Australia had only been a federal commonwealth for 13 years when World War I began in 1914. The government was keen to support the British motherland in the conflict and joined with New Zealand to form part of an allied expedition to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula.
What happened at Gallipoli is well known and the courage, determination, endurance and mateship demonstrated by the soldiers helped to form Australia’s identity. The ANZAC legend and the values associated with it continue to shape the way many Australians view themselves and have become an important part of our national identity.
In this lesson, students will reflect on their identity, the Australian identity and how past events or people helped shape us. Students will learn about the values of the ANZAC legend and why these values and characteristics are still important today.
Participating in this lesson will help students to achieve the following learning outcomes:
You will need:
Please note: Some of the content in this lesson may be upsetting for students. It is advised that teachers use their discretion when selecting the proposed activities for use in their classroom.
As a class, ask students what they think the word ‘identity’ means. Record responses. How are our identities shaped? Individually (without talking to a partner) ask students to record words that describe their identity on the ‘I am’ activity sheet.
Students to share the words with a partner and discuss how they came to be all of these things. Which events or people in their lives shaped their identity? Create a class list of ideas. Now provide pairs of students with the ‘Australian identity’ activity sheet. Students to write words that they think describe the Australian people or nation. They may want to consider key events in Australia’s history or how they think people from other countries view us. Share these ideas.
In small groups, ask students to think about the people who served in World War I and share the values and/or characteristics that they had. Some responses may include: courageous, brave, mateship, strong, heroes, friendship, dedication, etc.
Ask students to compare the words they used to describe the Australian nation or people and those used to describe the people who served in World War I. Which words overlap and which are unique to one category?
As a final reflection, ask students to record how they think the values demonstrated by the ANZAC soldiers have contributed to Australia’s national identity. They can do this in writing, pictures or as an audio recording.
Here are some suggested extra activities to extend the students’ learning.
School children from across Australia are invited to capture their individual reflections about those Australians who have sacrificed their lives for us in conflicts by writing their individual thoughts upon a Commemorative Cross.More information >