A significant local site

Activity 7: Old photos and artefacts

Some images of classrooms from the past include student activities in progress and show equipment the students were using. Many such images represent learning experiences that happened in most Australian classrooms. As such, it is not essential to have images of the school being researched to develop an understanding of what daily life was like in the school being investigated. For example, in a photo of Sandy Bay Infant School, students are using Cuisenaire rods. Schools often still have these rods or they can be purchased in order for students to experience the actual artefact.

The teacher should give out Cuisenaire rods to small groups of students and give them time to explore how they think the rods may have been used and in which subject. They should notice the measurement relationships between the different coloured rods and perhaps suggest how they were used. If they suggest that two rods of one colour are equal to one length of another then they could be asked to record that as an equation. Students' suggested uses and examples could be photographed and displayed. Teacher-directed activities in dedicated Numeracy time could use the rods to explore relationships in addition, subtraction, multiplication and fractions.

Having come up with many possibilities for how the rods were used the teacher can then introduce other images of Cuisenaire in use, such as the following, to see if additional evidence is present:

Campbell Street School, student teacher and students

Goodwood Infant School, children using Cuisenaire rods

Goodwood Infant School, children using Cuisenaire rods watched by Advanced School of Training

At the conclusion of this interpretation phase students should list all the ways they think Cuisenaire were used. At this point it would be useful to add additional questions to those begun in Activity 4 to ask of someone who used Cuisenaire as a student or teacher.

Assessment opportunities

The students' suggested use of Cuisenaire can be used to assess their capacity to gather information from visual sources and artefacts. The student questions provide evidence of their ability to develop relevant questions for inquiry. Both provide the opportunity for the teacher to guide further refinement of the questions developed for a guest.