Hass / Historical Knowledge and Understanding/ History

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Episode 4

1st March 2016

eacher Resource

Endeavour Tour

    Students will investigate Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia aboard the Endeavour.

HASS / Historical Knowledge and Understanding/ History

The journey(s) of AT LEAST ONE world navigator, explorer or trader up to the late eighteenth century, including their contacts with other societies and any impacts (ACHASSK084)
The nature of contact between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and others, for example, the Macassans and the Europeans, and the effects of these interactions on, for example, people and environments (ACHASSK086)
HASS / Inquiry and Skills / Research

Locate and collect information and data from different sources, including observations (ACHASSI074)

Examine information to identify different points of view and distinguish facts from opinions (ACHASSI077)

  1. Who led the voyage of discovery on the Endeavour?

  2. What rare event was the Endeavour crew aiming to observe?

  3. What was their secret mission?

  4. How long was the journey?

  5. What happened to the Endeavour?

  6. When was the replica of the Endeavour built?

  7. What is the cat o’ nine tails and when was it used?

  8. Who was Joseph Banks?

  9. Name three facts you learnt about the Endeavour.

  10. Imagine you were on Cook’s voyage of discovery on the Endeavour. Write a paragraph describing what it was like.

Discuss the BtN Endeavour Tour story as a class. What questions were raised in the discussion (what are the gaps in their knowledge)? The following KWLH organiser provides students with a framework to explore their knowledge on this topic and consider what they would like to know and learn.

What do I know?

What do I want to know?

What have I learnt?

How will I find out?

Students will develop their own question/s for inquiry, collecting and recording information from a wide variety of sources (internet, books, newspaper and magazines).

  • Captain Cook is the known as the ‘discoverer of Australia’. What does this mean?

  • What were some of the changes to the lives of Aboriginal people after Captains Cook’s discovery of Australia? Give two examples.

  • How might Captain Cook’s journey be similar or different to journeys undertaken today?


Develop a glossary of words and terms that relate to Captains Cook’s voyage aboard the Endeavour. Below are some words to get you started. Add words and meanings to your glossary as you come across unfamiliar words throughout your research. Consider using pictures and diagrams to illustrate meanings.













Challenge students by asking them to use words from their class glossary to write their own sentences. Alternatively, students can make their own crossword puzzle or word find.


Create a timeline of Captain Cook’s voyage that can be tracked on a map. Using the internet (including resources on the BtN Endeavour Tour story page) students will find out more about Captain Cook’s voyage on the Endeavour and then respond to the following questions:

  • When did the voyage start and finish?

  • Which countries did the Endeavour visit?

  • Describe a significant event that occurred in each place? Describe something interesting that occurred in each place. Refer to Captain Cook’s journal for a personal account of events.

Cook’s Endeavour journal

Choose an entry in Cook’s journal, and read aloud as a class.

  • Discuss the language

  • List any unfamiliar words and find meanings

  • What did the journal make you wonder?

  • Why was it important for explorers to keep journals during their travels and record information about the places they saw? 

What questions do you have for Captain Cook? Imagine you could travel back in time to the 1700s and interview Captain Cook. Find out about his life and achievements. Present your findings in an interesting way.

  • Give a presentation on their achievements

  • Create a portrait

  • Design a poster

  • Make a “Did you know?” for other students
  • Using the Bio-Cube template, design and create a 3D model to present their biographical information. Each side of the cube will include a different aspect of your research.

  • Write a Bio Poem. Use the Read Write Think Bio Poem template.

Postcard writing

Students will imagine what life was like for the crew aboard the Endeavour and write a postcard to a family member explaining their experiences (including what they are doing, the living conditions and how they feel). Students will use their research findings to support their writing. Include photographs, drawings and or maps to decorate the front of the postcard.

Students can download this Write a Postcard template to assist them with their design.

Journal writing

Students will imagine they are a crew member aboard the Endeavour. Write a journal describing your first week aboard the ship.

  • Explain why you are aboard the Endeavour. What is your role aboard the ship?

  • What can you see? What can you eat? What can you smell? How do things feel? What can you hear?

  • What are some of the challenges or dangers?

  • What are your daily activities (for example, research, eating, sleeping)?

  • What is exciting about being part of the voyage?

Students will reflect on their learning during this activity and respond to the following questions.

  • How did you feel about this activity?
  • How do primary sources (for example photos, letters, diaries and official documents) help you understand what might have happened at a place in time?

  • What questions do you have about (the topic) at the moment?

Steps to becoming a great explorer

James Cook was one of the greatest explorers of his time.  However you do not have to travel far or need large amounts of time to be an explorer of the world.

As a class brainstorm what it takes to be an explorer of the world. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • always be looking

  • collect and document your findings – take field notes

  • use all of your senses when you are investigating

  • be curious – everything is interesting if you look closer

Visit this ABC Splash website for more steps to becoming a great explorer

Be an explorer


Source: Wikipedia, Taxonomy of Banksia. A 1770s watercolour of Banksia serrata. One of the first ever drawings of a Banksia species, it was produced by one of Sir Joseph Banks' London artists, based on original drawings by Sydney Parkinson, who was present when the genus was first collected at Botany Bay.

aptain Cook took botanists and artists on his voyage to Australia in the 1770s and these people discovered and drew new species of plants. Many of these specimens and illustrations survive today as a heritage of the botanical discovery of Australia. You can see the coloured illustrations of plants collected on Cook’s voyage at the web site of the British Natural History Museum.

A good scientific record of a plant requires a botanical drawing as well as a written description. Botanical drawing combines art and science, where the artists draws a plant exactly as it looks.
Your task is to explore your school yard for a plant specimen and then create a botanical drawing. Follow this step-by-step method:

  • Explore your school yard for a botanical specimen.

  • Collect a specimen that interests you. Make sure you respect the plants in your school yard when taking a specimen.

  • Get to know your specimen – look at the plant’s details including, the plant’s surface, leaf veins, shapes and colours. The connections between stem and leaf, and the size of the different parts of the plant. Does the plant have a flower, fruit or seeds? Notice any patterns. Write down what you see.

  • Sketch what you can see using a lead pencil on paper.

  • Now look at your plant with a microscope or magnifying glass. Draw your plant again as accurately as you can now that you can see more detail. Use cartridge paper and coloured pencils or paint. Work out how to show the texture of the different surfaces of the plant.

  • Can you identify what type of plant it is? Find its botanical name and label your drawing.

Australian National Maritime Museum – HMB Endeavour

National Library of Australia – Cook’s Endeavour journal

National Museum of Australia – Cook Timeline


South Seas – Cook’s daily entries in his journal

HMB Endeavour – Virtual tour

ABC Splash – Explorers in Australia

Australian Dictionary of Biography – James Cook (1728-1779)

Behind the News – First Fleet

Behind the News – Maritime Past


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