At School At War

Community and Remembrance

Anzac Day 

Stage 2 Community and Remembrance: At School At War commemorates Anzac Day, the Armistice and the First World War. This immersive program builds inquiry skills and understandings of the foundations and significance of Anzac Day through the perspective of 1914-1918 school students. 

Source-based Activities

Using 1915-1918 sources, students will be immersed into the home front during the First World War from a school child’s perspective.

Students will undertake a range of genuine hands-on activities in an authentic 1900s school setting such as writing a message of support to a soldier, rolling and folding bandages, spinning fleece into yarn, creating a 3D model of a military camp, recreating an Empire Day tableau, practising cadet drill and weighing vegetables for fundraising.

Stories of North Ryde local boys who enlisted, and young teachers at the front, will be woven throughout the activities to build empathy and understanding.

Sources include The School Magazine, The Public Instruction Gazette, The Education Gazette, photographs and other images. Note: The NSW Schoolhouse Museum does not hold war artefacts or war memorabilia.

Download the At School At War flier. Download sample Stage 2 At School At War visit plan.

Weighing potatoes

Learning Experiences

The focus of the program is for students to take on the role of a 1900s school student and recreate First World War school activities in support of the war effort on the home front.

Inquiry questions

  • What is the nature of the contribution made by NSW school children to the First World War?
  • What is the significance of ANZAC Day and how and why do people remember it?

Students will have the opportunity to:

  • Recite an oath and sing patriotic songs in a re-enacted 1915-1918 school assembly
  • Copy a verse to a soldier at the front in pen and ink from a 1917 School Magazine
  • Dress in costumes representing countries of  the Empire and step into a 1915 photo of a school Empire Day tableau
  • Draw a map using pen and ink showing the location of Gallipoli
  • Write a postcard to a WW1 teacher soldier serving at the front
  • Learn cadet drill as prescribed by Federal law and the 1916 Junior Cadet Training Text Book
  • Stretch, bend and follow commands to undertake prescribed physical fitness exercises
  • Create a 3D model of a military camp as pictured in the August 1915 Public Instruction Gazette
  • Examine photographs and other sources relating to NSW school children’s WW1 contributions
  • Roll and fold bandages as Junior red Cross members 
  • Weigh vegetables to calculate sales to contribute to a war fund
  • Spin fleece using a drop spindle to make yarn for knitting into socks.

The day will commence with a recreated 1915-1918 assembly where students will hear news from the front and of local soldiers, recite a verse, sing God Save the King and patriotic songs, recite an oath and salute the flag. Students will then remain in their class group and undertake three sets of activities rotating through three spaces with a break for recess and a break for lunch. 

To help sustain role as a First World War school pupil, students are encouraged to dress as 1900s school children.

Download sample Stage 2 At School At War visit plan.

Brushing fleece

History K-10

The program supports the Stage 2 topic Community and Remembrance.

HT2-1 identifies celebrations and commemorations of significance in Australia and the world

HT2-2 describes and explains how significant individuals, groups and events contributed to changes in the local community over time

HT2-5 applies skills of historical inquiry and communication

Key inquiry questions

  • What is the nature of the contribution made by different groups and individuals in the community?
  • How and why do people choose to remember significant events of the past?

Historical skills and concepts

Students will use and analyse primary sources to recreate aspects of 1915-1918 school life that supported the WW1 war effort.  The significance of and reason for each activity will  be explained in the context of a 1900s classroom by educators in role as 1900s teachers. 


Through source analysis, historical reenactment and immersion in the past students will develop an understanding of the:

  • origins and significance of ANZAC Day
  • contribution of school children to the local community in supporting the war effort. 

Writing a postcard and map

At School At War Bookings

At School At War is available all year – see our Calendar for available dates.

Suitable for Stage 2, maximum 90 students. 

Cost $18.00 per student, accompanying adults free.

NSW School Children and the ANZACs

A brief explanation of the contribution of NSW school children through World War 1 is available on the page NSW school children and the ANZACs. Resource links are included.

A source booklet containing photographs and other sources used during the excursion will be emailed after the visit. 

The At School At War Source Booklet can be emailed to rural schools not able to visit the NSW Schoolhouse Museum and participate in the At School At War program. 

Risk Management Advice

Risk management advice for At School At War excursion 

 Military camp model