What can we learn about history through pictures – take a look at the $20 note!

This term Year 2 were investigating The Past in the Present (NSW Syllabus). During the library lessons we undertook an inquiry into How can we use nonfiction to be better researchers? The series of lessons which investigated informative books will be summarised in a separate post as I would like to share the final lessons which were most amazing – we took a good look at the Australian $20 note. 

The investigation links in with History: The Past in the Present HT1-2 where students identify and describe significant people, events, places and sites in the local community over time. 

The Royal Flying Doctor Service have an outstanding educational website that provides units of work for both History and Geography and has interactive lessons, it is a must visit! Below is the documentary we watched.

As we only had two 30 minute lessons on this task some adjustments were made, however there is so much scope we could have investigated for days. As we had been observing image labels in informative books it was now time to practice.

To follow are the steps for the two lessons that were completed:

  1. Small groups, use an iPad to zoom into the $20 note and discover. What do you see, what do you think (it would be suitable to do the Visible Thinking Routine – See, Think, Wonder if you had time).
  2. Each group shares one thing back to class.
  3. Watch the Royal Flying Doctor Service documentary John Flynn and the Inlanders
  4. To save time, I had listed the names and relevant dates of items on the $20 – the students then labelled a copy of the image on a worksheet. 
  5. To start the second lesson I read Meet the Flying Doctors by George Ivonoff and illustrated by Ben Wood, if time allows there are so many features in this book to explore.
  6. To finalise the lesson the students wrote about something they had learnt. The two student samples clearly show two different aspects of the story that appealed to them.

The students were engaged and we all (teachers included) learnt about details unknown even though we handle $20 often.

Resources used:

Ivonoff, G. (2016).  Meet the Flying Doctors. Random House Australia.

Royal Flying Doctors Service – http://www.flyingdoctor4education.org.au

John Flynn and the Inlanders – http://www.flyingdoctor4education.org.au/history-3-4/view?start=1

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