Our unique geography, an island surrounded by sea provides many Australians with a connection to the sea.
Students will explore some of the boats and ships that we have used to spend time on the sea. How do boats float and how do they move? Students engage in the technologies of Australia’s first watercraft and the sailing ships that travelled the oceans. Personal and family experiences are shared, and scientific investigations can be undertaken to learn more about boat design and construction.
Key inquiry question:
How do boats connect us to the sea?
- Engage students with texts such as Who Sank The Boat by Pamela Allen or view online images of boats and ships. Develop questions for class inquiry into the types of boats that let us spend time on the water.
- Students share past and present experiences on the water. Invite responses about tall ships, migration stories, ocean cruising, sailing or spending time on kayaks or canoes.
- Develop questions about boats and ships. How do they float? How do they move?
Boats and ships
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a strong connection to the land and water – fresh and salt. This is recognised by the diverse watercraft of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Investigate the types of vessels and how they were designed and constructed.
- View the video, Making the Nawi (canoe) to engage students with the construction of a nawi, a tied bark canoe made along the eastern coastline of Australia from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland down to Victoria. Develop questions for inquiry. Sample questions might include; When and why were they used in the past? What are they used for today? What are they made from?
Read the article and view the images of the rafts and canoes that were made all over Australia at Australia’s First Watercraft by David Payne.
- Create a table with the title Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander watercraft to identify and record the features, materials and designs.
- Compare and contrast the designs using a 4 item compare and contrast graphic organiser.
- Explain the similarities the watercraft share.
- How does each design reflect the environment in which it is used?
- Explain why Indigenous watercraft are being built today.
Watch the ABC ME My Place clip Water from ABC My Place For Teachers to observe Bunda and his brother and the way each collect and carry water.
- Identify the problem Bunda and his brother faced?
- Describe the solution.
- Identify the type of craft from the Indigenous watercraft table.
- Explain how knowledge of the environment was able to inform the designs that were implemented.
- Reflect on the need for teamwork in creating solutions.
Students have the option to the conduct scientific inquiry into the design and construction of an indigenous watercraft. Conduct tests using small scale models using sustainable materials. Record the process as you conduct research, produce, implement, test and evaluate the design. Reflect on your success and the knowledge and skills that are required to build traditional canoes and rafts.
The Endeavour is a tall ship. Like all sailing vessels, tall ships harness the wind to move. If there is no wind the boat cannot move.
Changes in technology replaced tall ships with ships that were powered first by steam then by oil fuelled engines. Technological advances continue to drive change in how vessels are propelled.
- How do boats move? What are the different energies that move them across the water?
- Investigate how boats are powered. Consider vessels that are powered by people, the wind or by engine. Experiment with toy boats or make your own using different materials. Use time measurements to test the speeds of the different types of boats.
Conduct research to create a timeline of boats and ships and the technological changes that have occurred over time. Reflect on the technological advances in maritime technologies and what our maritime future might look like.
Endeavour around Australia
In 2020 – 2021, The Endeavour will circumnavigate Australia to mark 250 years since Cook charted the east coast of Australia. The replica Endeavour is a working vessel and provides visitors a glimpse into the past to see what it was like on board a tall ship from the 1700’s. What can we learn about maritime adventures from a visit to HMB Endeavour?
View the pages on Endeavour Voyaging to engage with the sailing of the Endeavour. Observe the activities that are taking place on board and infer the emotions of the people. Describe how you think you would feel sailing on the Endeavour.
Access the 2020-2021 Voyages around Australia webpage to view the Endeavour Voyage Map.
Locate the port where you will visit Endeavour. What other ports will the Endeavour visit? What distance will it travel? HMB Endeavour’s top speed is 13-15km/h. Calculate how long the journey around Australia will take. Follow the Endeavour as it sails at marinetraffic.com (search for HMB Endeavour.)
Reflect on maritime technological advances to explain why people still sail on tall ships from the past.
Create a digital or physical story of being on the water. You may wish to write a story about drifting down the river on a raft or climbing up the crow’s nest on the tall ship Endeavour watching the dolphins as they swim by. Add images or photographs to provide additional meaning to the story. Share with the class.
Main image: Gumung derrka. John Bulun Bulun and Paul Pascoe bind the stern. Image: Dianne Moon / ANMM Collection 00017960.