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Geography and Music!

March 23, 2020
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Hearing Geography, Music Makes Connection

How have our First Peoples understood their landscape? For millennia they have sustainable practices to keep the landscape maintained at its optimum level. Fire, for example, has been used in various ways to keep the landscape healthy, regenerate the flora, and ensure the fauna have habitats that enhance their continued survival. Our First Peoples have mapped the land through Songlines, which provide navigation, mythology, and information about sacred and significant areas of the landscape.

Music and ceremony are pivotal aspects of their existence.

The newly developed e-platform, Sound Infusion, now provides teachers with an incredibly flexible, yet comprehensive, learning tool for students to access the unique sounds of the Australian landscape and indigenous culture and make them their own. Students can create moods and feelings of the vast Australian landscape through this app; creating compositions that reflect their indigenous studies and give full flight to their creativity.

By composing pieces involving the Australian Native Flute, the Gum Leaf, Didgeridoo, Jaw Harp, and various indigenous percussion sounds, the musicology of the culture can be brought to life in an experiential sense for the students. No musical knowledge is needed – it is an intuitive tool that enables creativity without the student needing to learn the actual instruments. Its applications are endless: for school projects, film scores, music studies, and general cross-disciplinary areas such as intercultural studies, geography, and history. A comprehensive set of lesson plans (across year levels) come with a subscription to the platform.

indigenous storytelling

Bringing Geography and Sustainability into Indigenous Studies and Vice Versa

Cultural Infusion is exceptionally honoured to bring the work of Prof Jim Bowler – the archaeologist who discovered the ritualised remains of Mungo Man and Mungo Woman – has put his lifelong work into an educational app to make his research and discoveries accessible to the classroom in the comprehensive platform Mungo Explorer.

The remains Jim discovered, over 40,000 years old, are the oldest indication of ritualized burial in the world and rewrote history. The site of the discovery – Lake Mungo, now World Heritage-listed – is rich in geological and environmental information. Jim brings this to life in Mungo Explorer. Mungo explorer addresses not only archaeology and anthropology but the long term effects of climate and how the environment responds to changing conditions. This is an extraordinary cross-disciplinary app. Again, comprehensive lesson plans are provided with a subscription to this platform.

The Summary of Mungo Explorer

Students explore the lifestyles of the ancestors of the three local Traditional Tribes, the Paakantji, Nyiampaa and Mutthi Mutthi and how they adapted their lifestyles to survive through the last Ice Age, to become the longest living culture on the planet. The Lake Mungo discoveries of the oldest human remains in Australia challenged historians and provide a rich tapestry for the study, ‘Investigating the Ancient Past.’ Time suggested for the depth study is 30% of the year’s total teaching time for history and cross-curricular activities.

Single units can be integrated into current teaching strategies. The significant events and decisions associated with Lake Mungo, when explored, inspire students to examine the political, economic, cultural and ethical contexts. Students are encouraged to develop a holistic view and to understand the interconnectedness of significant events in our geological and human histories and to then examine the detail required for scientific study.

To ensure that different learning styles are catered for a variety of pedagogies are used including; historical and scientific inquiry and Aboriginal ways of learning. Inquiry questions provide the framework. Students engage in historical and scientific inquiry, gather and establish information, as they explore different perspectives and interpretations on their journey through the deeper layers of Australia’s extraordinary natural and cultural history.

Mungo Explorer addresses directly one of the Australian Curriculum (ACARA) Priorities:

Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islander Peoples have worked scientifically for millennia and continue to contribute to contemporary science. They are scientifically rigorous, demonstrating how Indigenous history, culture, knowledge and understanding can be incorporated into teaching core scientific concepts.”

In fact, through the Learning Lands platform of apps, the ACARA Cross-Curriculum priority of ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures’ can be further addressed through the interactive learning of the incursion experience: Indigenous Infusion, Kinder Dreaming, Artist in Residence – Indigenous Mural Art, and Aboriginal Culture for a Day. These incursion programs are available in almost all states of Australia. 

Indigenous Infusion offers 50 minutes of Aboriginal knowledge, music, and dance, which can be tailored to your school or class needs to focus on a particular aspect of indigenous culture relative to your curriculum. This is available in most states year-round, and Cultural Infusion organizes tours across Australia, enabling regional students easier access to the incursion experience.

Kinder Dreaming is a 30-minute session for pre-primary students which is highly interactive. The children learn an Aboriginal animal dance, experience the didgeridoo, and experience Aboriginal storytelling and art. Again, the choice of content is the kindergarten or early learning centre’s choice.

Aboriginal Culture for a Day is a full school or half school (depending on student numbers) event. Involving rotating groups so no student misses out on the topics presented, the day is an experience no student will forget. For many students, it is their first interaction with Aborigines and Aboriginal culture and stays with them for a long time. Students develop respect and a deeper and richer understanding of our First Peoples that is presented in a fun and vibrant program that is highly educational, but also engaging.

By combining these various approaches to indigenous studies, science, geography, and humanities generally, there is a full suite of learning tools to guide your students through this fascinating terrain. Contact Cultural Infusion on 1800 010 069 to book or discuss your curriculum needs and find out more about this and other programs we can offer your school or event.

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