Adriana Cufre-Sadnick

Using artefacts to increase engagement in the Ancient History classroom

Inspired by a visit to the Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition at Melbourne Museum but unable to find a way for our students to experience it, staff at Westfields Sports High School decided to challenge Year 11 Ancient History students to create their own archaeological museum. The process of creating the archaeological display enabled students to gain real life understanding of the complex issues arising in the time of Tutankhamen as well as the realisation that history evolves and changes our perception and interpretation of past historical events.

The exhibition had several unexpected educational outcomes. Students developed the capacity to build the key historical skill of empathy. Engagement and connectedness to content were increased as well as a tangible desire to excel in their work. This was demonstrated by the high standard of artefacts produced and the attention to detail by students with a wide range of cognitive abilities. The result was an outstanding ‘opening night’ event which attracted local media interest and attendance by over 200 parents, students and former students.

Westfields Sports High School (NSW)

BIOGRAPHY

Adriana graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Education majoring in History and English. She began her teaching career at Granville Boys High School where she used her passion and interest in history to formulate her personal approach to engaging students from diverse cultural backgrounds in learning. For the past twelve years she has taught at Westfields Sports High School in Western Sydney where she now specialises in teaching senior Ancient and Modern History. The basic tenet underpinning Adriana’s teaching philosophy and pedagogy is a belief that all students should be engaged, involved and challenged in all aspects of their learning and be provided with unique life experiences which enhance their knowledge and understanding. Adriana believes that education, particularly the study of Ancient History and Archaeology, is a medium through which students and teachers alike can gain and share personal insights, perspectives and experiences which can help shape individuals and social beings. In keeping with this philosophy, Adriana decided to challenge her Year 11 students to develop their own Tutankhamun Interactive Experience, a museum exhibition of student-made replicas from the Tomb of Tutankhamun which she will present at the symposium.