Setting the scene
Kspace takes visitors to Lake Mungo, 45,000 years ago. People have inhabited the Australian continent for many tens of thousands of years, before animals including diprotodons and giant goannas were extinct.
Questions children can keep in mind if visiting this scene at the Museum are:
- What do you notice about the animals in the scene? Are they familiar?
- What objects and technologies are present in the scene?
- What are people in the scene doing? What did they have to eat?
Narrative and gameplay
Our free, printable visitor access guide gives a sense of what happens in the game before you visit the Museum. It includes storyboards on the Lake Mungo narrative and gameplay and a detailed description of the Kspace experience.
This guide is also helpful for students with hearing impairment, learning difficulties or limited mobility, who may need to prepare before they visit.
Primary source study
A suitcase used by archaeologist John Mulvaney to transport the remains of Mungo Lady to the Australian National University, Canberra, in 1969, is now part of the National Museum’s collection.
Exercise 1: Online
Twenty questions for students to demonstrate their understanding of animals found at Lake Mungo 45,000 years ago.
Non-native animals (rabbit, goat, fox, buffalo, camel, deer and horse) can be excluded. Tropical animals (dugong and crocodile) can be excluded. The dingo can also be excluded, since evidence suggests it arrived in Australia about 5000 years ago. There is evidence the Tasmanian tiger was found at Lake Mungo (prior to the arrival of the dingo they were found on the Australian mainland and Tasmania).
Exercise 2: Printable worksheet
‘What kind of animal am I?’ is an exercise that encourages children to think about the concept of extinction, and how different animals can be grouped together based on where they evolved and what they eat.
Suggested projects for children to make and do.
- Create a picture or diorama of a Lake Mungo landscape and its inhabitants 45,000 years ago.
- Devise a timeline, showing major events at Lake Mungo over the past 200,000 years.
- Produce two images of Lake Mungo; one as it is today, and the other as it may have looked 45,000 years ago.
- Create a comic strip or story, based on the events that led to the footsteps at Lake Mungo being created 20,000 years ago.
- Write and perform a play featuring scientists discussing the extinction of Australia’s megafauna.
- Produce a PowerPoint presentation on the significance of Lake Mungo to Indigenous people and scientists.
- Draw a picture of a people interacting with extinct megafauna at Lake Mungo.
Suggested assignments questions encouraging children to think and write.
- What does the evidence at Lake Mungo reveal about the peopling of Australia?
- What are some of the theories proposed to explain the disappearance of Australia’s megafauna?
- What are some of the most important archaeological discoveries at Lake Mungo? How do they compare to discoveries elsewhere in Australia and the world?
- For what reasons is the Willandra Lakes region listed on the World Heritage register?
- How has the landscape of the Lake Mungo region changed over the past 200,000 years, and what natural processes have influenced this change?
- Studies involving remains found at Lake Mungo have been central to a number of scientific controversies. Use the sources below to identify and discuss some of these debates.
a. ‘Mungo Man’ on the ABC Science website
b. ’Ancient bones found at Lake Mungo on the ABC website
c. ‘Mungo Man’s age rattles a few bones’ on The Age website
d. ‘How old are Mungo Lady and Mungo Man?’ on the Mungo National Park website
e. ‘Further controversy on human origins’ on the ABC Science website
f. ‘Out of Darkness’ film clip on the Australian Screen website
- Animals in Australia are different to those found in other parts of the world. Discuss the impact of these differences for the first people arriving in Australia.
- The remains of Mungo Lady were returned to the traditional owners of Lake Mungo in 1992. Why is it important to Indigenous communities for human remains to be returned to their country?
- Discuss the painting Lake Mungo People. How sure can we be that elements within the image are accurate, and how much is speculation?
Note: inspiration and answers for these online activities, creative projects and written assignments can be found in the Kids learning space