First Australians – Making a Nation History Webquest and Lesson Plan


Summary of Lesson Plan / Webquest:

This WebQuest is one activity in an integrated History/English unit, based on the Australian Curriculum History elective: Making A Nation, for Year 9.

This activity is only one component of a unit that will encourage students to think about different contexts, perspectives and interpretations from the past, and how people from a range of backgrounds adjusted to living together.

The following are a list of curriculum references for programming purposes.

Australian Curriculum Links:

Australian Curriculum: History elective – Making A Nation, from the Depth Study Australia and Asia, for Year 9 students.
  • Content Description: the extension of settlement, including the effects of contact (intended and unintended) between European settlers and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The task also incorporates literacy elements from the Australian Curriculum: English.

  • (ACELY1739) Content Description: analyse how the construction and interpretation of texts, including media texts, can be influenced by cultural perspectives and other texts
  • (ACELY1742) Content Description: interprets, analyses and evaluates how different perspectives of issue, event, situation, individuals or groups are constructed to serve specific purposes in texts.
  • (ACELY1746) Content Description: creates imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that present a point of view and advance or illustrate arguments, including texts that integrate visual, print and/or audio features
  • (ACELY1747) Content Description: reviews and edits students’ own and others’ texts to improve clarity and control over content, organisation, paragraphing, sentence structure, vocabulary and audio/visual features.
  • (ACELY1748) Content Description: Uses a range of software, including word processing programs, flexibly and imaginatively to publish texts

Webquest Weekly Sequence:

This unit: Making A Nation, is designed to be taught over a 9 week term. The following overview contains a suggested sequence of content and activities:

Week 1:

  • Outline unit – colonisation of Australia, impact of contact with Indigenous Australians, living conditions in Australia, key events in the development of self-government.
  • Colonisation – reasons for colonisation, expansion of the British Empire, analysis of Governor Phillip’s The Plan for Settlement.
  • The First Fleet

Week 2:

  • Watch Episode 1 of the SBS documentary First Australians – They are here to stay  (included in this WebQuest) as a class. This episode goes for 60 mins (which could be broken down into shorter viewings) and provides excellent opportunities for note-taking and discussion.

Week 3:

  • 1820-1900: Effects of Contact – reflect on major changes for Indigenous Australians since white settlement (refer to events from First Australians)
  • Complete a table of Cause & Effect

Weeks 4-5

Week 6:

  • Permanent Settlers – Who settled in Australia? Why?
  • Experiences of non-Europeans – Chinese immigrants, Kanakas, etc.
  • Watch Immigration Nation – White Australia

Week 7:

  • Development of Cities: Colonial Australia 1860-1901
  • Living and working conditions in Australia

Week 8:

  • Development of Democracy
  • Federation
  • Westminster system of government

Week 9:

  • Social Legislation 1901-1914 (White Australia policy, Harvester Judgment, Invalid & old-age Pension Act, Maternity Allowance)
  • Unit Test (optional)


  • This WebQuest relates to content from the Australian Curriculum: History for Year 9.

  • The presentation activities are designed for Mac computers (hence the iMovie andGarage Band tutorials). These could be easily adapted for PC computers and similar programs, if that is what is available at school.

  • The Carousel Feedback Form and Team Project Processing Form were taken from the Kagan Cooperative Learning (by Dr Spencer & Miguel Kagan, Hawker Brownlow Education 2009) manual. This manual contains many fantastic practical grouping ideas, projects, blacklines, structures and methods for cooperative learning in the classroom. The Team Project Feedback Form, also from this book, could be used by teachers to provide feedback to students on their projects and presentations.

  • An alternative to the Storyboard template provided can be found in Pages: Miscellaneous (from the iWork suite of applications for Mac).

  • The Learning Goal and Success Criteria terminology, used in the Student Conclusion of this WebQuest, directly relates to my current school’s philosophy on transparency in the learning process. Using this “common language” is a mandated procedure and, as such, was required to be included.

  • Although the Success Criteria is already listed for this WebQuest, it is important to note that the dot points would have been co-constructed with the students, after lengthy discussion on what was required by the task.


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