Learning Activities to Celebrate NAIDOC Week and National Reconciliation Week! Civics and Citizenship, History and English Curriculum Aligned Lessons

The women in my life are amazing. They are strong, they are powerful, they are intelligent. They have gone through pain, loss, and heartache, and still have time and space to encourage and inspire me in my own endeavours. Our mothers, aunts, sisters, grandmothers, godmothers and everyone else in between, are often some of our first and most strident supporters. They are often the first ones to give us a nudge in the right direction, applause when we succeed, reality checks when we forget where our priorities should lie, and a hug when we need it. They often go unrecognised for not only their own important work, but also the impact they have on not only us- but also on their society.

The organisers of NAIDOC Week agree with this sentiment— women, and particularly Indigenous women, are so often overlooked- both now and certainly throughout history. Indigenous Australian women have made such enormous contributions to our society; socially, politically, culturally, and intellectually. They deserve to be recognised and celebrated in whatever capacity they work and live in.

Today’s blog is all about doing that. Today, your students will be investigating the impact an Indigenous woman had on empowering others and increasing Indigenous rights.

The women featured below have been warriors for social justice and have left an enormous legacy in their wake. They’ve been instrumental in ensuring future generations have the opportunities they deserve and need to thrive and succeed.

Students will be asked to research the lives and actions of these women (using either their own research skills or the links provided for a more defined activity) and create a news report, eulogy, collage, video project, or radio broadcast which covers the following aspects:

  • A brief history of the person’s contribution to the fight for Indigenous Rights
    • What were her main campaigns, goals, successes and setbacks?
  • 2 different ways she campaigned to raise awareness or make progress toward her goals
  • 1 specific aspect of her life which personally inspires the student
  • 1 aspect of our current society which this woman would be pleased to see
  • 1 aspect of our current society which this woman would campaign against

Please see the attached worksheet which scaffolds the activity and provides research links which students can use to complete this task.

The women in our lives deserve our respect, and the women who have come before us (who dealt with discrimination from all sides and have enabled us to live in more free lives) deserve our time. I hope that you and your students find this activity enlightening and that it starts conversations about how these women changed their world and, by extension, how we can learn from their actions and create the world we wish to live in.


PTD – Blog Post – NAIDOC Week Women Worksheet – 26 06 2018

We also thought that, as we run toward the end of term, you may want to run some quick activities in your classroom which highlight this important time in the cultural calendar. These are listed below.


Quick Activities to celebrate National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week

Primary Classroom

  1. Have students come up with as many words they associate with the topic Indigenous Australia and create a wordle word cloud with these words.
    • This is an excellent opportunity to dispel some of the myths and stereotypes some students may have regarding Indigenous people drawn from the media or other sources.
  2. Read an Indigenous picture book (such as those published by Magabala Books) and use the teacher notes to engage the students in a reading circle (https://www.magabala.com/resources has excellent teacher notes available for many of their publications)
    • You could read a different Indigenous picture book each day over a week, and then compare the different books using the questions listed below to highlight the diversity of indigenous experience in Australia.
      • Where are the books you read this week set?
      • What are the main concerns of the characters in each book?
      • How might you know if the characters in each book are Indigenous if it didn’t say in the book?
      • What do the characters in each book have in common? What are the main differences?
  3. Source Indigenous artwork online and have students try to identify what the different elements or the paintings represent. Aim to use a range of styles from across Australia and definitely include local examples.
    • NOTE: There are genuine concerns about cultural appropriation surrounding Indigenous art so a good idea might be to engage with a local Indigenous artist who might be able to run a workshop with your students- a quick online search will inform you of a range of excellent programs run by Indigenous Australians for learners of all ages.

Quick Activities to celebrate National Reconciliation Week or NAIDOC Week

Secondary Classroom

  1. Ask students to split into groups and create a brainstorm/word web/mind map on “Australian” or “Aboriginal”. Encourage them to be honest, use symbols, drawings etc as needed to convey their beliefs. Collect the different posters and use them as a starting point to address misconceptions, myths, and any terminology/beliefs which may be racist in tone or origin. Students may not know these terms/beliefs are problematic so avoid judgement, instead use this moment as an opportunity to dispel stereotypes and educate.
  2. Play students the song: “Children Came Back” by Briggs. Hand out the lyrics and ask the students:
    • How is this song/video political activism?
    • What messages is it portraying?
    • In what way does it empower/encourage Indigenous or non-Indigenous Australians?
    • Choose one figure mentioned and research:
      • Why they’re well known
      • What causes or issues have they been known to support
      • What impact they’ve had on Australian society
      • A quote they’re known for
  3. Give students a copy of the Commonwealth Franchise Act of 1902 and ask them to perform a brief analysis of what this document reveals about the era it was produced. (https://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/DetailsReports/ItemDetail.aspx?Barcode=228183&isAv=N)
    • Ask them to come up with 3 questions about this document. Share these questions with the class and divide the questions into groups to further research answers to these questions.

Key Knowledge and Skills Met

Civics and Citizenship

  • Explain how citizens can participate in Australia’s democracy, including the use of the electoral system, contact with their elected representatives, use of lobby groups, interest groups and direct action (VCCCG020)
  • Discuss how and why groups, including religious groups, participate in civic life (VCCCC037)


  • The “Creating Text” Content Descriptors for the “Literary” Mode are covered by many aspects of this task.

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