The Chinese dragon

[Episode 14 | 1878 : Henry]

The local population brings in the Chinese New Year with traditional celebrations. Henry and Franklin contribute to the proceedings by launching their lanterns.


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: Sights and sounds
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Subtheme(s): Celebrations; Culture; Customs and traditions
  • Play the clip without vision. Ask students to make notes on Student Activity Sheet E14.7: Sights and sounds, listing all the different sounds they can hear, and then have them form groups of three to share and compare what they have recorded.
  • After viewing the clip without watching the images, ask each group of students to agree about one thing they think will be seen in the clip, and to share the idea with the class. Ask students whose voices they can hear and whether they think the clip is set in the day or at night.
  • Have each student use the storyboard on Student Activity Sheet E14.7: Sights and sounds to draw four moving image scenes they think will accompany the clip's soundtrack.
  • Replay the clip, this time with both sound and moving images. Encourage students to share anything that surprised them.
  • Ask the class to explain what is being celebrated, to identify the people who are celebrating and to describe ways they see and hear people celebrating. Encourage them to provide examples from the clip to support their ideas, paying close attention to all the different customs and traditions that can be seen such as clapping, Chinese dragon, lanterns and music.

  • As a class, discuss the role played by Henry in this celebration. Why do you think he is involved? What have Henry and Franklin invented that is part of this Chinese New Year celebration? Is this invention a success? How do you know? What do you think the invention might symbolise?
  • Assist the class to list celebrations they know about today that they have been reminded of by the clip. Accept all responses to build up a comprehensive list of celebrations from across cultural, ethnic or religious groups. Create a class chart that identifies each celebration, who celebrates it and why it is celebrated. For example:

    Birthday - celebrated by people of many cultures - to mark the anniversary of a person's birth


Activity 2: Celebrating Chinese New Year
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Subtheme(s): Celebrations; Customs and traditions; Multiculturalism
  • After watching the clip, have students work in groups of three to list the main events, thinking about what happened, why and to whom. Have each group agree upon a title they would give the clip based on the events they have listed, and then as a class discuss and record the key events in the clip.
  • Display a large Y-Chart with the topic 'Chinese New Year' and the focus questions:
  1. What does Chinese New Year look like?
  2. What does Chinese New Year sound like?
  3. What does Chinese New Year feel like?
  • Replay the clip several times, asking students to observe and listen carefully so that each student can contribute information to the class Y-chart.

  • Ask students to research the significance of Chinese New Year. Encourage them to find out who celebrates it, when it is celebrated and how it is celebrated. The websites below may assist their research.
  1. About Australia, 'Australian Stories: Chinese New Year',
  2. About Australia, 'Australian Stories: The Changing Face of Early Australia',
  3. Asia Education Foundation, 
  4. Asia Society, 'The China Game',
  • Invite a person from the Chinese community to speak about how Chinese New Year is observed and celebrated both in the past and today in Australian culture.
  • Ask students to use Student Activity Sheet E14.8: Celebrating Chinese New Year to record their discoveries about Chinese New Year. A describing wheel is a graphic organiser that encourages students to describe facts and ideas relating to a topic. The wheel has a place for the topic in the centre, surrounded by spokes in which students can record facts and ideas.


Student Activity Sheet E14.8 Celebrating Chinese New Year

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