Canberra Study Tour 2022

A trip to Canberra in Year 6 is a bit of a rite of passage. Visiting the nation’s capital fits with the curriculum and the timing of such a BIG trip seems to suit the age frame and maturity of the students. But why do we go? Why should we go?

There is nothing better than being immersed in culture and place. By landing in Canberra, we experience first-hand the design and purpose of the place, and we witness the various functions performed by national industries. We feel the importance of collections gathered especially for national galleries and we get the sense of connection between the decision-makers and the people.

Gigi says… We go to Canberra to learn more about government and what goes on behind the scenes. We want to come back as better and more curious learners. And we want to be able to think about our future and learn that we have a big say too.

The Canberra Study Tour is the cornerstone of action for the Unit of Inquiry – How We Organise Ourselves. And boy, do we have to be organised on the tour! There is a jam-packed itinerary that takes in most of Canberra’s attractions with the Minimbah kids engaged with everything from an illuminated model of the city to passing a bill about water tanks at Parliament House. Some of the highlights this year included learning about the history of money after European settlement in Australia, sketching a collaborative Indigenous artwork at the Portrait Gallery, hearing from an elder at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, arguing about the value of Blue Poles at the National Gallery, and spotting the nocturnal wildlife at the Botanic Gardens.

Lily says… My highlight in Canberra was when we went to Old Parliament House, and I became Joan Child – the last Speaker before the move to Parliament House. This was a new sense of learning, and it got my creative juices flowing.

Prior to leaving, the students had set up a reflection platform on their iPads using PowerPoint. This gave them a way to organise the itinerary, their daily reflections through text or voice recordings, and photos or evidence that they collected along the way. As well as reflecting on their experiences each day, the students had developed their own personal question which they were expected to consider everywhere they went. The students’ questions were developed using careful thought and discussion about the concepts of responsibility, function, perspective, and connection. They also considered their own interests or passions. Some of the questions are listed below.

If this place didn't exist, what would society be missing?Ruben

How do leaders make decisions? What do they consider when making decisions?Ruby F

What systems are in place to preserve what's important? - Joseph

A Tourdementry: Exploring the interdependence between locations and citizens.Claudia

How are Art and Creativity represented in the different places in Canberra?James

Was Canberra built in the right place?Lenny

Who is the leader? How do they show leadership through action?Maddie

Are all protests as important as each other?Patrick

On returning to school, the students have been concentrating on finalising their reflections, answering their ‘big question’ and presenting their findings. We are all looking forward to sharing our Canberra experience with the school community at our upcoming Assembly.

Here are some thoughts expressed by the students on their return:

If you go to Canberra at this time of year, the weather is beautiful, and the autumn leaves are stunning. – Ashanah

I learnt that all the coins in Australia are made in one place. - Jampa

We really relied on each other, basically living together. I needed my mates to be sensible in the rooms.Nate

I learnt that you could not borrow books from the National Library and that if a politician is late to parliament they can get locked out. - Joe

You must be respectful when you are walking around and going to your room.Sierra

There’s a difference between having a willingness to learn and having a closed mind. Lachie

I learnt that ‘Exit’ signs cannot be red unless in the Senate.Elise

I didn’t expect the food to be that good!Liv and Molly

This trip to Canberra was an absolute treat for students and staff alike – enormous thanks to Rod, Jo, Lisa, Nicci and Aviv for accompanying us. The students were so curious and eager to enjoy everything we did. As well as all the ‘study stuff’ we found plenty of time for play and laughs and some fierce competition at the bowling alley. It was so wonderful to be together and to build friendships through experiences.

Charlie says… Going to Canberra was great, especially because we got to go with our friends. Doing things with friends is always so much fun, even if it is something little, it’s always fun. But Canberra was even better; so many things to experience, all with friends. Playing cards, sharing rooms and learning; without friends, honestly, Canberra would have been nowhere near as good.

Year 6 Teachers