Cross-curricular activities: Aboriginal Dreaming stories

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By Christina Bakerwriter and educational journalist

Discover the origins of traditional tales told in the land down under

Stories from the Billabong

The story ‘Why Brolgas Dance’ is from the book Stories from the Billabong by James Vance Marshall and Francis Firebrace (Frances Lincoln)

The Australian Aboriginal culture is one of the most ancient in the world and its rich tradition of storytelling dates back thousands of years. Stories were often told around the evening campfire by the elders of the tribe, and thus past on from generation to generation. Most Aboriginal myths take place in ‘The Dreaming’ – a time in the distant past in which all things were created. The mythology is deeply intertwined with Aboriginal religious beliefs, Australia’s landscape and its native animals.

Aboriginal myths provide an unusual and engaging starting point for a wide range of cross-curricular learning and an interesting take on the fairytale theme. The following activities are based on ‘Why Brolgas Dance’ and other Dreaming stories. A Brolga is a native Australian bird and member of the crane family. It is famous for its elaborate mating dance.

Activities

  1. Story origins
  2. Why Brolgas Dance
  3. Alternative storytelling
  4. Storyboarding scenes
  5. Dreaming stories
  6. Aboriginal art
  7. Brolga birds
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