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CensusAtSchool Australia

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Back to CensusAtSchool home page CasSos20 - Being Australian, Similarities and Differences

You can download this activity as a rich text file (RTF) using the links at the bottom of the page

1. Subject Area

Studies of Society and Environment / Human Society and its Environment

2. Suggested Level

Years 5-8

3. Key Statistical Literacy Competencies Addressed

  • Data awareness
  • The ability to understand statistical concepts
  • The ability to analyse, interpret and evaluate statistical information
  • Communicating statistical information and understandings

4. Overview

In this activity you are to investigate some aspects of being Australian. You will use CensusAtSchool data that you have obtained from the random sampler. The CensusAtSchool questionnaire has 40 questions about students and will be a useful source of information for your investigation.

5. Requirements

  • Computer with internet connection
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Calculator
  • Pens and paper
  • Student Worksheet

6. Instructions

The investigation below will assist you to build a picture of the similarities and differences of your community, state or territory and Australia as a whole.

6.1 The birth place of students in your class
List the country of birth of students in your class (and their parents). Graph the results and discuss the information this provides, e.g. identify the country where most were born, reasons why there are so many different countries represented in the graph, etc.

(Hint: In the case of an exhaustive list of country categories, it may be easier to group the data first e.g. by using country classifications. You can find the full list of country classifications in Standard Australian Classifications of Countries (cat. no. 1269.0).

6.2 Compare your class to a sample from the wider Australian population.
Go to the CensusAtSchool web site and obtain a sample from the Random Sampler to carry out your investigation. Your sample should be for all Australian students. Do not select any characteristics for your sample.

Record your data in a similar table to the one you used to record your class results. You will find it useful to graph both sets of data on the same axis.

( Hint 1 : It will be easier to count the number of students in each category if you sort the data first.
If you are good at Excel it will be even easier if you use the COUNTIF function to do the counting for you.)

( Hint 2 : Convert you class data and CensusAtSchool sample data into percentages prior to drawing the graph.)

Compare the data collected in your own class to the wider Australian population. Refer to the data collected on Question 3 "In which state/territory or country were you born?"

6.3 Compare your class to a sample from another Australian community, state or territory
In this part of your investigation you will need a sample from another state or territory of your choice. You could use a postcode range to define another community. You will need to be careful because your selected range might not provide a sample.

Does your class have a similar cultural make-up to the other parts of Australia you selected? Why or why not?

6.4 Traditional stories from the students in your class.
Read and share traditional stories from some of the groups represented in the class. Include Dreaming stories particularly traditional stories of the local area. A good source of Dreaming stories can be referenced on the Australian Museum website. Invite people from the community to share traditional stories representative of their cultural background. Discuss meaning or messages of the stories and their place in the culture they represent. Encourage students to ask appropriate question to develop their own understanding of different cultures and identities. Resources such as The Rabbits Tale, a story from Korea by Suzanne Crowderham, Spider and the Spy God, an Akan legend retold by Deborah M Newton Chocolate, The Three Sillies, a traditional English story by Steven Kellogg, stories told by the Brothers Grimm and stories in Discovering Democracy Readers for Upper Primary can also be used.

6.5 Who are significant Australians?
Who do you think are significant Australians and why? Make a list that includes at least 6 people.
Examine and discuss findings and commonalities:

  • Why are many ‘significant’ Australians sports people?
  • What does this say about Australian society?

Select, research and present a short biography of a significant Australian who was not born in Australia, e.g. Mary Reiby, Mary Lee, Peter Lalor, Syd Einfeld, Harry Seidler. Reference Discovering Democracy Middle Primary Units: We Remember, Handout 11 for a comprehensive list of people.

6.6 I am Australian.
Refer to the words of the song I am Australian, available in Australians All! (Discovering Democracy Readers Lower Primary, p 22). Together, write an additional class verse that reflects your class characteristics. Present as a class poster. Each student can then write their own verse for I am Australian, inclusive of their own personal identity and then illustrate the verse.

7. Extension

There are many other aspects of Australian communities that you might like to investigate. Favourite foods. music tastes and leisure activities are just a few.

8. Marking Criteria

Criteria Mark
Competent use of the census information to locate information about Australia’s cultural identity.
Comprehensive synthesis of information to describe how Australia’s cultural influences have influenced Australia’s cultural identity
Clear communication of ideas using appropriate written forms
Effective use of the census information to locate information about Australia’s cultural identity
Identifies, with some synthesis, information to describe influences of Australia’s cultural identity
Good communication of ideas using appropriate written forms
Limited use of the census information to show Australia’s cultural Australia’s identity
Little synthesis of information to describe some aspects of Australia’s cultural identity
Limited communication of ideas using appropriate written forms
Elementary use of the census information to show Australia’s cultural identity
Lacks synthesis of information to describe some aspects of Australia’s cultural identity
Elementary communication of ideas using appropriate written forms
Makes some reference to the Census information
May make an observation about Australia’s cultural identity

Download the Activity

Student Worksheet

Data in a spreadsheet

Data in a table
(RTF document 99 KB)

(Excel document 722 KB)

(RTF document 176 KB)

    Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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