In Year 2, students are introduced to the concept of digital systems (hardware and software), and how they are used in everyday life (ACTDIK001). Additionally, in Humanities and Social Sciences (History) students are introduced to technology and how it has evolved over time and the impact of changing technology (ACHASSK046).
The following lesson idea can be embedded as part of a larger whole class inquiry into the question: how have our favourite technology/inventions changed over time- what is the same and what is different?
- Teacher dresses up in an era-specific costume (e.g. 1920s) and has hidden under a cloth several ‘mystery items’. These mystery items may be provided from an educational source such as the Wanneroo Regional Museum ‘Museums in a Box’- specifically the ‘Technology Past and Present’ box- (https://www.wanneroo.wa.gov.au/info/20058/museums_culture_and_arts/122/wanneroo_regional_museum/8) who provide tangible historical artefacts to be loaned for use in classrooms.
- Teacher can prompt interest in the mystery items by asking students why they think the teacher is dressed up and what could be under the mystery box?
- Reveal the mystery box. Following a process of historical enquiry (object investigation- https://www.tes.com/hugehistory/historical_enquiry.html), carefully observe ONE artefact.
- Model thought process of observing aloud- look carefully at the object from as many angles as possible, what does the object smell like, feel like? Is it heavy? Does it have moving parts? Does it make any sounds? What are some details that can be recorded- size, shape, colours, textures, decoration. Is the object very worn out? Does it look like it has been used a lot?
- Discuss with the class how to record their observations.
- Possibilities include writing, taking photos, drawing, measuring, voice recordings, videos.
- Set up the rest of the artefacts in stations around classroom. With supervision, students move around to each station, as if they were in a museum, and collect their observations about the historical artefacts.
- Once students have collected their observations, return to the mat and begin a source analysis- start brainstorming questions and ideas that the class has about the object. Using the details students have observed as clues to help them think about the object. Some questions include:
- Why is the object in this condition? What could have happened to it?
- How did it get here?
- What was it used for?
- When was it made?
- What sort of person would have owned it and why?
- What could help us find out more?
Follow up activity- ‘Then and Now charts’
- Explicitly introduce children to the concept of Venn diagrams as a way of comparing and contrasting objects and the similarities and differences. In the circle labelled ‘then’, draw or write about the historical objects that were observed during the ‘class museum’. In the circle labelled ‘now’ think about if the same objects are still used today, and if so, how have they changed? Have the objects been replaced with something that is more useful or easier to use? Write this in the ‘now’ circle. Specific items, or aspects of designs or technologies- may have stayed the same. These can go into the middle circle.
Extension activity: have students think of their favourite piece of technology/equipment in the home e.g. dishwasher/washing machine/dryer. Ask them if they think these would have been used 100 years ago- and if not, what would have been used instead? Students could write a story that explains how this object may have been used in its original context.
- See-Think-Wonder chart or K-W-L chart: completed individually for students to assess their own learning and understanding what do they want to know more about technologies of the past?
- Discuss as a class: how could we design a newer version of our favourite object (e.g. mobile phones)- how could we improve them and how would that benefit people? Would there be any disadvantages?