Huia beak brooch: 'I just didn't think!'
- Key Competencies
- Resource I: Background Facts
- Resource G: George Sunderland's letter
- Resource E: The Second Diary Entry
- Resource C: George Sunderland's photograph of the brooch. Huia beak brooch, c. 1900
- Resource J: Excerpt from 'The Survivor' by David Hill (pp. 45-47)
- Resource D: The First Diary Entry
- Resource B: Richard Sunderland's Letter to the Museum
- Key Competencies: Peer/Group Evaluation: Managing Self
- Key Competencies: Self Evaluation: Participating and Contributing
- Key Competencies: Peer/Group Evaluation: Relating to Others
- Key Competencies: Self Evaluation: Managing Self
- Key Competencies: Self Evaluation: Relating to Others
- Key Competencies: Peer/Group Evaluation: Participating and Contributing
Writer: Trevor Sharp
Duration: 5 - 7 lessons
The students will use the Te Papa digital resource, Huia beak brooch, c.1900, in order to explore the subject of conservation of nature. The focus will be on the individual responsibility we all have for the depletion of our natural resources. They will use drama to create a fictitious situation where a person in the past is forced to face up to her small part in causing the extinction of a species.
This is a gold-mounted brooch with chain, made from the beak of a female huia ('Heteralocha acutirostris'), a bird native to New Zealand that became extinct in 1907. There is an engraved floral design on the gold mount. At the proximal end of the beak (the end that attached to the bird), there is a scroll and ball ornamentation with '15 C' stamped near the scrollwork. The chain attaches in two pieces between the three sections of gold mount. The brooch measures 11.3 cm long x 1.5 cm wide.
Source Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
This asset serves as a reminder of an extinct species that was found only in the North Island of New Zealand. The huia was one of the most ancient New Zealand birds. Only the moa and kiwi are thought to be older. The brooch is an item considered tapu (sacred) by Māori. To wear a beak as ornamentation was a great honour and one bestowed only on rangatira (chiefs). It suggests the effect of European fashion on New Zealand's natural environment. Although huia were held sacred by Māori and only worn by rangatira, European women in the late 19th century wore the feathers and beaks, such as this brooch, as fashionable costume jewellery. this fashion created a strong demand for the birds, leading to a steep decline in bird numbers and their eventual extinction in 1907. The brooch is a decorated example of the huia's most remarkable feature. This beak must have belonged to a female huia, as the male has a markedly different beak style (short and stout as opposed to long, slender and curved). No other bird is known to have such a marked distinction in beaks within its own species.
Ecological sustainability: The students will explore the way in which responsibility for ecological sustainability ultimately devolves to the responsibility of each and every individual. They will examine how conservation has always been an issue in history.
Inquiry and Curiosity: The students will explore motivations for the actions of others and how we might be more sensitive to what is happening around us.
Thinking: The students will create through drama a possible scenario, grounded in data from New Zealand's past, involving one individual's realisation of personal responsibility for the environment. They will explore the analogies of this with the present and future situations.
Using language, symbols, and texts: The students will practise creatively inferring information from documents to create a possible cohesive explanation. They will also improve their skills in creating and reading tableaux as well as their reporting skills by writing in role.
Managing self: The students will learn how to manage themselves and set high standards in devising and refining dramas in group situations. They will need to develop strategies for solving problems and the skill of knowing when to lead and when to follow.
Relating to others: The students will interact with others in developing and performing a variety of fictional roles. They will work extensively in ensemble situations to create drama.
Participating and contributing: The students will participate in a number of role plays where the success of the activity depends on the quality of their contribution. They will also participate in a range of group-based drama activities.
Cross Curriculum Links
Social Studies, Visual Arts, English, Education for Sustainability
Achievement Objectives: Level 3
The students will:
Developing Practical Knowledge (PK)
Use techniques and relevant technologies to explore drama elements and conventions.
Developing Ideas (DI)
Initiate and develop ideas with others to create drama.
Communicating and Interpreting (CI)
Present and respond to drama, identifying ways in which elements, techniques, conventions, and technologies combine to create meaning in their own and others' work.
Specific Learning Outcomes
The student can:
1 copy of card ( 61 KB) (Products and Sources Cards) on card and laminated if possible.
1 copy of Resource B (Letter to Curator from Richard Sunderland).
1 copy of Resource D (Hilda's First Diary Entry) preferably hand written and torn out of a book. There need to be also 7 to 10 photocopies of the resource for students to examine in small groups.
1 copy of Resource E (Hilda's Second Diary Entry) preferably hand written and torn out of a book. There need to be also 7 to 10 photocopies of the resource for students to examine in small groups.
1 copy of F ( 24 KB) (Invoice for Brooch) preferably made to look aged. There need to be also 7 to 10 photocopies of the resource for students to examine in small groups.
1 copy of Resource G (George Sunderland's Letter) preferably hand written. There need to be also 7 to 10 photocopies of the resource for students to examine in small groups.
1 copy of The students sit gathered around behind the chair that represents the friend ( 26 KB) (Chair arrangement for shared role) for teacher information.
1 copy of Resource I (Historical Facts) on card and laminated if possible.
A copy of Resource J (Extract from Survivor by David Hill) for each member of the class.
hot seating: a process convention in which class members question or interview someone who is in role to bring out additional information, ideas, and attitudes about the role.
mantle of the expert: a process convention in which the participants become characters endowed with specialist knowledge relevant to the situation of the drama. The situation is usually task-oriented so that expert knowledge or understanding are required to perform the task.
reflection circle: a process convention in which students stand in a circle and, one at a time, contribute a sentence reflecting on the drama work.
shared role: a process convention where a group of students all contribute to the one role which can be represented by a vacant chair. In some instances one of the students may speak for the role but take advice from the others about what to say.
tableau (freeze frame): a convention used in performance and process drama in which a person or the members of a group use their bodies to make an image capturing an idea, theme, or moment in time.
thought tapping: a process convention in which the action freezes and a leader moves among the participants, tapping individual's shoulders to activate the speaking aloud of the thoughts of that role.
time press: a simple strategy for creating tension where the TIR puts some sort of time limitation on the role play from within the action. An example would be having to leave to catch a plane at a specific time.
TIR(teacher in role): a process convention and teaching strategy where the teacher manages a class from within a drama by taking a role to deepen and extend students' inquiry and learning.
writing in role: a convention that involves writing as the character, using the character's voice to express thoughts and/or feelings about a situation.
The Big Question
|Learning Experiences||Teaching Notes|
Hand out cards in Resource A ( 43 KB) randomly, one to each student. Half of the students will have a card with a valued product on it. Half will have the natural source of that product. The task is for each of the products to find its source. When the pairs have been formed, the students work out a statement about the effect the product is having on or did have on its source and what the situation is today. The class listens to each pair and supplies any information that they have in discussion after each report.
2. The Pretext
SIR (Students In Role) Experts on New Zealand art history.
Firstly, out of role, the teacher negotiates the roles with the students by discussion. Questions might include:
The teacher asks further questions out of role:
At this point go back into role to do the questioning. When this has run sufficient time, TIR says:
An in-role negotiation continues. Through questioning, the teacher establishes some tasks the experts need to undertake in order to discover more about issues surrounding the brooch.
Possible suggestions should include:
These all involve further contact with Richard Sunderland.
These questions can be discussed in pairs and then reported back in class discussion.
Key Competency: Remind students that thinking is an important part of learning where they are drawing on personal knowledge and intuitions, asking questions and challenging assumptions.
There needs to be a clear signal of when the class is working in role and when not. It can be simply that when the teacher is seated, he/she and all the students are in role. If he/she stands then the role play is paused. If preferred, the teacher could have a prop or piece of costume that can be used as a signal for when proceedings are in or out of role.
It is also important that students have a way of calling 'time out' from the role play.
The teacher may wish to use some of the Self or Peer/Group evaluation templates in
Appendices 2 - 7
in order to evaluate student progress in relevant Key Competencies here.
3. Rising Action - Hot Seating TIR
The teacher tells the class he/she has managed to bring in Mr Sunderland to talk to the group of art historians.
The teacher sets up the situation so that the curator cannot be present for the discussion with Richard Sunderland. The excuse can be a busy work schedule and a double booking.
TIR as Richard Sunderland allows him/herself to be interviewed about the brooch.
"Oh, by the way I remembered this from my grandfather's papers. Never had any clue what it was all about, but maybe it has some relevance. I don't really know, but maybe you people can sort it out."
Again, Richard knows no more than what is stated in the letter from his great grandfather.
The teacher leaves as Richard Sunderland and returns in the role of the curator to:
Such out of role preparation for in role episodes can be invaluable in raising the quality and therefore the sense of satisfaction in the experience.
Resources: For the role, the teacher needs to have copies of Resources D ( 27 KB) , E ( 27 KB) and F ( 26 KB) . These are the other papers found with the brooch in the chest in the attic. For the sake of authenticity, it is desirable that the diary pages be written out by hand and torn down one edge as if they were ripped from a book (the diary). The paper could possibly be aged as well.
It will be useful to put a time press on the interview to help provide some tension to this part of the drama. The easiest way to do this is for Richard to have another appointment or a plane to catch.
The role change can be enhanced by the teacher's having some item of costume that identifies him/her as the curator. It could be a scarf, a tie, a white lab coat, a clipboard.
It could be possible to reflect on any changes in aspects of the Key Competencies here.
4. What did happen?
After whole class examination of the documents and discussion of possible interpretations of events, students, as a whole class, are asked to:
The teacher (TIR as curator) could have photocopies of the documents run off to assist the group's examination of them.
5. Filling in the Background: Shared Role and TIR as Enabler
The scene is set for a causal meeting between two friends. It could be a coffee bar - perhaps a chair either side of a desk representing a small table.
TIR is the curator and the class share the role of the friend who is represented by the other chair. The friend is an expert on social history with special expertise in New Zealand history at the very end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth.
In order to assist the students to assume the mantle of the expert in this conversation, they are each issued with a card containing a relevant piece of information coming from the period. (Each student should have a card even if there are some students with the same information on their cards.)
The students sit gathered around behind the chair that represents the friend ( 29 KB) . The name of the friend should be decided by the students.
Students, using the information on their cards, provide the conversation for the friend. They can answer when it seems appropriate - especially when the information on their card fits into the discussion appropriately.
The role play begins when the teacher sits and might go like this:
"Hi, _________. It's fabulous to find the time to have coffee today. Nice to relax for a bit, isn't it? How are things going with you?"
Wait for reply.
"Actually, I have an ulterior motive for wanting to meet with you today. We've had this intriguing puzzle come up at the museum. Had a letter from this bloke who found a huia brooch in the attic. Apparently belonged to his great grandmother who, it seems was pretty proud of it. Then, in 1903, she went to Palmerston North for a visit and something happened there that meant she never wore the brooch again. Put it away in a box along with any diary entries referring to it. Very weird! Hoped you might know something that could give us a clue.
Wait for a reply and then ask for explanation and try to take the students through all the information by asking the right questions.
The teacher finishes the discussion by saying he/she has to return to work (or some other reason) and thanks the friend for his/her assistance.
A. Thinking about the role play. Begin with a reflection circle and use ideas from that for a class discussion of what worked and what didn't. Important questions are:
These questions can be discussed in pairs and then reported back in class discussion.
B. Thinking about what has been learned that might give some clues as to what occurred in Palmerston North to so upset Hilda Sunderland on 22 October, 1903.
The status of the TIR role here means that it is more difficult to manage the class from within the role than with a high status role. There needs to be a system whereby anyone can stop the role play while some point of order is sorted out. The easiest is that anyone who wants to call 'time out' simply stands up and the role play stops. The teacher, when the role play is ready to go again, will decide at which point it starts.
The job of the teacher is to manage the conversation and elicit the material from the students in their role.
(See Assessment .)
Some of the templates covering the Key Competencies could be revisited here. See Appendices 2 - 7 .
6. What did happen to Hilda
The class works in groups of 4 - 5 to create a tableau of the point of highest tension in the incident that so upset Hilda that day.
They should take turns to come out of their role in the tableau in order to direct the rest of the group helping to make the freeze clearer and to improve it technically and aesthetically.
When groups are satisfied they have developed their tableaux as much as they are able, view each in turn.
As the students work, the teacher coaches on aspects of focus, grouping, balance, awareness of audience, portrayal of arrested movement, and details of hands, feet, facial expression.
Things to examine include body language, groupings, focus, levels, tension, awareness of audience.
Use the following structure. The student asking must begin with the name of the student being asked the question and then put the question. There are to be no questions to the group generally.
It is fun if the teacher makes tape recorder noises to pause, rewind and start the imaginary VCR.
7. Conclusion: Writing in Role
TIRbeginning to students in role as art historians again.
"Thank you for your work on the Sunderland query. I think we can now give Mr Sunderland some ideas about the significance of his find. I would like you to write to him to tell him what we have found out and what might have happened."
(See Assessment )
8. Reflection: Out of role class discussion.
"There is a New Zealand playwright who has created a very unusual but intriguing scenario for the future. His name is David Hill and he has written a one act play called Survivor.
"We are going split into three (or four) groups to produce a short extract from the play for each other. It will be interesting to see how each group interprets the text.
"Although the section has seven characters, if there are more or fewer people in your group, you can easily split or double up on roles so that everyone is involved.
"There is no need for elaborate props or costume. The set can be fashioned from furniture in the room. The emphasis is on what you make of the words and how you bring them to life.
"The question is: What is the survivor?"
Key Competency: thinking.
Extract from Survivor by David Hill (originally published in Get In The Act by Heinemann, 1985 - now Out of Print). Full script and performance rights available from Playmarket .
Playmarket also holds the rights for public performance. It is a very reasonable rate.
How fully the extract or whole play is produced depends on the teacher's programme and the abilities and interest of the students. Suffice it to say that the preceding drama provides a valuable introduction to the play's conservation message.
(See Assessment )
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