Resource Units for Primary Teachers of Studies of Society and Environment

The Australian Federation of Societies for Studies of Society and Environment (AFSSSE) with support from the National Professional Development Program (Strategic Element) through the Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DEETYA) has produced three imaginative exemplary units focused on the perspectives of futures and technology. The units will help teachers plan quality programs in the key learning area of Studies of Society and Environment.

The three units are:

  • Futures Studies - Band A by Angela Colliver and Mark Wildy (Cost: $12.50)
  • Futures Studies - Band B by Dr Richard Dunlop (Cost: $12.50)
  • Impact of Technology - Band B by Dr Richard Dunlop (Cost: $12.50)

The set of three publications can be purchased at a cost of $28.00

The publications can be purchased from:
PO Box 1029
New Farm
Queensland  4005

Tel: Int +(0)7 3358 5880
Fax: Int +(0)7 3358 5881
Make cheques payable to 'AFSSSE'.

The following information is an excerpt from the publication 'Futures Studies - Band A'.



Relaxation tapes
Egg cartons
Tile sheets
Sand tray or sandpit
Brennex squares
Lengths of material
Lino squares
Water trough
Paint and brushes
Carpet squares
Wood scraps
Natural objects
Labels for construction

Activity 1 - Visualising futures

Ask students to lie on the ground, in positions for relaxation, listening silently to a relaxation tape. While listening students are encouraged to:
visualise the future
imagine a future place, person, society, animal, type of transport, home, school, water environment, etc
look through a window into the future

Ask students to describe for each other what they can imagine they can see.
While listening to a relaxation tape teachers might read a future poem, picture book or description. A suggested title is Scholes, K, Peacetimes.

Activity 2 - Pass the picture

Seat students in a circle and using a selection of magazine pictures depicting possible futures scenes, play 'Pass the Picture' to music. The student holding the picture when the music stops describes a name or label for the picture.

Activity 3 - What will the future be like?

Using the class dress-up corner, encourage students to engage in futures related make believe play. For example, through role play or imaginative use of language and objects.
Encourage the extension of ideas. For example, if students are playing shops in the future, extend the students' use of specific materials. This might be done through questioning; for example:

encourage collaborative problem solving of such questions asking explicitly for students to consider others point of view and to talk to clarify meaning;

encourage students to think of tomorrow, their next birthday, next Christmas, an outing being planned. Ask students how they might plan for one or more of these occasions;

encourage students to think of a futures scene, thing, person to create using the class's creative activity materials. Support students to decide on the best materials and equipment to use.

Ask students to share ideas regarding what they might create. Expand on student's ideas using questions of clarification. Encourage the extension of ideas. For example:

what might you make?
what do you think it might look like?
what would you have to do to make it work?

Students' potential to create is inhibited or enhanced by the types of activities provided and the nature of adults' reactions to students' products and ideas. Teachers need to provide time and opportunity for students to develop their creative ideas. They also need to encourage divergent responses. If we hope to prepare young students for the demands of tomorrow teachers must encourage students to innovate, to create, to image alternative ways to get to the same goal, to seek and solve problems.
Source: Dalton, J 1985, Adventures in Thinking, p 2.

Activity 4 - Choosing futures

Encourage students to choose a preferred creative activity and create a futures character, building, place, model of transport, environment, tool, appliance etc and scribe/write labels or captions for their creation. Following the making of items, they can help create a display.
Encourage students to question/interview each other to find out what others are going to create and later what they have created.

Activity 5 - Using a sand tray

Using a sand tray or sandpit, investigate and create future environments or scenes.
Ask students to dictate short stories about their sand creations. Read/share them with others. Share comments about the stories.
Brainstorm and scribe/write lists related to the sand creations. For example, imaginative names for our futures constructions, adjectives to describe our futures buildings, words that tell us about future creations.
Design and make maps of the sand structures.
Use toys and take on roles of characters. Re-enact futures scenes using the sand structures.

Activity 6 - Using junk materials

Students together with the teacher view a collection of junk materials and exchange ideas of what could be built.
Encourage students in pairs to investigate the junk materials, make decisions and negotiate what they would like to create/build. Encourage students to make decisions about how to go about building their construction. Assist students to begin drawing on cartons, to cut and paint.
In a sharing circle ask students to show their creations and provide a guided tour of their creation to the group. Students answer questions related to them providing explanations and giving information about their creations. This can also be done in small groups with students sitting knee to knee describing the processes used to make their creations.
Encourage students to value what others have done. Scribe/write and exchange compliments about the creations.

Activity 7 - Creating displays

Discuss and exchange ideas and information about displays. For example, students might say:
they show things;
they explain things;
they're for us to learn from;
they have pictures and words.

Brainstorm ideas for a futures classroom display.
Record student ideas in a mind map. For example, we could:
ask our parents to give us pictures and ideas about the future;
cut out pictures of what things look like now and draw what they might look like in the future;
borrow books from the library.

Assist students to use empty pinboard space and set up a display giving information using student creations, innovations and written information.

Activity 8 - Sharing displays

As a class devise problematical/interesting questions intended to arouse interest in others. Set these up in and around the display. For example:
Did you know ....................................?
What would you think of it ................?
What might .......................................?

Ask students to scribe/write invitations and invite others to come and view the class futures display.
Assist students to write and illustrate advertisements to promote their display. For example, name it, give viewing times, its location and a quote, summing it up or reviewing it.
Share these with peers during school breaks.
Devise information sheets about the class futures display and share them with visitors.
Create questionnaires about the futures display and share them with visitors.
Make a cassette recording to be played during the displays viewing times.
Make a video showing and explaining how the information for the display was obtained, processed and used in the students' ground work, preparation and setting up of the display.

Activity 9 - Using the futures display

Ask students to talk about the display to an audience. Encourage the audience to ask questions.
Ask students from the class to write a review for the school newsletter or ask an older class to view the display and write a review. The class students could be interviewed for the review.

Dalton, J 1985, Adventures in Thinking.
Scholes, K 1989, Peacetimes, Hill of Content, Australia.


Copyright © 2004  AFSSSE