Working together

[Episode 16 | 1858 : Ben]

Ben and Leck work together to repair Mr Owen's broken clock. Leck corrects Ben on the truth behind the ugly stereotype he learnt from Mr Wilson.


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 [2]

Activity 1: Lights
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment; Inventions and electronic media

In this clip we see Ben and Leck working by candlelight at night. Lighting is a basic aspect of life that has changed drastically over the course of Australia's history, reflecting advances in modern technology and science.

  • As a class, ask students to think about lighting and how buildings and homes are lit today. Ask the students to think about sources of power and lighting in Ben's era. Ask students the following questions:
  1. How would it feel to walk around in a world without street lights?
  2. How would this affect the way you would live and work at night-time?
  • Ask students to research the history of lighting, focusing on the following questions to guide them:
  1. What type of lights would you find in houses in Ben's era? 
  2. How bright are candles compared to modern electrical lights? 
  3. What different types of lighting have existed in Australia? 
  4. When did lighting technology change?
  5. How might lighting change in the future? 
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. The Institute of Engineering and Technology, 'Domestic lighting',
  2. Edison Tech Centre, 'The History of Electric Lighting',

  • Ask students to create a history timeline of lights and lighting in Australia. Students could find or draw images of different lamps and lights from a variety of historical eras, writing a description about how and when each lamp was used and the power source.
  • Alternatively, they may wish to use a Timeline Creator such as This website tool provides a template for students to create an online timeline, which allows for the inclusion of graphics and multimedia elements.
  • Have students complete a 24-hour log of activities they might undertake in a typical day. Ask them to think about the following questions:
  1. How many of these activities are performed at night-time? 
  2. How does the length of daylight in winter and summer affect these activities?
  3. What impact would the lack of electrical lighting have on the activities they could complete in a typical day?


Activity 2: Clocks
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment; Inventions and electronic media; Relationships

In this clip, Ben and Leck fix the mechanism of a broken clock. Clocks and the ability to keep accurate time have been an important part of people's lives for hundreds of years.

  • As a class, discuss with students what they know about the history of clocks.
  • Ask students to research information on clocks by creating an A to Z glossary about clocks. Students should create entries about clock-related words beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Prompt their inquiry with the following questions:
  1. What are some examples of early clocks?
  2. What are some of the different uses for clocks in Ben's era?
  3. How has keeping accurate time been used to help navigate ships?
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. National Institute of Standards and Technology, 'A walk through time',
  2. National Maritime Museum, 'Astronomy and Time',
  3. St Edmondsbury Borough Council, 'The beginnings',
  4. How stuff works, 'How pendulum clocks work',
  • In the clip Ben and Leck are attempting to fix a pendulum clock. Have students research how a pendulum clock works. In a group, ask them to design and build an early sundial clock and time it for accuracy.
  • Ask students to think about the following questions in their research:
  1. What are the main components of a pendulum clock? 
  2. Why are the springs important?
  3. What role does the pendulum have in keeping time?
  4. In an era before electricity, what kept clocks running?

  • Ask students to draw the inside of a pendulum clock and label its major component parts. Students should also write a basic description about how a pendulum clocks works.
  • As an extension activity, ask students to reflect on the accuracy of clocks today in comparison to the clocks of Ben's era. Have students time the length of different simple activities, such as tying their shoelace, running a ten meter race, or standing up from a sitting position. Students should use a variety of timing devices, such as an egg timer, an analogue clock, and a digital watch.


Student Activity Sheet H.16.6 Clocks

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