Examining the lives of historical figures to help us affect change: Activity 1

  1. Explain to students that they will be investigating the lives of famous Australians who have effected change in their lifetime. They will begin with a study of Edith Cowan that will act as a model for undertaking an independent small-group investigation about another famous Australian.

    Inform students that they will be working in groups and that each member of the group will become an expert, reporting back on the answers they have found to a series of set questions and a supplementary question that the students will create.

    Arrange students into mixed ability groups (based on reading ability). Each group has four students. Distribute a copy the Jigsaw activity – Expert groups handout.

    Read through the questions with students. The questions are:

    • What did Edith Cowan achieve?
    • What might have been her possible motivations?
    • Which of the Nine Values for Australian Schooling are reflected in Edith Cowan's biographies?
    • How did Edith Cowan affect the lives of Australians?
    • Students’ own question

    The students’ own question can be created using tools such as question spinners. Distribute a copy the Question spinners handout. Read through the instructions for the question spinners with students.

    Ask the students to cut out the jigsaw. Each group member will record the answers to the questions on their jigsaw piece.

    Provide an opportunity for students to clarify any questions they might have about the task before they begin.

  2. Each group breaks up into an expert group and moves to another part of the room.

    Provide expert groups who have lower literacy levels with access to resources such as:

    Provide other expert groups with access to resources such as:

    Inform the experts about the amount of time they have to read the information provided and answer the set and supplementary questions about Edith Cowan; for example, inform students that they have 30 minutes to complete the task.

  3. At the end of the allocated time, the experts return to their original groups and share their answers. Provide students with a glue sticks and A3-sized sheets of paper. Ask students to join the pieces of their puzzle back together again and stick them on the A3-size piece of paper.     

    Introduction | Activity One | Activity Two