Activity 3: People in your community

Select the appropriate year level for your students.

Year 2

This activity assists student to conduct research about noteworthy people from the past who have contributed to the students' community.

Discuss what people from the past have contributed to the local community.

Their contribution might have been a long time ago or in the more recent past. They might have been quiet or noted contributors.

Talk about why these people were important to the community and what they contributed.

Noteworthy community members from the past

Community members of historical significance who made a difference include:

  • early settlers
  • soldiers
  • gold miners
  • sports people
  • emergency services personnel
  • artists and musicians
  • architects
  • politicians
  • scientists and inventors.

Make a class list of community members who have made a difference to the local community.

Group students and assist each group to choose one community person for a mini-research activity.

Students compose research questions about the person

Ask students to brainstorm key questions they would need to ask to find out about the person and what they did to make them noteworthy. Look back at the question from Activity 2 and help groups to determine questions more specific to the person. Allocate a question to each student in the group.

Students collect information

Organise an appropriate method for student groups to find answers to their questions. They could:

  • read information about the person
  • conduct an internet search (try the local museum or National Library of Australia websites, and Australian National University's Australian Dictionary of Biography )
  • speak to senior members of their community – students could interview the person and make a video or audio recording of the interview (where appropriate)
  • search old newspapers and magazines
  • visit a local museum
  • study old photographs and/or letters
  • look at local street and park names and signs
  • talk to their parents or grandparents
  • read books from the library.

Making a group multimodal text

Assist students to make a group, multimodal text to communicate their research findings. This could include:

  • scanned images (where copyright permits)
  • photographs of the person (where appropriate)
  • drawings
  • sound recordings
  • soundscapes
  • written text
  • spoken presentations or enactments
  • video recording.

Students can share their multimodal texts with others.

Year 3

This activity assists students to identify and study local sites named after people who played an important role in the local community.

The direction of the study will depend upon the history and development of the community. This study could provide learning opportunities related to the influence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia, transport, architecture, settlement and agriculture.

Take students on a walk around the local area or look at a map to identify streets, buildings, monuments and/or other sites named after noteworthy people or groups of people from the community. With students make a list of these sites.

Students research noteworthy people from the community

Ask students to choose one site from the list and research the person it is named after. Students should consider how that person influenced their community. They might for example have influenced the area's architecture, town plan, farming practice, manufacturing, transport, sporting and or cultural activities.

Assist students to construct ‘Who?’ ‘What?’ ‘When?’ ‘Where?’ ‘Why?’ research questions relevant to their individual research. For example:

Parkes – a town in central NSW with a statue of Sir Henry Parkes

Who is the town named after?

Who was Sir Henry Parkes?

Where did he grow up?

When did he come to Australia?

Why was he important to the town of Parkes?

What did he contribute to Australia and Parkes?

What evidence of his achievements can we see today?

A biography of Sir Henry Parkes found on the RBA's banknotes website has information about Parkes' life.

Students research to find answers to their questions

Ask students to find answers for their research questions by:

  • conducting internet searches
  • visiting local museums
  • interviewing local historians
  • studying old photographs and letters
  • searching old newspapers and magazines
  • reading books.

Assist students to organise their questions into categories

Assist students to organise their questions and information into categories that will frame the writing of a narrative , featuring the local identity and their contribution to the community.

For example the questions about Sir Henry Parkes might be organised under the following headings:


  • Who was Sir Henry Parkes?
  • Where did he grow up?
  • Why did he come to Australia?


  • Why was he important to Parkes and Australia?
  • What did he contribute to Australia?

Community influence

  • What evidence of his achievements can we see today?

Students make a multimodal text

Discuss narrative as an informative type of text and provide simple examples. Students write their narratives and present these as multimodal texts. They could create:

  • a series of information bubbles connected to a photo or drawing of the person
  • a PowerPoint presentation
  • a poster or book with images and text
  • a sound recording accompanied by text and/or images
  • a video presentation
  • an idea of their own.