Signs of the Past History Lesson Plan – Year 2


Summary of Lesson Plan:

In this lesson, students learn about how to identify things from the past. After a little bit of a lead into history, students learn to identify mediums that are more effective in learning about the past. They go on a walk around your local area, using clues to identify buildings and objects from the past and turn their observations into a narrative about the past when they return.

Australian Curriculum Links:

  • Year 2 – The history of a significant person, building, site or part of the natural environment in the local community and what it reveals about the past (ACHHK044)
  • The importance today of an historical site of cultural or spiritual significance; for example, a community building, a landmark, a war memorial (ACHHK045)
  • Distinguish between the past, present and future (ACHHS048)
  • Develop a narrative about the past (ACHHS053)

Lesson Plan Sequence:

  • Over the course of a few weeks, model using different mediums to find out about a past event / era in time.
  • Some of the mediums we used included books, a museum trip, newspapers/magazines, photographs, internet/youtube, interviews of people there at the time. (See photo below)

Signs of the past history lesson


  • After modelling each, have children collate a list of the tools they used to find out about the past.
  • Once the list is complete, have children rank each medium from most useful to least. Have them give reasons for their ideas.



  • After organising appropriate consent forms and parent helps, go for a walk around the local neighbourhood surrounding the school.
  • As you walk, ask children to look out for things they think are from the past.
  • When something is spotted discuss how we know it is from the past. Take photos to refer back to when you get back. (It would be a great activity to use an iPad)
  • Eventually, some signs will become familiar. Get students to keep taking photos of these signs.
  • Start to encourage children to look out for moss, style, fading and cracks.


  • When you return to the classroom, brainstorm all of the clues they used to tell that something was from the past.
  • Rank in order from most useful to least.

Clues about the past - history

  • For a follow-up exercise, get your students to write a narrative about something that they saw on the walk. Remind them that a narrative is a story and that they can use their imagination to create it.
  • Brainstorm some ideas about what might of happened to the historical place and set them to task.


  • Anecdotal notes as you go on your walk as to who can identify signs of the past.
  • Students’ own ranked list of mediums
  • Annotated writing sample ‘Narrative about the past’


  • Card
  • Pens/Textas/Pencils
  • Digital Cameras/iPads/iPods/etc
  • Writing Books



If you like this lesson plan, or have an idea to improve it, please consider sharing it on Twitter and Facebook or leave a comment below.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email