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Family photo albums

Students learn how the stories of families and the past can be communicated through photographs. In this activity they will examine photos from the State Library of NSW to find out what family life was like in the past, and compare family life in the past to family life in the present.
Key inquiry question #1: 
What is my history and how do I know?
Key inquiry question #2: 
What stories do other people tell about the past?
Key inquiry question #3: 
How can stories of the past be told and shared?

Content summary

How the stories of families and the past can be communicated, for example through photographs, artefacts, books, oral histories, digital media, and museums (ACHHK004)

Students: 

  • pose questions about another's object or photograph
  • discuss then and now; past and present

In this unit of work the term ‘Indigenous’ is used to refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Background notes for teachers

This activity is designed to introduce students to photos as historical records of people, places and events in the past. Students examine photos from the State Library of NSW to find out about what family life was like in the past. They compare family life in the past to family life in the present by considering that some things change over time and some things stay the same.

Discuss the following with your class:

Have you ever taken a photo of your family?
Cameras have been around for a long time. Before cameras people would paint or draw something they wanted to remember. Often it was a picture of their family. As cameras improved and became less expensive people took photos of their family, friends and pets. They wanted to have a memory of those they love. Photos taken long ago can tell us a lot about how people lived in the past. They show us what houses and gardens looked like. They show us the type of clothes people wore. Sometimes they show what people did on special occasions. Have you ever looked through an old family photo album? Who did you see? How different do they look in the photos?

Student Activities

Family photos

Working in groups students use this photo of Quong Tart and his family to identify family members and their relationship to each other. 
 

Number of set tasks: 1

How things change or stay the same over time

Five photos show different families over time. Working in groups students examine these photos to identify people and describe their relationship to one another. Students also identify similarities and differences with their family. 

Number of set tasks: 1

Activity Notes for Teachers

The photo of Quong Tart and his family was taken around 1900.

Find out more information about Quong Tart and his family in the Australian Dictionary of Biography

Ask students to:

  • Explain how Quong Tart’s family is similar or different to their own family.
  • Write words in the speech-bubble to describe relationships between family members in the photos.

Five photos show different families over time.

Ask students to:

  • identify people and describe their relationship to one another, e.g. mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, baby
  • identify similarities with their family, e.g. number of people, brothers, sisters
  • identify differences, e.g. clothing, hats
  • explain what these differences tell us about how things can change or stay the same over time

NSW SYLLABUS FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CURRICULUM: HISTORY K-10

A student:

  • HTe-1 communicates stories of their own family heritage and the heritage of others 
  • HTe-2 demonstrates developing skills of historical inquiry and communication

Students:

Comprehension: chronology, terms and concepts

  • distinguish between the past, present and future (ACHHS016)

Use of sources

  • explore and use a range of sources about the past (ACHHS018)
  • identify and compare features of objects from the past and present (ACHHS019)

Explanation and communication

  • develop a narrative about the past (ACHHS021)
  • use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written, role play) and digital technologies (ACHHS022)

Continuity and change

  • some things change over time and others remain the same

Empathetic understanding

  • developing an understanding of another’s views, life and decisions made

Learning across the curriculum

  • Literacy