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 [1]

Activity 1: 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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