I have been re-planning in the last few weeks a sequence of lessons for Y8 focused on the British Empire - where we look at case studies of how the British ruled Australia, India and Jamaica in the late 18th and 19th centuries. This enquiry focuses on 'What did the British Empire look like in the 19th century?'. We focus on exploring the ways that Britain took control of these countries as part of British colonisation and how the British treated the indigenous peoples of these nations.
At the start of the second lesson in the enquiry 'Why did the Aboriginals suffer so much under British rule?' I plan to share with students how the Indigenous Australians were kept alongside animals and paraded around the world in what was named as 'Human Zoos’. The Australian aboriginals were known as 'boomerang throwing savages' in these horrific conditions.
Whilst thinking about how this lesson draws links to other subjects, it dawned on me that there was a clear link to our Science curriculum where students are taught about Charles Darwin’s research on evolution. The British colonists in the late 19th century used Darwin's work to justify treating the aboriginals in Australia so badly because scientists of the time were searching for the ‘missing link’ between primates and humans. This led to the mistreatment of aboriginal peoples globally, as they were captured and displayed around Europe and the USA in human zoos alongside animals. This was not unique mistreatment from the British. The last human zoo was only closed in 1958. This atrocity was part of the World's Fair held in Brussels, Belgium.
In order to highlight the cross-curricular link in this lesson to the students, I have used the 'Link' logo showcased by Mr. Herington, in the slide where I plan to present the information about Charles Darwin to the students. There is a screengrab of this below. From speaking with the Science Department - Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution fits into the Year 8 Science curriculum towards the end of the academic year. This makes the link between the subjects really clear and will hopefully lead to the students being more confident discussing the similar content in the different subjects; something that should help to improve progress in lessons, as well as reducing the cognitive load on our students.