Games from India

[Episode 11 | 1908 : Evelyn]

Evelyn, her brother Edward and their friend Freddie Müller are playing an imaginary game under the tree. They are pretending to be tiger hunters in India. Miss Müller tells them about tigers and their inability to reverse down trees. Evelyn's father brings home the Mr Wong's 'No. 5' assortment of fireworks to be used on cracker night.


The Australian curriculum: History

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The Australian Curriculum: History aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens 
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society 
  • understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability 
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

History activities [3]

Activity 1: Imaginary games
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Subtheme(s): Entertainment and games

In this clip, Evelyn and her brother Edward are playing an imaginary game with their friend Freddie Müller under the tree. They are pretending to be big game hunters in India. In 1908, India was a place of interest as a British colony, due to the large sources of agricultural wealth. While the Australian Federation was formed in 1901, India was still struggling to achieve independence.

Evelyn and her family were British and many of the newspapers and books of the day reported India as being exotic and adventurous. Students can discover why through research and discussion. A starting point could be presenting students with the following statement:

The British Empire, in the early decades of the twentieth century, ruled a population of approximately 400–500 million people, which covered roughly two-fifths of the world's land area.

  • Ask students: Can you identify with the game Evelyn and her friends are playing? Discuss where and when imaginary games are played and what themes children use when playing them. Discuss why Evelyn uses India and hunting as her themes for the imaginary games she plays with the other children.

  • Ask students to work individually to find out the connection between the British Empire and India in 1908. They should make four fact cards with the information collected. Some focus questions to help students could include:
  1. What was the connection between Australia and the British Empire in 1908?
  2. Why was the connection between India and Britain a hot topic in 1908?
  3. Why are Australian children discussing British India?
  • For more in-depth information, students can conduct research in the school or local library, or online. As a starting point, refer to the websites listed below:
  1. Tabblo,'Historians' India (1903 & 1908)',
  2. British Medical Journal, 'India in 1908',
  3. Wikipedia, 'Presidencies and provinces of British India',
  4. The fact cards can then be shared and displayed together on the wall or pin board. As a class, review the facts researched and discuss the main points.


Activity 2: Real games
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Subtheme(s): Entertainment and games
  • Once students have completed their fact cards in Activity 1: Imaginary games, ask them to form small groups of four or five. Each group is to design and construct a board game, such as snakes and ladders, Trivial Pursuit, or Monopoly. Ask students to use the information they researched about the British in India as the basis of the questions. A correct answer will see players advance on the board.
  • Additional questions could be added from their research on topics such as tigers, 19th-century Australia, children's games, or the story and characters in this episode of My Place.


Activity 3: Fashions for children
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Subtheme(s): Fashion; Gender roles and stereotypes

The characters in this episode wear costumes typical of fashions in 1908. Evelyn wears a modest dress of cotton or gingham with long sleeves, a full skirt and a hemline above the ankles. Edward and Freddie wear white shirts, ties, vests, shorts and work boots.

  • Ask students to compare the fashions in the clip with the fashions of children today. For more in-depth information, students can conduct research in the school or local library, or online.

As a starting point, refer to the websites listed below:

  1. Wikipedia, '1900s in fashion',
  2. Fashion-Era, 'Children's Costume History 1900 to 1910',
  3. The Costume Gallery's Online Library, 'McCall's Magazine: May 1908',
  • Students should choose a character from the episode, draw them a costume, name the parts of the costume and describe why they wore this attire. Ask students to design another costume for their chosen character and explain why they have dressed them this way. They could cut out their character as a paper-doll pattern and dress the doll in the new costume using paper tabs. As an alternative, students could use card and magnets to make the designs into paper dolls that they can display on a magnetic surface.


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