Activity 2: Strength of traditions
Now that you have experienced Look to Learn, it's time to investigate further, to find out more about who the Chinese immigrants were and what exactly were some of the contributions to Australian society.
Key inquiry question:
The National Museum of Australia has produced the beautiful painted Harvest of Endurance scroll that depicts the vast visual history of the Chinese experience in Australia.
The Harvest of Endurance is a rich and detailed story. As such, it may be too much for you to study in depth. The following activity is designed for you to work as part of a research team to explore and report back on what you have learned.
The Harvest of Endurance scroll is made up of 36 sections. You and your classmates could conduct research either individually or in one of the following combinations:
- Work in pairs.
- Divide into groups so that each pair views 2–4 sections (depending in the size of the class). For example:
- in a class of 18, pair with another student to explore 4 sections of the scroll
- in a class of 25, pair with another student to explore 3 sections of the scroll
- Pairs could look at a section if class numbers don't divide into the 36 sections.
Look through the sections of the scroll that you and a partner will be responsible for. You may choose to use the Flash version of the scroll if you find this works better for this part of the activity.
Keep two questions in mind as you read:
You may already be familiar with some of the information if you used the Level 1: Look to Learn activity.
- Who were the people who came to Australia? Why did they come?
- What contribution have significant individuals and groups made to the development of Australian society?
In the sections you are responsible for, note any mention of specific events, people, places or things related to the two main questions.
Return the sections through the links below. Read the additional information and explore any further links provided.
If you are working in a pair, each of you should choose one person, place, event or thing mentioned to learn more about.
After researching the person or event further, go on to the Task section of this activity.
Gathering your information
There are many ways that you can collect the information you find useful to deepening your understanding of the facts and issues involved in a particular person, place, thing or event you have chosen to study. You can:
- use your notebook
- copy and paste into an electronic document
- post what you are learning into an online discussion or comments on a blog
- if you have a Google or Gmail account, you can join in a shared document
- or you can start an EtherPad / PrimaryPad page where you and a team can build knowledge. (see the ICT guide for more details)
Simple searches and additional resources
The information provided by The National Museum on the Harvest of Endurance scroll should give you both some background and some leads you can follow to learn even more. For example, a particular event might have been mentioned (e.g., the New South Wales Government's passing of the Chinese Immigration Restriction and Regulation Act in 1861). A simple search for this turns up some interesting documents:
- Go ahead and run some initial searches on any leads you uncovered.
- Make sure you copy the URL / Web address and the title of all the sources you copy information from.
- Use a KWL grid as you accumulate information, keep track of what you now know and what you still want to learn about the subject you're studying.
- Write out any specific questions you want to find answers to.
- Keep adding to your notes out any specific questions you want to find answers to.
Contributing your knowledge
You have already gathered information you found useful. As listed above, you might have collected this in a traditional paper notebook, an electronic document, a blog, shared document or collaborative space. One of the main places in the world where people contribute their knowledge and expertise is Wikipedia. In only about 10 years, Wikipedia has gone from not existing to sharing over 4 million articles in English and many more than this in the many other languages of the world. Instead of only using Wikipedia, how about contributing to it?
Most of us would have very little that we could contribute to a page such as the one above. However, another version of Wikipedia might be a different story:
If you think you can add some details or another article to the Simple English Wikipedia project. To quote from the Web site:
Articles in the Simple English Wikipedia use fewer words and easier grammar than the English Wikipedia.
The Simple English Wikipedia is also for people with different needs. Some examples of people who use Simple English Wikipedia:
Other people use the Simple English Wikipedia because the simple language helps them understand difficult ideas or topics they do not know about.
So how about contributing?
If contributing to the Simple English Wikipedia seems like something you want to try, use the links below. Who knows where this could lead you?
If you don't want to write articles for Wikipedia, you can still create your own wiki pages. Set up an account with one of these open wiki sites:
Through the Harvest of Endurance Scroll, you will have now have a far greater understanding of the experiences and contributions of Chinese migrants to Australia. If you are ready to get creative and take on a challenge, try the Level 3: WebQuest where you will be guided to explore how racism influenced the experience of Chinese migrants to Australia.