Topic 1 Investigating History

This topic introduces the nature of History and the methods used by historians to investigate the past. Students will focus on the use of primary and secondary sources to gather evidence to answer questions about the past and to understand historical and heritage issues. Students should begin to comprehend and express themselves in the particular language of History.

Inquiry questions

  • What is History?
  • How do historians investigate the past?
  • Why is conserving our heritage important?
  • The topic 'Investigating History' may be integrated into all topics or studied as a discrete topic. The knowledge, understanding and skills developed in this topic are be integrated into all subsequent topics.


Throughout this topic students work towards all outcomes, with particular focus on those listed below.

A student:

  • 4.4 identifies major periods of historical time and sequences people and events within specific periods of time
  • 4.5 identifies the meaning, purpose and context of historical sources
  • 4.6 draws conclusions about the usefulness of sources as evidence in an inquiry
  • 4.10 selects and uses appropriate oral, written and other forms, including ICT, to communicate effectively about the past.

Working Historically

Historical skills to be integrated into this topic:

  • Sequence events within the specific period of time
  • Use historical terms and concepts in appropriate contexts
  • Identify primary and secondary sources
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion
  • Examine the actions, motives, values and attitudes of people from the past
  • Draw conclusions about the usefulness of sources for an historian
  • Identify perspectives of different individuals and groups.
  • ICT skills appropriate for this topic may include:
  • draw conclusions about the usefulness of sources for an historian, including a website.
  • Suggested Site Studies include:
  • a museum visit
  • a heritage site
  • a local history site
  • a virtual history site
  • an archaeological site

Students learn about:

Students learn to:

  • the terminology and concepts of historical time, including year, decade, generation, century, age, BC./AD, BCE/CE
  • interpret and construct time lines
  • define the terms that describe historical periods of time
  • sequence societies and events within specific periods of time
  • the process of historical inquiry:
    • fact and opinion
    • the usefulness of sources as evidence including a website
    • differing perspectives
    • cause and effect
    • history as the study of people
  • ask historical questions
  • distinguish between fact and opinion
  • draw some conclusions about the usefulness of sources including a website
  • examine differing historical perspectives and interpretations
  • explain causes and effect
  • identify significant people of the past
  • examine the motives for people's actions in the past
  • heritage issues
  • describe some aspects of family/community heritage
  • appreciate the value of preserving and conserving our heritage


Pre Activities

Excursion Activities

Post Activities

Students research Smith's Hill Fort by accessing the website.

Example of question could include:

  1. When was the Smith's Hill Fort built?
  2. Why was the Fort built?
  3. Was the Fort ever fired against an enemy?
  4. How was the cannon loaded?
  5. Where were the shells kept?
  6. What was a typical training day like for the men?
Label the cannon and other significant areas of the fort. Write a recount of the excursion to Smith's Hill Fort
Write 5 questions to ask the tour guide. Students create a podcast about the Fort including key facts and points using an ipod. Students edit their podcast using the software application GarageBand and upload it to the school intranet or YouTube.
Teacher creates large cards with information from the timeline. Laying these cards on the floor, students are to work together to sequence these events in order. Students make an enhanced podcast by taking and including images that complement the audio. Students use photos and videos to create a slideshow or powerpoint presentation.
Draw conclusions about the usefulness of the sources found on the website. Students create their own short video. Students use their photos in Photoshop and manipulate them to create a poster advertising the Fort.


The two documents provided below include all the text on the website and transcribed podcasts (in blue), which are simplified versions of the text for students.