Suggested duration: Two lessons
Students will learn to make observations and collect and evaluate data by developing scientific inquiry questions aimed at designing evidence-based research. The topic for exploration is collecting and interpreting rainfall data using the frame of reference established for the seasons by the Yawuru people of Western Australia’s Broome region. Students will work in groups, using the Activity worksheets, a set of Activity cards and material from The Little Red Yellow Black Book.
The way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples understand seasons is specific to each region and often to each group. It goes beyond the four seasons Australians are most familiar with — summer, autumn, winter and spring — or, for those in the north of Australia, the wet and the dry seasons (The Little Red Yellow Black Book, p. 24).
- Students will be able to formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically
- Students will be able to collaboratively discuss and design scientific methods
|General capabilities||Cross-curriculum priorities|
|Literacy||Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures|
|Critical and creative thinking||Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures organising ideas: 2, 3|
Australian Curriculum content descriptions
Year 9 Science
- Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically (ACSIS164).
- Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence (ACSIS170).
- Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS174).
Year 10 Science
- Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically (ACSIS198).
- Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence (ACSIS204).
- Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS208).
Provisions for differentiation
Students with special learning needs may elect to work in partnerships with peers or a learning support teacher within their group.
Students may like to implement an inquiry based on the topic discussed in these lessons and conduct actual research that answers one or more inquiry questions within their own local area.
- Activity worksheet 1 and 2 (PDF)
- Activity cards (PDF)
- The Little Red Yellow Black Book - an introduction to Indigenous Australia (4th edition), ‘Who we are’, Aboriginal Studies Press, AIATSIS, Canberra, 2018. Seasons 17–19, 22, 24, 34, 38–9, 124–5
Ensure that the guidance notes included in The Little Red Yellow Black Book teacher resource website have been considered.
Preparation: Make double-sided copies of the Activity worksheet 1 and 2 (PDF) - enough for one per group. Print the Activity cards (PDF) page onto cardstock (90gsm+) and cut out the cards. There are ten cards in all.
Arrange the students into five groups of five or more students. Ask students to read and discuss key points in the background material - The Little Red Yellow Black Book, pp. 17–19, 22, 24, 34, 38–9, 124–5.
Distribute the Activity worksheet 1 and 2 (PDF) - one double-sided sheet per group. Distribute two Activity Cards (PDF) to each group.
Have the groups read the material on the Activity worksheet 1 and 2 (PDF) and hold their group discussions. Emphasise the importance of the Yawuru people’s status as experts in their knowledge of weather trends and patterns and the importance of collaboration to access knowledge that can help us answer scientific questions. Students may want to write down key points from the discussion questions. Assign 30-40 minutes for the students to complete their discussions.
Ask the students to look closely at the two Scientific Methods Cards they were given. Instruct each group’s scribe to write point form answers to the questions posed in the section called ‘Writing about scientific methods’ on the Activity worksheet 2.
Ask each group’s spokesperson in turn to present their point form notes to the class.
Have the groups re-form and discuss the presentations of the other groups’ spokespeople.
Additional lesson ideas
For further extension of this sequence of lessons, teachers could have students complete the following tasks:
- Discuss whether the results of such an investigation might change over time.
- Explain how the investigation could be altered to include conclusions about average temperatures as well as rainfall.
- Design their own scientific question.
- Write a hypothesis and formulate a plan for testing it.
- Q and A of hypotheses presented to check for understanding