Henry's life

[Episode 14 | 1878 : Henry]

Henry and his friend Franklin experiment with a hot air balloon. After blowing up his schoolhouse with an experimental self-lighting candle, Henry is expelled from school. He goes to work in his uncle's saddlery.


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: Franklin and friends
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Subtheme(s): Character; Entertainment and games; Relationships
  • View the clip as a class, until the moment when the girl runs to join the two boys and Franklin says he is going to take her home. Ask the students to share what they have discovered about the three characters introduced so far, to help them to begin to think actively about the clip. You could ask:
  1. What is the name of each character?
  2. Are the boys friends? Why do you think this?
  3. What are the boys doing?
  4. What names do the boys want for the company they plan to start? 
  5. What will the boys' company do? How do you know this?
  6. Who do you think the little girl might be? Why do you think this?
  7. Why do you think Franklin is going to take the girl home?
  • View the entire clip. Work with the class to list the names of key characters on a whiteboard or large sheet of paper. Ask students to provide rich adjectives to describe each character and record these beside each character's name. Discuss how the filmmaker communicates important information about the characters to the audience. Look closely at costumes, actions, facial expressions, mannerisms, and dialogue.
  • Provide each student with Student Activity Sheet E14.1: Franklin and friends. Have them replay the clip as often as they wish in order to describe what three of the characters are doing and any actions that occur with other characters.

  • Seat students in a circle to facilitate the sharing of responses recorded on the Student Activity Sheet E14.1 Franklin and friends. As students take turns to share responses, have them identify the types of relationships they observe, for example, school friends, auntie and nephew, brother and sister, teacher and student.
  • Have students collaborate with a partner to create a socio-gram to represent relationships between characters. To do this students write each character's name in a small separate circle, then draw arrows from one character circle to another to show relationships and write a word, phrase or sentence along each arrow to describe the relationship; for example, Franklin and Henry enjoy inventing things together.
  • Play the clip again. As a class discuss words and actions that provide information about the friendship between Henry and Franklin.
  • Ask students to describe what the boys have in common and any differences between them. Have them suggest why Henry and Franklin might have different ideas about their planned company's name. Is the friendship an equal one or does one boy exert more power than the other? Replay the clip as necessary, to assist students to find evidence to support their ideas.


Activity 2: Henry's expulsion
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Subtheme(s): Character; Relationships; Social order and education
  • View the clip with the class, and have students work together in small groups to create a poster-sized mind map that explores all the things they find out about the children in the clip. Allow students to replay the clip as often as they want and model questions to encourage observation and analytical thinking. Questions could include:
  1. How old do you think the children in the clip might be?
  2. What do the children wear?
  3. What do you see children doing? Are they playing or working?
  4. Are all the children doing the same things? 
  5. Do you think Franklin attends school? Why or why not? How do you know?
  6. What type of school do the children attend? How is it similar to or different from your own school?
  7. Who do the children live with? How is this similar to or different from the people who live in your own home?
  8. What kinds of tools and technologies do you see children using?
  • Play the segment of the clip where you see the people seated at the table. Ask:
  1. Who are the people at the table? Have students identify each person by name.
  2. What do you think each person thinks about school?
  • Ask students to watch the segment again, this time without sound. Have them observe the face of each person very carefully, and ask: What do you learn about Henry and each of the adults by observing their facial expressions?
  • Have each student complete Student Activity Sheet E14.2: Henry's expulsion to explore what the characters seated at the table think about Henry's expulsion.

  • Seat students in a circle to share the activity sheet responses. Have them explain what they believe each person thinks about the value of going to school, providing examples of what they saw or heard in the clip that gives information about each person's opinion.
  • Discuss Henry's thoughts and feelings about school and work. Consider Henry's plans to set up a company with his friend Franklin, the ways he finds things out or learns outside school, his reaction when he is expelled from school and his comments when he sees Franklin working. How do you think Henry feels about school and work after a day of work at Muller's Saddlery? Give an example of something he say or does that tells you about how he is feeling, for example, he folds his arms and asks: 'Every day?'


Student Activity Sheet E14.2: Henry's expulsion

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