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


CASE STUDY 3

Jan Brabazon, Year 5/6 Teacher, Urambi Primary School

Parliament versus Monarch

INTRODUCTION

At Urambi Primary there are three year 5/6 classes this year. I work in a double unit and the other class, because of the physical structure of the school, works in a single classroom. Parliament versus Monarch was taught across the three classes and I was responsible for teaching the SOSE Unit to the sixty children double classroom.

I followed the Unit for five weeks and then I adapted other material to cover how the Australian Government system works. This included an excursion to Parliament House and the Electoral Education Centre. I will explain my application of the Unit later on in this report.

OVERVIEW

Having discussed this Unit, Parliament versus Monarch with my colleagues and having looked through the other Middle and Upper Primary Units I have come up with these general statements:

While I selected the above sections to teach I feel the historic comparisons in the unit ‘Stories of the People and Rulers’ could be integrated into an interesting Unit about ancient civilisations. Also the Unit ‘People Power’ could be integrated into a Unit about decision making and choices.

In conclusion I believe that Discovering Democracy is a valuable resource that provides teachers with a great variety of unique activities and ideas. However, it is unrealistic to think that all of the Units could be taught in four years and unless teachers ‘cut and paste’, some major areas, such as how the Australian Government system works, will not be taught thoroughly.

Parliament Versus Monarch, How I used this Unit

SECTION 1. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE ABSOLUTE POWER.

Activity 1, Lesson 1. Off with their head’s!

This story and the thought of somebody having absolute power really provoked discussion with the students. After this discussion the answered the following questions:

What is a monarch? What is a monarchy? How did the Queen of hearts display absolute power? Write a paragraph giving your opinion about whether an absolute monarch is a good or bad form of power for a country.

Activity 2, Lesson 2. Let’s Discuss!

This involved a lot of discussion about Australia’s legal system.

Activity 3, Lessons 3-6. History Mystery Case #1215

I broke this into 4 lessons because there was so much content to discuss. I introduced the idea of the History Detectives however there was so much else happening that this became a non-event.

Lesson 3. Medieval society around the time of King John. I used the diagram to discuss King John and life in England at the time. I would have appreciated more activities on this topic as the students had no background knowledge. We spent a lot of time role playing the different groups in the society and the power that King John had.

Lesson 4. The King John Rap

Small groups performed the rap and they learnt a lot from this enjoyable task. One class went on tot write their own raps relevant to the time period.

Lesson 5. History Mystery Case #1215.

Prior to sorting out the ‘evidence’ we role played again the power of the King and discussed how each group in the society would feel living under this sort of rule. The roleplay was essential to their understanding and was a lot of fun. In small groups they then sorted out the evidence.

Lesson 6. Questions related to History Mystery #1215.

The questions on handout 5 were answered.

NB. Note that activity 3 is meant to be a 45-60 minute lesson. I took four 45 minute lessons to cover this material.

SECTION 2 WHAT IS PARLIAMENT?

Lesson 1. Let’s Parler!

The students knew very little if anything about parliament in Australia and this made me realise that I would have to spend time covering basic information about government in Australia.

Once again I found the best way to teach handout 6 ‘How Parliament Began’ was through role play.

Lessons 2 and 3. Let’s Parler! Continued.

Handout 7 was discussed over two lessons. Once again a lot of time was spent explaining the Westminster system as the students had no prior knowledge eof this. After discussions they wrote a summary of this information.

NB. Here is another example where this was meant to be one 45 minute lesson however in reality it required three 45 minute lessons. At this point in the Unit I felt that I had been doing a lot of talking to explain all of the concepts and I was wishing that there had been more ‘hands-on’ exercises or a video to help with the teaching of this and to make it more interesting for the students. I was also running out of time thus I cut out a lot of the Unit.

SECTION 3 WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ‘DIVIND RIGHT’A ND ‘CITIZEN’S RIGHT’?

Lesson 1. Who’s right?

Followed as written in the Unit.

Lessons 2 and 3. Pass around the hat!

I have always found that students learn a lot from simulations as they become so involved. We followed this simulation however I would have liked to have gone further than it did. It did however help them to write about the following questions:

Lesson 4. Don’t lose your head!

I did not use handout 9 as I felt it was too difficult for the students to understand. In hindsight I would use it next time. I used the History Mystery Case #1640-49 handouts leaving out some of the information that we had not covered eg ‘some of the nineteen propositions’. I found that this activity was a really effective reading activity that had all of the students involved.

I made this my last lesson of the Unit for several reasons: we had an excursion booked to visit Parliament House where we role played the making of a bill so I wanted the students to have some prior knowledge eof our system of government; I knew I would need at least four weeks to cover this new information; I felt they had a fair understanding of the information already covered; I felt that more historical detail was not needed at this time and I felt that the students needed different methods of teaching to keep the motivated.

Once I have covered work about the three levels of government and the student shave learnt about voting and elections I will then go back to the idea of parliament versus monarch. If eel they will then have sufficient knowledge to be able to compare the tow methods of government.