Planning, programming and assessing history 7–10
Resources to help you plan, program and assess history in Years 7–10.
History is a mandatory 100 hour course in each of Stages 4 and 5. Stage 4 students learn about a range of human experiences from the ancient past and modern world. Stage 5 students focus on the making of the modern world and Australia through two mandatory depth studies and a choice of at least another two depth studies from the History K–10 Syllabus (2012).
An historical site study is mandatory for both Stage 4 and 5 students.
A study of history examines the past to help explain how people, places and events have shaped our world today. Through a process of historical inquiry, students study the key historical concepts of:
- continuity and change
- cause and effect
- empathetic understanding
Students explore the different stories, perspectives and interpretations of the past using a range of sources. They also use this evidence to provide their own point of view using historical research and skills. These skills are outlined in the continuum of skills in history K–10 which is available to download from the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)website.
The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) History K–10 syllabus (2012) page contains useful information to assist with programming Years 7–10 history, including a guide to the syllabus, sample scope and sequences and sample units.
History 7–10 learning sequences
Each of the learning sequences includes an assessment task and marking criteria designed to be adapted to suit the context of your school.
They can be incorporated into teaching and learning programs in full or used to supplement existing programs.
Depth study 1 – investigating the ancient past (DOCX 135 KB) – a complete teaching and learning sequence with the ancient world overview embedded throughout the learning activities.
Depth study 2 – the Mediterranean world (DOCX 160 KB) – a complete teaching and learning sequence that can be used in part or full to suit your programming needs.
Depth study 3 – the Asian world (China) (DOCX 105 KB) – a complete teaching and learning sequence that can be used in part or full to suit your programming needs.
Depth study 5 – the Angkor/Khmer Empire (DOCX 2.4 MB) - complete teaching and learning sequence that can be used in part or full to suit your programming needs.
Depth study 6 – the Black Death (DOCX 3.5 MB) – a complete teaching and learning sequence that can be used in part or full to suit your programming needs.
Depth study 3 (Part 1) - Australians at war - World War 1 (DOCX 118 KB) – covers the World War 1 component of the core study Australians at war in Stage 5.
Depth study 3 (part 2) – Australians at war - World War 2 (DOCX 138 KB) – covers the World War 2 component of the core study Australians at war in Stage 5.
Depth study 5a – pop culture (DOCX 121 KB) – explore pop culture in Australia and globally post World War 2.
Historical inquiry continuum 7 to 10
Learn more about the historical inquiry process and what it can look like for different stages of learning.
Historical inquiry process
- Process of historical inquiry using the history K–10 syllabus (DOCX 288 KB)
- The nature of historical inquiry in schools (PPT 2.7 MB)
Terms and definitions
Question – Students are provided with research question/s OR may identify and develop their own questions to frame historical inquiry. Suitable instructional words may include: how, what, why, account for, compare, contrast, describe, discuss, explain, identify, outline and recount.
Research – Students identify and locate a range of primary and secondary sources, using teacher guidance as required. Teacher will provide some recommended source material.
Analyse – Students synthesise the collated historical information and align the sources to the key content in the question/s. Students identify meaning and context to determine the usefulness of the sources to the inquiry, taking into account the sources? origins, motivations, perspectives and interpretations, values and historical detail. Teachers need to provide guidance in how to determine which sources to include or exclude, as students construct an informed argument or opinion.
Evaluate – Students examine the reliability of the source material, considering authorship, to answer the question/s.
Communicate – Students present a text, organising and presenting their findings about the past, identifying and describing different perspectives relevant to the historical inquiry. Students use historical terms and concepts, identify evidence from sources and acknowledge the sources used.
Question – Students identify and develop their own questions OR may be provided with research question/s to frame historical inquiry. Suitable instructional words may include: how, what, why, account for, compare, contrast, explain, discuss, analyse, evaluate and justify.
Research – Students identify and locate a range of primary and secondary sources, using teacher guidance as required. Teachers may provide some recommended source material.
Analyse – Students synthesise the collated historical information and align the sources to the key content in the question/s. Students analyse sources to identify the relevance of the historical content to the question/s. Students determine the usefulness of the sources to the inquiry, taking into account the sources? origins, purposes, motivations, perspectives, values and historical detail. Teachers may need to provide guidance in how to determine which sources to include or exclude, as students construct an informed argument or opinion.
Evaluate –Students justify the reliability of the source material, considering authorship, to answer the question/s
Communicate – Students present a text, organising and presenting findings about the past, incorporating their own justifications and interpretations relevant to the historical inquiry. Students use historical terms and concepts, identify evidence from sources and acknowledge the sources used.
Analyse – This step seems simple to teachers but is often a challenge for students. Source analysis in Step 3 requires students to ask these questions of a source:
- What is the 'core' content that needs to be addressed to respond to the inquiry question/s?
- Does the source's content relate substantially to the 'core content' of the question/s?
- Is this source USEFUL to the historical inquiry?
A source may be determined as useful because it
- provides an interesting perspective on the past
- shows us the values and motivations of people in a particular era
- contains historical detail such as dates
- helps us to empathise with people's experiences in the past OR
- due to the quantity of relevant, historical information.
- Does the source confirm historical arguments or opinions that you previously held?
- Does the source challenge you to reformulate your arguments or opinions?
It is at this step that students begin to use source material to develop an informed argument or opinion that addresses the historical inquiry question/s.
Evaluate – students determine the reliability of each of the sources to be used in answering the question/s. For each source students need to ask, "Is this source to be believed"
Students must take into account the origin, values, purpose and context of the source in order to answer the question/s.
Primary sources and secondary sources can both be considered reliable sources of information. A primary source may be reliable because it is produced by a credible witness to an historical event. A secondary source may be reliable because it is produced by an expert historian, or a trustworthy organisation, who has used quality primary materials to produce the source.
However, sources used will often have issues of reliability, such as bias within accounts of a witness or author. Such sources can still be utilised as long as students include reflections on the sources' bias, noting the way in which bias places limitations on the use of the sources as evidence.
Additional history programming resources
Use the resources below to support your programming for history 7–10.
Chinese question is a collaborative resource utilising Google Apps in which groups of students investigate Chinese migrants in early 20th century Australia as part of depth study 2a, making a nation.
Evaluating a teaching and learning program
Tool for evaluating a teaching and learning program for history K–10 (DOCX 43KB) – a scaffold to evaluate your history teaching and learning programs in a holistic way. Use this document to reflect on your programs as an individual or faculty, ensuring that they are compliant and fit for purpose
National Literacy and Numeracy learning progressions
The following sample lesson plans aim to assist teachers to implement the National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions into history learning and teaching programs. They are a guide and may be amended and adapted to suit individualised learning and teaching programs.
The progressions can be used to identify the capabilities of students. The learning progression indicators give teachers a clear foundation to target student learning needs and improve achievement of course outcomes.
The progressions provide teachers with the anatomy of literacy and numeracy. They can be used to link students’ work samples to the indicators and can assist teachers in identifying the next phase in learning the skills of literacy and numeracy across and between indicators.
Using the learning progressions
You can use the progressions to support the development of targeted learning and teaching programs and to set clearer goals for students. You can use this model as a starting point to identify literacy and numeracy aspects within your existing teaching and learning programs. From this identification, engagement with the learning progressions can begin.
Remember that the NSW Syllabuses for the Australian Curriculum are mandatory documents that set the expectation for student achievement and inform teaching practice. The learning progressions are a tool to enhance this.
Sample lesson plans with literacy and numeracy learning progressions
- Stage 4 Mediterranean world – Rome – with learning intentions (DOCX 66 KB)
- Stage 4 3b The Asian world – with learning progressions (DOCX 66 KB)
- Stage 4 The Vikings – with learning progressions (DOCX 68 KB)
- Stage 4 Depth study Polynesian expansion – with learning intentions (DOCX 69 KB)
- Stage 4 Expanding contacts – with learning progressions (DOCX 67 KB)
- Stage 5 Making a better world – with learning progression (DOCX 68 KB)
Learning across the curriculum
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures K–10 (DOCX 122 KB) –teaching and learning activities and links to resources to integrate the teaching of the key concepts of Country/Place, Culture and People with the content and outcomes of the syllabus.
- Sustainability K–10 (DOCX 176 KB) – ideas to embed the cross curriculum priority of sustainability within a history program through learning snapshots with links to resources across a number of K–10 topics.
- Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia K–10 (DOCX 126KB) – snapshots of learning for each stage with case studies that support teachers to include the diversity of Asia, achievements and contributions of peoples of Asia and Asia-Australia engagement in history.
- Civics and citizenship (DOCX 480 KB) – sample teaching and learning activities which align to the Civics and Citizenship Assessment Framework. For Year 10, whilst some activities can support the Stage 5 history depth study topic, Making a nation, most are guided by the content and skills in the National Assessment Program Civics and Citizenship Assessment Framework.
- Guide to using picture books in history K–10 (PDF 1.94 MB) supports you to integrate picture books to enhance your history teaching and programming. It provides examples of learning activities for picture books selected for their historical and literary value.
- Using picture books for intercultural understanding: Learning across the curriculum (PDF 1.55 MB) is a resource for geography, history, English and creative arts K–10. The resource suggests learning activities based around picture books selected for their value in developing intercultural understandings and their literary worth.
- History terminology continuum K–10 (DOCX 53.28 KB) – a list of essential vocabulary required of the NSW syllabus for the Australian curriculum K–10 history
- History for those new to teaching the subject (DOCX 893 KB) is a comprehensive resource to support new and out-of-subject teachers to develop their skills and confidence in teaching history. The resource unpacks the History K–10 syllabus in detail and includes a number of practical activities to encourage teachers to reflect on their knowledge and understanding in history.