Lesson 4: Symbols and traditions of ANZAC

Introduction

ANZAC Day – 25 April – is arguably one of Australia’s most important days of commemoration. With this day, many symbols and traditions of ANZAC have become well-recognised icons. When people see a poppy, slouch hat, or ANZAC biscuit, or hear the Last Post, they are reminded of the men and women who have fought for Australia and those still serving in the Defence Forces today.

ANZAC Day services also follow a traditional pattern: an introduction, hymn, prayer, an address, laying of wreaths, a recitation, the Last Post, a period of silence, either the Rouse or the Reveille, and the national anthem. After the ceremony, families often place red poppies beside the names of relatives on the Memorial’s Roll of Honour.

In this lesson, students will learn about our ANZAC symbols and traditions and why it is important that we recognise and uphold them.

Links to Australian Curriculum

History

  • Use historical terms and concepts.
  • Identify questions to inform a historical inquiry.
  • Identify and locate a range of relevant sources.

Learning outcomes

Participating in this lesson will help students to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Students will recognise and name some common ANZAC symbols and traditions.
  • Students will discover interesting facts surrounding the origins of the ANZAC symbols and traditions.

Resources

You will need:

Lesson steps

Please note: Some of the content in this lesson may be upsetting for students. It is advised that teachers use their discretion when selecting the proposed activities for use in their classroom.

As a class, brainstorm what students think of when they hear the word ‘ANZAC.’ Record responses.

Now discuss the words ‘symbol’ and ‘tradition’. What do students think symbols and traditions are? Why do we have them? Where do we see symbols? What sort of traditions do we celebrate throughout the year?

Ask students to close their eyes and think about the word ANZAC. What imagery comes into their heads

Ask students to brainstorm any ANZAC symbols or traditions they can think of. Some responses may include:

  • The Dawn Service
  • ‘For the Fallen’
  • Poppies
  • Slouch hat
  • Rosemary
  • Red cross emblem
  • ANZAC Day services
  • Wreath
  • ANZAC biscuits
  • Simpson and his Donkey
  • ‘The Ode’
  • Australian or New Zealand flag
  • The Last Post
  • Medals
  • A Minute of Silence

Place students into small groups. Each member of the group will select a different ANZAC symbol or tradition to research. They will record six interesting facts about it on the ‘ANZAC symbols and traditions’ activity sheet, then return to their original group and share their information.

If you have access to any ANZAC items (e.g. a slouch hat, poppy, ANZAC biscuit, medal, wreath, sprig of rosemary etc.) set up stations around the room for the groups to work at.

Additional cross-curricular activities

Here are some suggested extra activities to extend the students’ learning.

English

  • Students to recite ‘The Ode’ or ‘For the Fallen’, then analyse its language and structural features.

History

  • Students to research the many medals that were awarded during World War I. What did they look like and what were they awarded for?

The Arts

  • Students to use art and craft material to create their own wreath or poppy.

Technologies

  • Students to find images of ANZAC symbols. Scan or download the pictures and use computer software to create a photo story using appropriate music. Make sure students reference the source/s of the images.