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Our Great Barrier Reef
Junior Primary Years 1- 3

Going further: Sample Activities

What was here before?

The purpose of this activity is to increase student awareness of the idea of change, and to consider traditional uses of these areas by Aboriginal groups.


Contact the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Education Unit or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents to find out about suitable excursions which include hands-on sessions on Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander food, shelter and arts and crafts to complement learning activities in “What was here before?”.

Read Window by Jeannie Baker to the class, then ask students what they think might have been on the land where their house or school is now. Ask similar questions in relation to the Great Barrier Reef.

Arrange a visit to an area of importance to local Indigenous groups. Seek advice about places to visit. During the visit draw students’ attention to the ways Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people used:

  • Areas within the Great Barrier Reef for shelter;
  • Animals from the Great Barrier Reef for food;
  • Plants and animals from the Great Barrier Reef for medicines;
  • Natural objects to make tools, hunting weapons and other equipment;
  • Plants, soils and seeds for ceremonial purposes, rock and cave painting and decorative art work; and
  • What areas of the Great Barrier Reef mean to their culture and traditions.

At school, organise a program of Aboriginal arts and crafts. These could include:

  • Using different coloured soils and clays;
  • Making paint or dye using grasses, pine needles etc.; and
  • Building models of shelters using natural products.

Next - Making Connections: Sample Activities   

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Tuning In:
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Going Further:
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