Unit 7: The Branches of my Family

In this unit students are encouraged to understand the roles of individuals, families, groups and events in maintaining, developing, strengthening and changing communities. It explores the family tree of the Blundell family and allows students to explore and reflect on their own family tree.

The Blundell family lived in the cottage during a significant time in Australian history. This period included the discussions leading up to, and the creation of, the Australian Federation and our country's first steps on to the international stage in World War 1. In 1927, George Blundell and other pioneers from this district became part of written history when presented to the Duke and Duchess of York. This followed the opening of the provisional Parliament House, which is now called Old Parliament House.

The idea of family history and passing possessions and stories down to the next generation can be discussed during this activity. Use the Blundells Family Tree to remind students how family history can be recorded. Link to Blundells Family Tree Graphics to create with the information and photos sourced

Activity 1 - Family Physical Traits

Using the photographs supplied of the Blundell family. Ask your students to identify the physical features that were passed down through the generations. Some students may like to bring in photographs of their parents and/or grandparents, showing the physical features that have been passed on to them. Using the images of their family as a guide, have the students draw a picture of how they think they might look in 20 and/or 50 years time.

Activity 2 - Family Trees

What's in a name? In the Blundell family tree, there are a number of people named 'Joseph' and 'Flora'. Do any of the students carry a first name that has been handed down through the family for generations? Were they named after a parent, grandparent or other family member? What do they know about the person they were named for?

Lead a discussion based around the value of family histories, of fitting personal history into local history and written history.

Do the students think that they will be able to pass on the knowledge of their family and district to their children or to others? Why is this important?

How do you find out more? Discuss the values of oral histories, archives, local history organisations, museums and libraries.

Continue down the page for more activities where students can create their own family trees and explore their family history.

Additional Research: Preparing to create a family tree

Ask the students to create a list of all of the people in their family. They can expand this list to the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers of their parents. Ask them to see how far into the past they can go. They will need to ask at home or contact relatives, to discover the names, birth dates and death dates of their family members. In the classroom discuss how this information can be put into the form of a family tree and discuss how diagrams are used to sort and communicate information (date of death can be excluded in this activity if there are sensitive circumstances within the class, such as if a parent of a student had passed away recently).

Family keepsakes and stories

As homework, students can ask an older member of their family, a grandparent or parent, about a special story of something that happened in their family's past and why this story is important. Students can ask their families for any images or objects from the past that their family now own that will help them tell this story to the rest of the class. Some students may be able to videotape or record interviews with a grandparent or great grandparent.

Activities 3 and 4

Activities 3 and 4 both essentially create a form of family tree. Activity 3 is a middle primary activity which allows the students to create the family tree using 'art and craft'. Activity 4 is more appropriate for upper primary.

Please note: be aware that there may be students in your class who do not come from 'traditional' families, and are sensitive to their situation. Consider letting those students choose how to construct their tree. A child from a single parent household may prefer to only make a half tree, while children from a 'blended family' may want to make two trees.

Alternatively, you may prefer to take a different approach to the activities, and base them around a fictional family (from a book, television show, cartoon, etc).

Activity sheets

Download activity sheets (PDF:997KB)

The PDF contains: