Planning for Inquiry

Tuning In (Building from the unknown) –

What do I know already?/What questions do I have?/How could I find out more about the topic?

Complete Know and Wonder poster:

  • Ask students what they already know and what they wonder about the Australian Gold Rush.
  • They write their responses on a sticky note with their name at the bottom and stick it on the relevant poster.

Show students a video of the Californian Gold Rush.

Discuss with the students that Gold was discovered in NSW.

  • Use setting the scene from the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’
  • Go through a brief history of gold discovery
  • Creation of Victoria as a state

Show students a video on the beginnings of the Victorian Gold Rush.


Finding Out (Gaining new perspectives)

What would I like to learn more about?/What do I need help with?/Where and how could I find out more information about?

Students are to research and develop responses to the pathway they select in the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’.

This process will ask students to explore concepts relevant to their choices.

This may include areas such as the following:

The Gold Fields

  • What was life like on the goldfields? (difficult, easy? Why?)
  • What food did they eat?
  • What kind of accommodation did they live in?
  • Where would they buy their supplies for digging and eating?
  • Did the children go to school?
  • Where would they go if they were sick or injured?



May include:

  • Discuss immigration into Australia due to the gold rush
  • Students to read and complete the inference worksheet titled ‘Chinese Arrive’ (History Now pg 58)
  • Discuss and go through the answers together


  • Ask the students what they know about the mining licenses
  • Discussion around the purpose, fairness and costing of the mining licences
  • ‘Do you Dare – The Eureka Boys’ –  read to class (refers to life on the goldfields)



May include: 

  • Lead into Eureka Stockade and the role of bushrangers during that period in history
  • ‘Australia – The Story of Us’ – a video showing early bushrangers (See Year 5 cabinet
  • KWL on bushrangers
  • Read ‘The Green Sash’ (Picture storybook found in school Library) – Early years of Ned KellyRead
  • ‘Black Snake’
  • Persuasive writing piece – ‘Was Ned Kelly a hero or a villain?’
    ‘Being a lawbreaker – was it a need or choice?’



May include:

  • Role in the uprising
  • It’s significance to their pathway
  • What were the results?
  • Was it worth it?


Sorting Out (Taking the time to find questions for personal inquiry)/ Going Further (Further possibilities)

How will I organise this information?/How will I record the information?/How will I communicate the information?

What would I like to learn more about and why?/How is this linked to the concept or topic?/What do I need to do this?

  • Excursion to Sovereign Hill – In character – miners, troupers and bankers
  • The investigation into different components of what a gold mining town looked like
    (Housing, shops, goldfields, mines, streets, schools, accommodation, law and order, church, wagons, animals, people, stables, entertainment, bushrangers)

    • Consider their individual foci
    • What was important for their pathway?
    • How are these elements used by their pathway? Why?
  • Work with the children to establish success criteria


Children are given choice as to which area they would like to investigate

The pathway or investigation can be presented in a variety of ways
Children given the opportunity to come up with their own mode of presentation
Share with one another (Jigsaw learning) – have a performer to fill in as students listen to one another (creates overview understanding)

Once completed, the students are given the choice to work in small groups and be given a portion of a ‘puzzle’ which will depict a scene of the Gold Rush era.

Construction of a 3D gold field/town.

Scene ideas:

Accommodation settlement

Gold Panning

Gold mining

Strip of shops

Chinese settlement

Bakery Hill (Eureka stockade)


Banks/government houses

Students will work within a group to plan/design their allocated scene on paper first and then translate it to 3D form using various materials.

They must also explain exactly what is happening in their scene (What is happening? Who is involved? How it relates to their pathway? Why?)
What new questions do I have? Create further ‘I wonder’ questions.


Reflection (Sharing the learning/planning further inquiries)

What is the most interesting thing that I have learned?/What challenged me the most?/What conclusions have I made?

Taking Action (Thoughtful new action)

May include:

  • What was the impact of Gold Mining on the environment?
  • Why is this something that we need to consider? Can we learn from it? Can we fix it?


What have I learned that I can use in everyday life?/What do I want to do now as a result of my learning?

Celebration of Learning

Parents invited into the classroom to see all work completed including a viewing and explanation of the Gold mining town model

Revisited the questions on the wondering wall

Added their new learning on sticky notes


Stage 4: Reflections of Learning (Teachers and Students)


It is important to reflect on the Positive, Negative and Interesting elements of this inquiry.


It is important to reflect on the Positive, Negative and Interesting elements of this inquiry. 



Identify the desired resultsgold_nugget


Assessment and Evidencescale

Curriculum Outcomes


Planning for Inquiry (Kath Murdoch/Kathy Short Inquiry Model)arrows-1577983_960_720

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