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What is this? video transcript

The opening of the video shows rainbow stripes moving across the screen from left to right. A cloud shape pops into the coloured stripes containing an image of a small yellow teddy bear. The video title 'What Is This' Teacher Support is superimposed on the teddy. A question mark bounces into position at the end of the text ('What Is This?') and an eyeball rolls around in the dot forming the bottom of the question mark and winks. Upbeat music plays in the background. A swarm of question marks moves across and fills the frame.

The presenter appears on the left side of the screen. A graphic on the right reads 'Angela Casey, Educator, National Museum of Australia'.

ANGELA: Hi, I'm Angela Casey from the National Museum of Australia. Welcome to the Teacher Support video for the 'What Is This?' resource. This has been devised to help teachers introduce Foundation-level students to the key historical skills in the Australian Curriculum: History.

The films follow a format that draws on techniques employed in children's television programs. But underpinning this relaxed and light-hearted style, and central to the successful teaching of the new History curriculum, is 'inquiry learning'.

(Text appears on the right side of the screen: Inquiry Learning.)

ANGELA: Inquiry learning, put simply, is a student-centred approach to education and differs from other learning styles in its focus on questioning.

Encouraging students to raise questions about historical sources plays a big part in the development of the required Foundation-level historical skills.

Inquiry learning is based on sound research and evidence, and if you're interested in finding out more about its methodology and how it is being implemented across a range of curriculum areas, this link will point you in the right direction.

(A website link is displayed right of screen: www.nma.gov.au/resources)

ANGELA: So, where do you fit in to this? The teacher's role in an inquiry-learning classroom is to facilitate the students' discovery of historical knowledge and understanding for themselves.

Throughout the 'What Is This?' films the character of Teddy helps us convey many of these inquiry learning techniques and skills.

For example, sometimes Teddy asks direct questions. Sometimes questions are asked of him. Occasionally he likes to throw in a question or comment that comes from out of the blue, but the structure of the films still maintains the overall educational focus.

How does this all work in practice, then? Let's look at some of the common characteristics of inquiry used within the videos, and identify the historical skills covered.

(Text appears on the right: Common Characteristics of Inquiry)

ANGELA

Naturally, any time spent in the classroom is student-centred, but how does that relate specifically to the process of historical inquiry?

(Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Common Characteristics of Inquiry

Sub heading: Student-centred and directed

Dot point: Students to ask questions)

ANGELA: Foundation-level students will need a little help with this, so have a few leading questions up your sleeve to get them thinking and to initiate their own lines of questioning.

(Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Common Characteristics of Inquiry

Sub Heading: Student-centred and directed

Dot point: Students to ask questions

Dot point: Initiated by teacher's leading questions)

ANGELA: Questions beginning with 'What do you think about ...?' or 'What would you like to know about ...?' are good starting points.

ANGELA: In this clip from the film about the meat safe, you can see how Teddy's curiosity is guided to explore aspects of the object's use.

(Music plays under a transition of animated question marks and dissolves to a clip from the video 'What Is This? Meat safe'.

Angela stands behind a desk. On the desk to the left of her is a green metal box with fine holes punched into it, the meat safe. The meat safe has an open door showing a shelf.)

ANGELA: It was used in the past for keeping food, particularly meat, fresh. It's called a meat safe.

(Teddy, Angela and the meat safe. As Angela places her hand on the meat safe, the word meat safe appears in the television screen graphic.)

TEDDY: For keeping meat safe from flies and insects or hungry animals.

(Sounds of flies buzzing, and animals roaring, howling.)

TEDDY: What about keeping sandwiches?

ANGELA: Why not?

TEDDY: Why not just put stuff in the fridge?

ANGELA: Well, If we lived somewhere that didn't have electricity, the meat safe would be a very good way to protect our food, including sandwiches, from spoiling.

TEDDY: So it's like a fridge?

ANGELA: Well, it's a bit like a fridge. But you might notice it doesn't run on electricity. In the past, when meat safes were used, people would put it somewhere around their house that was shaded and would get a bit of a breeze.

TEDDY: Would the breeze go through all those little holes?

(Meat safe clip finishes. Music plays under transition of animated question marks, dissolves back to Angela.

Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Common Characteristics of Inquiry

Dot point: Student-centred and directed

Dot point: Emphasise process and skills development)

ANGELA: The next characteristic we'll look at is emphasise process and skills development.

(Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Emphasise Process and Skills Development

Dot point: Chronology, terms and concepts)

There are several components that we want to focus on here, such as chronology, terms and concepts.

This involves introducing terms like, 'then', 'now', 'yesterday', 'today' and 'tomorrow' and so forth. Terms that help develop a concept of time.

(Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Emphasise Process and Skills Development

Dot point: Chronology, terms and concepts

Dot point: Historical questions and research)

ANGELA: Historical questions and research help to provide students with a context in which to develop their understanding. 'Is this old or new?', for example. Or, 'Who do you think might have used this?' are useful questions.

Here's another example of these ideas in practice.

(Music plays under transition of animated question marks, dissolves through to a clip from the video 'What Is This? Stereoscope'. The puppet Teddy is behind a desk.)

TEDDY: Why don't we use these anymore, Angela?

ANGELA: These days, we have different ways of creating 3D images.

TEDDY: Oh, yeah. I saw a 3D movie with dancing penguins on my birthday.

ANGELA: In the past when the stereoscope was popular, people lived in a world that didn't yet have television, or movies or the internet.

TEDDY: So, the stereoscope was one way of having fun ...

ANGELA: ... by looking at lifelike pictures of interesting and beautiful places.

(The animated television screen shows more stereograph images, first of people gathered near a rock outcropping facing camera, then of a streetscape with buildings.)

ANGELA: When people went on holidays, they could buy stereoscopic pictures of the places they visited.

TEDDY: They could show the pictures to their friends when they got home. Like when I made a video of my holiday at the beach.

(Clip finishes. Music plays under transition of animated question marks and dissolves back to Angela.

Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Emphasise Process and Skills Development

Dot point: Chronology, terms and concepts

Dot point: Historical questions and research

Dot point: Analysis and use of sources)

ANGELA: We also want to emphasise an analysis and use of sources as a means of identifying and comparing the past and present. For example, having students describe an object's interesting features is one way to begin analysing sources by noting what objects are made from, or what objects from the past may have been used for.

(Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Emphasise Process and Skills Development

Dot point: Chronology, terms and concepts

Dot point: Historical questions and research

Dot point: Analysis and use of sources

Dot point: Perspectives and interpretations)

ANGELA: Through observation, a student's curiosity can be developed, and leads to the expression of different perspectives and interpretations not just from the students themselves, but by introducing the perspectives of others such as parents and grandparents through oral histories. When students hear the stories of others, they learn to contextualise the world of the past in relation to the present – to see the bigger picture, if you like, and develop a narrative about the past.

(Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Emphasise Process and Skills Development

Dot point: Chronology, terms and concepts

Dot point: Historical questions and research

Dot point: Analysis and use of sources

Dot point: Perspectives and interpretations

Dot point: Explanation and communication)

ANGELA: Explanation and communication are two techniques that help us achieve this. Talking, drawing, playing ... essentially any activity that encourages student interaction goes a long way toward developing such narratives.

In this next clip, we'll see a combination of all the characteristics I've just been talking about. Teddy's observation of the knucklebones leads to an inquiry of their origin.

Chrissie's oral history – her recollection of childhood – provides us with information about the use of the source – the bones – and contextualises their use as a toy.

Chrissie's narrative of her past provides a contrast of perspectives. Teddy's interpretation of the past turns out to be challenged by the reality of Chrissie's own experience. Her explanation of how her own childhood was different to that of children today helps create a perspective for Teddy.

(Music plays under transition of animated question marks, dissolves through to a video clip from 'What Is This? Knucklebones clip. Teddy is shown in close-up behind a desk.)

TEDDY: So, Chrissie, what's the story with the bones?

(Close up of Chrissie reaching into box to pick up some of the bones.)

TEDDY (spookily): Are they human bones?

CHRISSIE: No. They're the knucklebones from sheep, and when I was a little girl we used to play a game with them.

(Close up of Chrissie moving the bones around in her hand. The bones make a clinking sound as they hit each other.)

TEDDY: I bet the sheep weren't too happy about you nicking their knuckles.

CHRISSIE: (laughs) It's alright. We got the bones from the butcher.

(Chrissie, Angela and Teddy stand behind the table. The television screen shows a young girl, Yolande, sitting on the ground playing with the bones.)

CHRISSIE: Let's have a look at Yolande playing with the bones.

(Yolande throws the knucklebones into the air.)

CHRISSIE: It's a game all about throwing and catching, and counting.

(Chrissie and Angela are both holding knucklebones in their hands.)

ANGELA: The game is called 'jacks'.

(A close-up of Yolande picking up the bones, she throws them up in air.)

CHRISSIE: (voice over) There are lots of steps to playing 'jacks'. You can play on your own, like Yolande, or you can compete with your friends.

TEDDY: (voice over) Phwooar! Sometimes Yolande's throwing the knucklebones up in the air, turning her hand over and catching them on the back of her hand, and then she throws them up, flips her hand and catches them in her palm.

TEDDY: That looks pretty tricky, Chrissie.

CHRISSIE: Yes, Teddy. But like most games, the more you play, the better you get.

ANGELA: It looks like a lot of fun, Chrissie. What other games did you play when you were little?

TEDDY: Did you play 'jacks' on your Nintendo?

ANGELA: They didn't have Nintendo when Chrissie was a little girl, Teddy.

CHRISSIE: No, my word. A lot of the toys you have today didn't exist when I was a little girl. We didn't have computers or video games. Lots of the games we played happened outside and used things that we could find – like the knucklebones.

(Clip finishes. Music plays under transition of animated question marks, dissolves back to Angela in the studio.

Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Emphasise Process and Skills Development

Dot point: Chronology, terms and concepts

Dot point: Historical questions and research

Dot point: Analysis and use of sources

Dot point: Perspectives and interpretations

Dot point: Explanation and communication)

ANGELA: You'll have noticed that none of the techniques or skills mentioned so far are used in isolation. An integrated approach is a hallmark of inquiry learning, and allows for flexibility in the teaching and learning experience. Good primary teachers do this all the time!

(Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Common Characteristics of Inquiry

Dot point: Student-centred and directed

Dot point: Emphasise process and skills development

Dot point: Conceptual vs factual.)

ANGELA: Another element of inquiry learning challenges the balance between concepts and facts.

A good understanding of history is not merely about regurgitating lists of facts and figures.

Facts, of course, are still important. But contextualising those facts helps students to develop their understanding of past cultures, peoples, ideas and their own place in the world.

(Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Conceptual vs factual

Dot point: Encourages learner interaction

Dot point: Prior knowledge

Dot point: Utilises/considers the learners' interests

Dot point: Direct experience

Dot point: Application of ideas)

ANGELA: This relates to inquiry learning in a very practical sense and encourages learner interaction, draws upon the learner's prior knowledge, utilises and considers the learners' interests, their direct experience and finally, an application of ideas.

It sounds like a lot to take in, doesn't it? But when you think about it, each of these concepts still relates directly to student-centred learning.

In this clip, you may notice some of the other concepts we looked at earlier too. Remember, it's an integrated approach to history teaching, including the development of students' historical skills.

(Music plays under transition of animated question marks and dissolves through to the 'What Is This? String bag' video clip. Angela and Teddy are behind a desk. In front of Angela is a pile of books. Above Teddy to the right of screen is an animated television graphic showing a rotating question mark.)

TEDDY: What about … this?

(Teddy disappears from view, going behind the desk, and re-emerging with a small bag which he gives to Angela. She holds the bag up from its handle.)

TEDDY : It looks like some kind of bag. But it doesn't look quite the same as the ones I've seen at the shops.

ANGELA: Hmm ... interesting. What makes you say that, Teddy?

(Close up of bag. Camera pans down the bag from handle.)

TEDDY: For a start, it's a lot smaller than a shopping bag. It's only about the size of a big lunch box. And … 

(Teddy runs his paw across the surface of the bag.)

TEDDY: … oh, it feels quite different. It's made from some kind of string that's quite rough.

ANGELA: Anything else?

TEDDY: Ah ... the string is in lots of little loops. And it's got some very earthy colours on it. They're not as bright as the ones in my paintbox, though.

(The video clip finishes. Music plays under transition of animated question marks, dissolves back to Angela.

(Text on the right side of the screen:

Heading: Conceptual vs factual

Dot point: Encourages learner interaction

Dot point: Prior knowledge

Dot point: Utilises/considers the learners' interests

Dot point: Direct experience

Dot point: Application of ideas)

ANGELA: Teddy uses his own experience, his own knowledge to make sense of the object in front of him. And again, when he is asked to consider how such a bag may have been used, I tap into this to progress the line of inquiry …

(Music plays under a transition of animated question marks and dissolves back to the video clip from 'What Is This? String bag'. Angela is behind a desk holding the string bag up by its handle.)

ANGELA: … Now, how do you think the people who made these bags used them, Teddy?

TEDDY: I like to carry my bag over my shoulder. But the handle on this bag looks too small to do that.

ANGELA: Do you have a backpack, Teddy?

TEDDY: Yeah. It's great when I need to carry stuff and keep my hands free.

ANGELA: That's exactly how these string bags were used. By putting the handle around your head ... like this ...

(Angela places the long handle of the bag across her forehead so that the bag hangs down her back.)

TEDDY: ... just like a headband ...

ANGELA: ... your hands were free to do other things.

(Angela spreads her hands out and turns around so that bag can be clearly seen hanging down her back.)

TEDDY: What kinds of things, Angela?

ANGELA: Well, Teddy, when you're wearing your backpack, what other things can you do?

TEDDY: I can ride my bike, or I can help my Mum get things out of the car.

(Angela has taken the bag off her head and holds it up by its handle, and then places it on the desk in front of her.)

ANGELA: And what do you use bags for?

TEDDY: To hold my water bottle and my lunch box. And my Mum uses bags when she goes to the supermarket. Did Aboriginal people use these bags for that too?

(Music plays under transition of animated question marks and dissolves back through to Angela.)

ANGELA: In conjunction with the 'What Is This?' series, we've developed activity sets specific to each of the six films. These classroom activities will help you and your students to extend the Foundation-level historical skills covered in the History curriculum.

(On the right side of the screen a graphic is displayed of the National Museum of Australia website page of What is This?)

ANGELA: These activities develop the students' ability to observe, sequence, research, analyse, speculate and empathise. Just as we saw in the clips from the film resources.

The activities for the typewriter film, for example, provide some engaging opportunities for your students to observe a range of photographs that show how typewriters were used in the past. The opportunity to speculate on how this method of writing would be quite different to methods used today.

By observing and comparing modern refrigeration methods with those used in the past, the activity for the meat safe film develops the skill of sequencing.

And the activities for the gramophone film will see your class exploring early 20th century music and dance. By analysing photos of families listening to music in the past, students are encouraged to speculate on what life would have been like, and to empathise.

So, jump in and give it a go.

Essentially, teaching history is all about engaging students and encouraging their natural curiosity about the world around them; what it was like in the past and what it's like now.

(A screen appears on Angela's right where a series of still images of the National Museum of Australia are shown:

an aerial exterior shot of the Museum

an image of people walking through the Museum's courtyard – a space called the Garden of Australian Dreams

a little girl looking at an exhibit which has the word 'Joy' displayed

an image of gallery with an electronic map of Australia displaying the spread of feral animals in the northeast.)

 

ANGELA: The National Museum of Australia looks at our social history and uses objects to tell the stories of Australians from numerous walks of life, different cultures and experiences. We aim to develop the same historical skills that are the focus of the Australian Curriculum: History for Foundation-level students.

(The screen appears on Angela's right again and shows a display in the National Museum of Australia are shown:

first, an image of a gallery wall with a blue signs that has an image of a shirt and a set of circular and rectangular text boxes.

a close-up of the poster so that the heading 'Objects reveal, represent and communicate stories' is legible.

 

ANGELA: Within one of our galleries, we have an area called the Thinkspot. We use it in a number of our programs and it contains a board with several questions that help students in the development of their historical skills.

(The screen reappears on Angela's right again and again shows the display with the shirt and text boxes, but the text is too small to read.)

ANGELA: Some of them are quite specific to the museum environment, but generally, you'll find these types of questions helpful in your own classroom when investigating historical sources.

(A series of questions appears in text next to Angela on the right corresponding to what she is saying.)

ANGELA: What can you see? Can you describe it? What does it do? What stories can it tell us? Who might have used it? Does it have a special significance? What event or period in Australian history might it represent? How could you find out more about this story?

(Close up of Teddy.)

TEDDY: Are you done yet, Angela?

ANGELA: G'day, Teddy. I'm just about to say goodbye.

TEDDY: Good. 'Cause you promised to show me some more of the cool stuff in the Museum. (Teddy turns to face the camera.) Sorry. Angela has to go now.

ANGELA: (to camera). Bye.

(Teddy waves to camera.)

The closing shows a swarm of question marks moving across the screen from left to right followed by rainbow stripes moving across the screen from left to right. A cloud shape pops into the coloured stripes containing an image of a small yellow teddy bear. The video title 'What Is This' Teacher Support is superimposed on the teddy. A question mark bounces into position at the end of the text ('What Is This?') and an eyeball rolls around in the dot forming the bottom of the question mark and winks. Upbeat music plays in the background. Dissolves to a logo with the text 'National Museum Australia'.



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The curriculum links in this resource are drawn from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), Australian Curriculum: History website.