The notion of beautiful work is central to project based learning and requires skill, dedication and perseverance. The vision for Googong’s first Year 7 student project was to combine the different skills and elements of the various curriculums with an appreciation of the local environment and the ability to exemplify the core notion of beautiful work. Classified Tails is the culmination of an in-depth study of Googong fauna, through which the students developed a interest in the welfare of the native fauna with the impact of the development of the Googong Township. The project brings to the ‘new’ Googong, an understanding of the ‘old’ Googong, the importance of heritage and the important interactions between the environment and the community. Through a process of drafting and re-drafting until the product reached a level of excellence, the students demonstrated beautiful work, and a publication which met a borad range of curriculum outcomes from Science, Geography, Music, English, Art, Technology and History.
For our community, this project provides an insight into the ‘other’ residents in our neighbourhood and places value on their existence. For the environment, it shows that we place importance on conservation. For the School community, it shows that we are both concerned for and interested in the local context, history and heritage. For our students, it shows that we value authentic learning and see benefit in framing learning in a relevant context. Our students have applied considerable effort in realising this project, and their hard work has resulted in a tangible resource which embodies rich learning experiences and beautiful work where elements of the curriculum, the local environment and their context are linked. It has also become evident to the students that education is the key to changing our world.
The students had much fun in this learning process, in which they have spent time at Googong Dam, time outside the classroom in the natural environment, time working independently and interdependently, time creating, time refining and all the while, building their own capacity as learners. The project required each student to choose an animal of interest to them, research the animal, study the animal in its native bushland, imagine life as that animal here in Googong, design a lino print and create a soundscape. Through the production process our Year 7 students have built an understanding of their impact and place in the local environment and in the world. The students should be immensely proud of this published work, which presents their exploration into the Googong fauna, from all angles of the curriculum.