Causes and effects of changes to the welfare system

SubjectHistory YearYear 10 Time150

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Students explore the concept of cause and effect by identifying possible causes and effects of changes to the welfare system in the period between the Great Depression and the present day. They write a bibliography listing the primary and secondary sources they consulted and develop an evidenced based explanation of the causes and effects of changes to Australia’s welfare system.  

Australian Curriculum or Syllabus

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 10, students refer to key events, the actions of individuals and groups, and beliefs and values to explain patterns of change and continuity over time. They analyse the causes and effects of events and developments and explain their relative importance. They explain the context for people’s actions in the past. Students explain the significance of events and developments from a range of perspectives. They explain different interpretations of the past and recognise the evidence used to support these interpretations.

Students sequence events and developments within a chronological framework and identify relationships between events across different places and periods of time. When researching, students develop, evaluate and modify questions to frame a historical inquiry. They process, analyse and synthesise information from a range of primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence to answer inquiry questions. Students analyse sources to identify motivations, values and attitudes. When evaluating these sources, they analyse and draw conclusions about their usefulness, taking into account their origin, purpose and context. They develop and justify their own interpretations about the past. Students develop texts, particularly explanations and discussions, incorporating historical argument. In developing these texts and organising and presenting their arguments, they use historical terms and concepts, evidence identified in sources, and they reference these sources.

Content descriptions

Historical Knowledge and Understanding

the inter-war years between World War I and World War II, including the Treaty of Versailles, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression (ACOKFH018).

The impact of World War II, with a particular emphasis on the Australian home front, including the changing roles of women and use of wartime government controls (conscription, manpower controls, rationing and censorship) (ACDSEH109).

Historical Skills

Identify and select different kinds of questions about the past to inform historical inquiry (ACHHS184).

Use historical terms and concepts (ACHHS183).

Evaluate and enhance these questions (ACHHS185).

Process and synthesise information from a range of sources for use as evidence in an historical argument (ACHHS188).

Identify and analyse different historical interpretations (including their own) (ACHHS191).

Develop texts, particularly descriptions and discussions that use evidence from a range of sources that are referenced (ACHHS192).

Select and use a range of communication forms (oral, graphic, written) and digital technologies (ACHHS193).

Teacher resources

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Writing paragraphs in History

Student learning resources

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The making of a welfare state


Sources recording table

How to

Writing a bibliography in History


Bibliography example for History

How to

Writing paragraphs in History

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Suggested activity sequence

This sequence is intended as a framework to be modified and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of a class group.

Part A: Identifying cause and effect

  1. Use a grouping strategy to organise students into groups of 4.
  2. Give each group a set of sources.
  3. Groups refer to these sources to:
    • identify sources that demonstrate either a cause of changes to the welfare system, or effects of changes to the welfare system
    • sort these sources into causes and effects
    • discuss why changes to the welfare system may have happened (causes)
    • discuss the consequences of changes to the welfare system and indicate whether these effects were intended or unintended.
    • Groups read sources W and X and compare welfare payments that now exist with those that existed before World War II. Ask:
    • What differences exist?
    • What has changed in relation to Australia’s provision of welfare since World War II?
  4. Discuss findings with the class and record responses on the board under the headings ‘Causes’ and ‘Effects’.
  5. If applicable, invite students to revisit their initial or revised hypothesis. If it is no longer supported by evidence, have them generate a new hypothesis.

Part B: Writing an evidence-based historical explanation

  1. Students develop a bibliography that lists the sources they organised into causes and effects. They will need:
  2. Explicitly teach how paragraphs are structured using Writing paragraphs in History – Visualiser and/or refer them to Writing paragraphs in History – Model.
  3. Students write 1-2 paragraphs explaining the causes and effects of changes to welfare in Australia, using evidence from the sources they identified.