Here are some example activities you could use within your lesson sequences.
With the class’ attention, the lesson should begin with creating a “mind map” of the concept of conscription.
Questions that can be asked to help prompt discussion;
- What is conscription?
- Why did conscription become a topic for discussion during 1916 and 1917?
- What is a plebiscite
- Why were people for/against it?
- How would like affect people’s lives?
Explain to students the nature of conscription, if they have not come across it within their studies.
Activity 2 - The Blood Votes
The Blood Votes is a dramatic reinactment of the conscription debates. It is highly influenced by historical research and a viewing of the play would engage students on conscription, specifically highlighting how some of the debates would act out.
Students would watch the play and throughout write down any themes, groups and/or people that stood out. They will be asked to present what they found and discuss as a group, sharing ideas.
If time does not allow for a viewing of the play, sample sections of the script can be used by students to complete this activity - important sections that highlight the various themes within this era.
Activity 3 - Voices of the Past
The conscription debate was a highly complex and emotional issue. Prime Minister Hughs had expected his compulsory conscription to be enthusiastically endorsed. However, there was opposition within the Australian community, which included unionists within the labor movement, peace activists, the catholic church and lastly QLD Labor Premier T.J Ryan. Gender and Age were not obstacles as both sides were attracted to the Conscription Votes to participate in voicing their opinions.
Students will follow this link for their research task;
This link provides an interactive audio experience for students to explore. Students will be encouraged to focus on a particular “voice” which interested them. Students should write a brief summary on why they chose that particular “voice”, what it meant for that person?, why are they for/against? After hearing the voice of the past, would the student vote for or against??
Activity #4 - Conscription Debate
Using their "voice" from the last activity, students formulate groups based on this to debate the issue of conscription. Students will have time to prepare their arguments, assign speakers in order going back and forward and responding to each other. The focus of the activity should be on the students ability to use the reasoning used at the time to debate each other.
Students can use material from; https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/resources/great-debatesconscription-2016 to help facilitate different arguments.
Activity #5 - Propaganda
Students will visit; "https://www.awm.gov.au/learn/schools/resources/sources/conscription"
After viewing various pieces of anti and pro conscription propaganda, students will be assigned a side and then formulate their own propaganda. Their pieces must be founded on actual reasons given by either side, ie. Soldier who wouldnt even wish his worst enemy on the front lines exploring anti conscription.