Henry is expelled for blowing up his school after miscalculating the strength of one of his inventions. His school, typical of public education of the times, is portrayed as a small one-room building with only one teacher. While Henry attends school, his Chinese friend, Franklin, works for his father and does not receive a formal education.
- Ask students what they think going to school was like in the 1870s. When discussing schools during this time in Australia, ask students the following questions:
- Who would have attended school and who was excluded?
- What were schools like, how were they built?
- How many rooms would a typical school in Henry's era have?
- How many students were in a typical class?
- What were their ages?
- What types of subjects did they learn?
- What materials did they use to write with?
- What was the typical routine for a school day and school year?
- The following websites may be useful:
'Sovereign Hill Education, 1850s School Life, Research Notes for Primary Schools', http://sheducationcom.ascetinteractive.biz/uploads//SovHill%20Schoollife%20notes%20ps1.pdf
Scholastic, 'The Olden Days', http://teacher.scholastic.com/lessonrepro/lessonplans/oldendays.htm#school
- Using a Venn diagram, ask students to compare and contrast a school of 1878 with their own school.
Introduce students to the digital museum box tool on the Museum Box website at http://museumbox.e2bn.org/. The tool assists students to collect images, data and facts to help them create their reflection. Students can collect information on an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box. You can display anything from a text file to a movie.
- Ask students to collect data on early education in Australia. Have students create a web page, Word document or slideshow presentation using the title Schools then and now. Students can use images and graphs that they find in their research to visually illustrate the differences.
- Students could use the questions and answers from their research to write quiz questions for a game where the class is divided into two teams. The teams are scored on how many questions each team answers correctly.
Student Activity Sheet H14.1: School