Food and chores

[Episode 3 | 1988 : Lily]

Lily and her cousin are working in the family restaurant, creating rice-paper rolls. The rolls are tricky and delicate to make and need an experienced hand. Phoung is congratulated for her skilful making of the rolls and Lily is embarrassed by her efforts.


The Australian curriculum: History

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The Australian Curriculum: History aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens 
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society 
  • understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability 
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

History activities [3]

Activity 1: Fashions of the '80s
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Subtheme(s): Fashion; Gender roles and stereotypes

The 1980s saw a buoyant economy that allowed families to afford the latest trends and technological advancements, such as microwave ovens, colour televsions and VHS players. Fashion reflected the notion that women could work as equals to men, and their clothes reflected a more businesslike approach, with bold fabrics, large jewellery and shoulder pads.

  • Discuss the following questions:
  1. What factors inspired the fashion trends of the 1980s?
  2. Where did these trends originate?
  3. Why did Australians want to follow these trends?
  • Ask students to find images of fashion items from the 1980s. These images can include clothing, footwear or accessories. The images can form a 1980s mural for the classroom. Discuss the main elements of fashion for men and women in the 1980s.

  • Ask students to create a fashion inspired by the 1980s. They should use the template provided and find colour and pattern swatches for the outfit.
  • As a class, compile a list of the most popular clothing trends from the 1980s.


Activity 2: Vietnamese food
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment; Customs and traditions; Food

Vietnamese food is diverse, colourful, creative and very inspirational. The cultural diversity of the regions of Vietnam is reflected in the food. Most Vietnamese dishes are created with five main tastes: spicy, salty, sweet, sour and bitter.

  • Ask students to investigate the unique styles of Vietnamese cooking. Refer to 'Vietnamese cuisine' on Wikipedia,
  • Ask students to find at least three Vietnamese recipes, online or in cookbooks. They should research the origins of these recipes and share their research with the class. In the clip, Lily and Phoung are making rice paper rolls for the restaurant. Ask students to find the recipe for this dish and make some to share.

  • The recipes and introductions could be collated into a class Vietnamese recipe booklet to celebrate Tết, which falls during the full moon prior to the spring planting, usually in late January to mid-February. Tết began as a festival to pray for a good year.
  • The booklet can be presented electronically or on paper and shared.


Activity 3: Keeping traditions
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Subtheme(s): Customs and traditions; Multiculturalism

Most of the Vietnamese immigrants arriving in Australia from the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s were refugees, predominantly arriving from refugee camps in South-East Asia. From the early 1980s, direct emigration from Vietnam under family migration categories began to take on greater importance. Lily is first-generation Australian as her parents were born in Vietnam. Her parents now own a restaurant serving Vietnamese food.

  • Ask students to discuss the importance to a new immigrant of retaining links to family, culture and tradition. They could create a mind map of ideas that relate to the importance of retaining these links in a new country.
  • Refer to the Screen Asia website, for additional resources.
  • Ask students to use the mind map to create a plusses, minuses and interesting implications (PMI) chart. The PMI chart will foster students' ideas about the importance of retaining traditions when living in a new country.
  1. P = plus: What are the positives in maintaining cultural traditions?
  2. M = minus: What are the negatives associated with enforcing cultural traditions?
  3. I = interesting: What are the interesting implications of retaining cultural and family traditions?


Students could write a journal entry as a new immigrant, with their first impressions of Australia. Ask students to use their local town or suburb for inspiration.


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