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Backwards design template. By Matt Plummer and Liam Keily. Fill the gaps. “The J_________of AT LEAST ONE world nav __________, explorer or trader up to the late e_______century , including their co______with other societies and any im _______”. AUSVELS Level 4.

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backwards design template

Backwards design template

By Matt Plummer and Liam Keily

fill the gaps
Fill the gaps

“The J_________of AT LEAST ONE world nav__________, explorer or trader up to the late e_______century, including their co______with other societies and any im_______”.

ausvels level 4

Begins with the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Then focuses on the movement of European explorers and colonisation of Australia.

The unit we chose to follow: “The Journey(s) of AT LEAST ONE world navigator, explorer or trader up to the late eighteenth century, including their contacts with other societies and any impacts”.

key questions involved
Key questions involved

Why did the great journeys of exploration occur?

Why did the Europeans settle in Australia?

These two questions are linked as the purpose of exploration for was finding new land for settlement. This is a key connection students should be able to create after the unit is completed.

key points listed in the achievement standard for level 4
Key points listed in the Achievement Standard for level 4:

Explain how and why life changed in the past.

Identify aspects that stayed the same

Students can recognise significant events in bringing about change.

Students sequence events and people in chronological order to identify key dates.

Pose a range of questions about the past.

Students develop and present texts.

at the end of the unit famous explorers students should know
At the end of the unit (famous explorers), students should know:

Explorers in the eighteenth century explored the seas to find new lands for colonisation. Without explorers, new lands for colonisation may not have been found. Explorers were important as they discovered new places such as Australia to create a new nation. Australia was a convenient place for Europeans to settle as it was a place where England could dump many of its prisoners (Van Diemen’s Land). Also Australia had land with much potential for farmers and developers, which encouraged people to move over here in hope of a brighter future and better life.

acceptable evidence of knowledge
Acceptable evidence of knowledge:

To gain evidence that students are knowledgeable about an eighteenth century explorer, trader or world navigator, students could complete an inquiry to complete on the chosen individual that their project is based on. Through completing an inquiry students are given the opportunity to address the key questions such as

Why did the great journeys of exploration occur?


Why did the Europeans settle In Australia?

work sample chosen inquiry of a famous explorer
Work sample chosen: Inquiry of a famous explorer.

Things to go into the inquiry that is based on the chosen individual would information include:

Name and birth date/date of death.

The type of clothes the individual wore.

The food they ate.

A picture of the individual (if available).

Did the person have a family?

How long did the person explore/trade for?

Did they have any other jobs?

how to engage students at the beginning of the unit the hook
How to engage students at the beginning of the unit: “The hook”

To engage our students at the beginning of the unit, we plan to use props relating to our topic. These props will include explorer hat and a helm off a ship. Through doing this, we hope to spark the imagination of students to get them engaged in our future unit. These will look similar to these pictures:

possible learning experiences
Possible learning experiences:
  • A trip to the Polly Woodside ship in Melbourne. This gives students a firsthand perspective of what daily life on an explorer’s ship might have been like.
  • A trip to the Melbourne museum. The museum has lots of information and pictures of various explorers that have impact Australia.
  • ABC documentary on Captain Cook. This could be shown to students to initiate an understanding of the role an explorer might have.
  • Websites: and
  • These website have plentiful information on early explorers such as journal entries, detailed maps and interactive games to engage students.
what we learnt about backwards design
What we learnt about Backwards Design:

The backwards design procedure allows you as a teacher to first set goals and learning outcomes for students. Through using backwards design, the unit content you give for students can be directly aimed and built towards the learning outcomes you have for a class. Through studying the backwards design, we have become more aware of the importance of capturing the imagination and interests of students at the start of a unit. This can be done through the use of a ‘hook’ at the start of a unit.