Online learning resources from Australian museums

By March 30, 2020April 7th, 2020Museum

Are you a teacher developing lesson plans for your students or a carer helping out with at-home learning for your family? Here’s some of our favourites from Australian museums.

We’re putting together some of our favourite digital and independent learning activities from museums across Australia and the world. Each week we’ll feature different museums and choose some highlights to share from their learning resources.

If you’ve found some other favourites during your at-home learning adventures, please feel free to share them with us at museum@orange.nsw.gov.au and we’ll share them in a future post.

This week, we’re highlighting some of Australia’s national institutions, including the National Museum of Australia, the National Library of Australia and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia has a Classroom Resources section, where students and teachers can explore museum objects and their stories coupled with curriculum linked resources.

Highlights for at-home and online learning include:

  • Yiwarra Kuju (Years 5-9)—Exploring the 2000 kilometre long Canning Stock Route in Western Australia, this resource features enquiry sheets focused on parts of a previous exhibition including Jukurrpa (Dreaming), Ngurra (Country, the desert environment) and information and activities focusing on several of the artists featured in the exhibition.
  • Feeding the family (Years 1–2)—This resource is designed to help younger students engage in historical inquiry and develop historical literacy and skills. The resource includes sets of historical images for comparison, and activities in observation and sequencing, contextualisation and research, and empathy and speculation. Includes a 10 minute introduction video for teachers.
  • Gold Rush Game (ages 8+)—‘Can You Strike it Rich in the Goldrush’ is an introduction to the Australian goldfields, and was a best educational game finalist in the 2016 Australian Teachers of Media awards. Set in 1850-1900, children need to think strategically, and have some good luck, to strike it rich. 1-4 players, iPad optimised.

National Library of Australia

The National Library of Australia’s Digital Classroom includes curriculum-linked resources for Years 3-12. Using objects in the National Library of Australia’s collection, learning units can be linked to a range of topics across the curriculum. Most units include multiple themes and a variety of activities. Resources are written for a classroom setting and could be adapted to online classrooms or individual home learning.

Highlights for at-home and online learning include:

  • Designing the Sydney Opera House (Year 6)—students learn about different types of architectural design, and participate in a range of hands on, research and discussion activities. Includes suggestions for running a classroom design competition.
  • First Contacts (Year 4)—a comprehensive unit designed to introduce Year 4 students to historical themes and concepts from this topic in the History syllabus. The unit includes games and discussion activities, and explores themes including First Peoples, the First Fleet, Strange Creatures and Communication.
  • Indigenous language readings from National Simultaneous Storytime 2016—watch video recordings of live readings of ‘I Got This Hat’ by Jol and Kate Temple in 3 indigenous languages, including Wiradjuri.

Australian National Maritime Museum

The Australian National Maritime Museum offers a range of teacher resources and online materials to complement the Australian curriculum through the Teacher Resources section of their website.

Highlights for at-home and online learning include:

  • Encounters 2020 education resources (Years pre-K-10)—In 2020, 250 years will have passed since the journey of the Endeavour along Australia’s east coast. These education resources look at dual perspectives on this event including the lasting impact on Australia’s First Peoples, the achievements of the voyage itself, and the lasting legacy for our nation. Resources include films featuring perspectives of Indigenous Australians and scientific exploration, plus activities designed for pre-K to Year 10.
  • Virtual Endeavour (various school years)—‘visit’ and learn about the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Endeavour replica in a virtual tour. Additional online learning resources cover topics from scurvy to the Transit of Venus. Each topic resource comes with a recommended activity, from using the scientific method to create the best paper plane to contributing The Atlas of Living Australia.
  • The Voyage (linked to Year 5+)—an online game based on real convict voyages. The player is cast  on a convict ship travelling to Van Diemen’s Land and must make decisions to deliver their ship quickly and safely. Suggested classroom activities connected to the game are available for download.

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