Yesterday and Today Curriculum Activity

Suitable for Primary (Years F-4)

Victorian Curriculum Links:

Design and Technologies
3-4: (VCDSTS023)
F-2: (VCHHK065), (VCHHK061)
3-4: (VCHHK073)

Activity Description

The Yesterday and Today activity encourages discussion about the change in technologies over time used for comfort and entertainment around the house. It also highlights to students our reliance now on electric powered devices. Students will look at a range of common electrical appliances and are asked to match them with those that were used in the past.

Key Concepts

Technology, Change and Continuity, Materials and Resources, Energy Dependence, Energy Use

Key Learning Intentions

1. Students will be able to order and compare different technologies over time
2. Students will be able to discuss how these changes have shaped people’s lives for comfort, fun/entertainment and convenience
3. Students will be able to explore the difference between electronic appliances and the technolgies that came before and explore factors, including sustainability

Suggestions for Assessment

1. Participation in the Yesterday and Today activity
2. Participation in the Discussion questions above


1. Categorise
Spread out the images of electrical appliances. Place them into three categories.
a) Comfort b) Fun & Entertainment c) Functional/Helpful

2. Past and Present
Match the modern-day appliances to the equivalent of what would have been used in the past. What other alternatives were there?

3. Discussion
1. Identify the different materials that these technologies were made from, comparing those of the past to those of today. What do you notice?
2. Discuss ‘Needs vs Wants’. Which items are a need? Which items are a want? What is the difference?
3. Debate which household appliances and/or electronic devices you and your family could live without for 1 day, 1 week or forever.

Suggested ResourceSmart Schools Module Links

Undertaking the activity as described above links to the ResourceSmart Schools Energy Module – actions B1.2, B1.3

Below is a list of extension activities that link to additional actions of the Energy module:

1. Students to participate in a challenge of adopting their parents’/grandparents’ ways for everyday needs for one-week. Encourage students to keep a diary of their experience and write a learning story to share on your school’s sustainability website (ResourceSmart Schools Energy Module – actions B1.3, C1.3)
2. Students to interview a parent or grandparent about the technology available when they were children and reflect on how it was different to their current lifestyle (ResourceSmart Schools Energy Module – actions B1.3, C1.2)
3. Invite a local indigenous group to share their traditional perspectives on energy and how it was used to meet their needs for comfort and everyday tasks (ResourceSmart Schools Energy Module – actions B1.5, B1.6)
4. Students to write a report about key findings of the activity and share in your school’s newsletter and website, including tips about being more energy smart at home (ResourceSmart Schools Energy Module – actions C1.1, C1.3, C3.5)
5. Extend activity beyond electrical appliances to include transport (ResourceSmart Schools Energy Module – action B1.3)
6. Extend activity to research other climate areas in Australia and around the world. Engage with students from other school(s) in regional Victoria, interstate or overseas to share findings (ResourceSmart Schools Energy Module – action C3.7)

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