ACT SOSE Consortium Case Studies

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Alfred Deakin High School

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St Thomas the Apostle Primary School

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Urambi Primary School


Jean Watson, St Thomas the Apostle Primary School, Kambah, Who Rules?


At the beginning of the 1998 school year, the teachers in years 5 & 6 at St Thomas the Apostle Primary School, Kambah, ACT, were interested in developing their Australian Democracy unit in a new way.

A number of teachers had attended the SOSE Summer School and introduced the draft copy of the Discovering Democracy unit to the 5/6 module teachers.

Each teacher took a copy of the unit and met to discuss the content and the way this unit could be developed.

At our first meeting there was a feeling of excitement and expectation as well as a feeling of relief. Even in draft stage, the unit was easy to read and understand. All the teachers felt that they would be able to relate to the content because they had studied it or it was familiar to them through personal research.

The immediate feeling was that the unit had a lot of potential and the group decided to follow the draft as outlined.

The teachers also suggested that:


Five classes in the upper primary were involved and I had the combined or Multi-level class. I found the unit very easy to read and the activities were excellent and very easy to prepare before hand. There was enough variety in activities to arouse the students’ curiosity without making it too difficult for the teacher to prepare. The preparation workload was shared among the teachers.

I also found the section on Democracy in Australia very well planned. The unit was also planned to coincide with an excursion to the Election Centre and Parliament House. Prime Minister Howard also played into our hands by announcing a Federal Election as we started the Australian section of the unit. All teachers were aware of the heightened interest and understanding of the students during this time. The students in my class collected political cartoons from the newspaper. Interpreting the meaning behind the humour allowed me to assess students’ understanding of political events.

There were so many opportunities to integrate into other KLA areas that I had to be careful not to overdo it. In included a lot of Math while doing the Egyptian and Greek sections.

The section that created the most interest, in my class, was Medieval England. The first mention of Robin Hood and Bad King John sent students researching into stories and ballads and the lives of the people in that era. The students worked on personal projects about Medieval life and as a class we wrote out won ballad and dramatised it as a play for a School Assembly.

The whole 5-6 unit worked together to develop an integrated Visual Arts unit. Each teacher took one of the following topics:

and developed activities that fitted with the unit.

Since working through this unit from the draft document I have studied the kit at great length. I believe the distribution of the topics in the primary area has been well planned and should be very successful. Teachers in the upper primary area are sceptical about starting this unit in the Middle Primary. I must agree that I feel the section on Egypt and Greece may be too hard but the other sections appear very suitable. The inclusion of the Aboriginal section is most appropriate. The exclusion of the section on the French revolutions was not surprising. Although an exciting time in history, this section was too involved for primary students.

Now that I realise how the unit can be used in the middle and upper primary to advantage, I intend taking the opportunity to inform all members of our staff about the content of the kit.


I believe this case study will help teachers because:

If I use this unit again I would make the following changes to the teaching/learning process:



KLA Links

Integrating Focus: The development of democracy, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Athens, Medieval England

RE: Biblical Studies (Joseph and Moses)

Maths: Ancient Egypt – pyramids, Assorted 3D shapes, Geometry. Ancient Greece – Archimedes, Venn diagrams.

English: Literature "The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe" (Yr 5), "5 time Dizzy" (Yr 5), "Red Wall". Hieroglyphics.

SOSE "Who Rules" from Discovering Democracy kit.

The Arts: Visual Arts – Masks, Toys, Modelling, Mural paintings, Writing through the ages. Media – video "Ten Commandments", "Lion, Witch & Wardrobe".

Technology: Toys




Teaching/Learning Activities




Ancient Egypt Activity 1 – Ruler for a day. Introduce the concept of absolute power.

Activity 2 – Pharaohs of Egypt



Ancient Egypt Activity 3 – Rights and responsibilities

Activity 4 – Power Pyramid

Activity 5 – Egyptian System



Ancient Egypt Activity 6 – 3D model of a power pyramid

Activity 7 – Majority Rules?



Ancient Athens Activity 8 – Direct democracy in Ancient Athens

Activity 9 – Power



Ancient Athens Activity 10 – compare and contrast

Activity 11 – Write a script for a court in Ancient Athens



Ancient Athens Present scripts from week 5    


Medieval England Activity 12 – Kings of Medieval England

Activity 13 – King John – Feudal Lord



Medieval England Activity 14 – Feudal Power

Activity 15 – Should King John be allowed to rule?



Medieval England Activity 16 – John and the Great Charter

Activity 17 – King John says!

Visual Arts




Review and catch up      


You are asked to do a project on Medieval England. It will need to be done on a large sheet of cardboard, and presented beautifully.

Please include the following in your project:

  1. When and where were the Medieval times?
  2. What did people do for work?
  3. How did people live – what were their homes like? What did they wear?
  4. What are some of the differences about life then and life today?
  5. Name a famous Medieval person and say why he or she was famous.
  6. Draw a castle and label the sections and their uses. What was a castle used for? Who lived in castles? Who protected the castles and how were they attacked? Why are they not used so much now? Name some famous castles. (Extra points if you can name the oldest inhabited castle in the world and who lives in it!)

Make sure that you include pictures, diagrams, or photos in our project. Please make sure that your writing is very neat and has no errors.

Good luck!