exeter: Learning Matters.