Explore 2021 Theme

Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever

In 2021 we invite schools to be inspired by and engage with this year’s theme: Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever

For more than 60,000 years First Nations People have looked up at the sky, to understand the world around them. Using their observations of the stars, planets, Moon, Sun and the atmosphere to predict weather changes & tides, to navigate on land & water and to plan food gathering, hunting, trading, ceremony as well as pass down stories through the generations.

Looking up and reading the skies was, and still is, an important way to understand, interact with and develop connection to Country and know our place in the universe. The skies are also a source of magic, mystery and meaning told through dreaming stories of the creation of the sun and moon. Sharing stories under the stars is also a way of passing on Aboriginal lore to children, about family, traditions, culture and history.

Although ancient ancestors did not have telescopes, they had bright skies, an inquisitive spirit and possessed a deep understanding of the cyclic motions of nature and the objects in the sky. Their knowledge, as we are now coming to understand through their careful recording in rock engravings, rock paintings and the alignment of lithic markers, was critical to survival and played a prominent role in culture.

We want to celebrate the knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their relationships with the sky. To do this we invite you to explore our skies and discover this ancient knowledge and share your interpretations and ideas using art and writing.

By exploring the theme Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever, students will:

  • Learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relationships with the sky.
  • Learn about the diversity of expert First Nations knowledge, ways to observe the sky, understanding the importance to culture and how this knowledge aids survival.
  • Be inspired to look up and pass on knowledge in their communities.
  • Participate in learning activities that explore seasonal calendars and foods, navigation, stories of the sky, ancient science, constellations, and ancient observations in art recorded by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for thousands of years.

These lesson plans, activities and additional resources allow schools to learn from First Nations people knowledge of the sky and offer schools opportunities to participate in the wonder and discovery in their local community.

In 2021, we encourage all schools participating in the Schools Reconciliation Challenge to engage with the lesson plans, activities and additional resources we have gathered for this year’s challenge to inspire your students to draw, paint and write about their new knowledge and understanding of living together Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever.

Under One Sky Brainstorming Questions

Activity: Getting started with the theme: Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever

  • What does the 2021 SRC theme and artwork mean to you and why?
  • What stands out for you?
  • What do you notice about the colours and design of the images, and why do you think the artists made those choices?
  • What do the words Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever mean to you, and why?
  • Consider what Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever feels like, sounds like, looks like for you?
  • What are your experiences of viewing both the day and night skies?
  • What are the benefits of understanding the sky?

Reconciliation and the theme

  • What does reconciliation mean to you?
  • Why do you think it is important to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples languages, cultures, knowledge and perspectives?
  • How does listening to, learning from and honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of understanding the sky support reconciliation processes?
  • Why is reconciliation important?

Activity for Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever and Reconciliation Mind Map

  • Create a mind map (a picture with words, drawings and images) that explores what you think of, or feel, when engaging with the theme Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever.
  • You can draw pictures, write words, create a collage or combine these all together to create your mind map.
  • You are welcome to share and discuss your mind map with your friends, teachers and families and with us by emailing your mind map to schools@reconciliationnsw.org.au
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Many of these resources and activities have been developed in consultation with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to ensure that the program meets NSW curriculum outcomes for Stages 3, 4 & 5.