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: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [2]

Activity 1: It's non-verbal language
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Subtheme(s): Inventions and electronic media; Language and scripting; Relationships
  • Turn off the volume and play the clip, Working together, to the class. This will allow students to study non-verbal language. Ask students to focus on how each character's thoughts and feelings are conveyed visually as a narrative device, rather than through words alone as they would be in a written text, and have them respond to the questions on Student Activity Sheet E16.5 It's non-verbal language. As a class, discuss how the filmmaker captures non-verbal language, including facial expression, gesture, stance and movement. Also ask students to note how set design, colour and light contribute to the mood and atmosphere to help create meanings.
  • View the clip again, this time with sound. Ask students to compare their original interpretations with what they now hear and see. Ask students to complete the Student Activity Sheet E16.5 It's non-verbal language recording the things that surprised them when they viewed the clip with sound.
  • As a class, discuss the relationship between the boys, Ben and Leck: what they are working on, the type of clock they are fixing, the reasons why the boys are working together, and how the boys feel when the clock works. Ask them to justify their ideas by referring to the clip. Ask students to focus on what the conversation between the two boys tells the audience? Ask them to consider: What does Leck think about Ben at this point? Ask students to use evidence from the clip to substantiate their views.

  • Sundials, water clocks, sand-glasses and candles have been used throughout history to tell the time. Challenge students to work in small groups to create a timeline from 1790-2010 that includes information about different ways to record time and when mechanical clocks began to be used, including the clock shown in the clip.
  • Ask students to find examples of clocks throughout history and the names of the people who invented them.
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. Clock and Calendar History,
  2. NIST, A Walk Through Time,
  • Have students look at poems and/or nursery rhymes that refer to a clock or a clock's mechanism.
  • Useful websites include:
  1. DLTK-Teach, Hickory Dickory Dock,
  2. Poem Hunter, A Clock Stopped by Emily Dickinson,
  • Have students draw the clock they have in their house and write a short poem about it.



Activity 2: Practical fashions
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Subtheme(s): Fashion; Gender roles and stereotypes
  • As a class, view the clip, Working together, and examine the clothes/costumes worn by the characters. Ask students to describe what each character is wearing and to discuss why they are dressed this way. Place students in groups of three or four and ask them to evaluate the suitability of the garments worn by each character. Ask them to focus particularly on those worn by the boys, for the task they are engaged in, and by the girls for outdoor play. Ask them to compare the designs of the outfits with clothing worn by children in Australia today.
  • Discuss with students some reasons why fashions change. Make a list of these for the students' reference.
  • During this process, ask each group to complete the Student Activity Sheet E16.6 Practical fashions to record students' contributions, related to:
  1. What we Know
  2. What we Want to know
  3. What we Learned
  4. How we Learned it.

  • Ask students to research the fashion styles of the 1850s using the internet to get ideas to help them design a costume for one of the characters in the clip. They can use Student Activity Sheet E16.6 Practical fashions to draft their design for the character's new set of clothes. Students should label the clothing they design to show how the new clothing will suit the character's personality and be more practical for the day-to-day activities of life in the 1850s. Have students present their designs to the class, giving examples from the film to explain how the design suits the character.
  • The following websites may be useful:
  1. Australian History Research, Victorian Fashions,
  2. Primefacts, Life on the Goldfields: living there,


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