Stage 3 - Unit 2 – What is it that significant groups and individuals have contributed to Australian society?

Broad focus for an inquiry: Change and continuity, culture and society

Generative questions

  • Who were Australia’s first people?
  • How has Australian society changed over time?
  • What challenges do migrants face arriving in Australia?
  • Who were the people who migrated to Australia? Why did they come?
  • How has migration shaped our identity?

Understandings, skills and values

  • Define immigration, migration and refugees.
  • Identify significant events in the history of migration in 20th and 21st century Australia.
  • Understand the challenges faced by people moving to Australia.
  • Provide examples of individuals and groups who migrated to Australia and their contribution.

Tuning in

Who makes up the population of Australia?

Students reflect on the traditional life of the indigenous population of Australia.

Students look at a variety of data that describes the growth patterns and origin of Australia’s migrant population.

What are the key events in Australia’s history that have contributed to migration?

What factors have contributed to growth in population over 20th and 21st Century?

Further resources for primary and secondary archival materials:

Finding out

What are the experiences of our migrant population?

Students read about the experiences of refugees and migrants to build awareness of the challenges and to develop empathy. Some students may wish to share their own family experiences.

Suggested discussion questions about refugee and migrant stories include:

  • What has happened and why?
  • How might they be feeling?
  • What challenges would they face coming to a new country? (Possible examples include racism, financial hardship, language barriers and stereotypes).

Resources include:

  • Ziba Came on a Boat by Liz Lofthouse and Robert Ingpen (Illustrator)
  • The Little Refugee by Anh and Suzanne Doh.

Sorting out

Stories of immigration

Students work in small groups to research stories about migration to Australia and present their findings to the class. Students may choose to present their research as a short play, PowerPoint presentation, news story or written report.

Going further

Caring for others

A new student from overseas is coming into your class. The teacher has asked you to look after them and show them around. They speak only a little English. Create a plan of things you need to show them and describe how you are going to communicate with them and help them throughout the day.

Concluding and acting


Give students the opportunity to discuss, question and share their ideas. Pose questions to students to generate higher order thinking, such as:

  • How have we benefited from living in a multicultural society?
  • How has migration changed the face of Australia?
  • What challenges face new arrivals to Australia?
  • How can we help them settle in?

This may lead to further research and investigation.

Download Unit 2 - Group and individual contribution to Australia (PDF 329.21KB)

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