Mungo man poster

Year 8 students were asked to make a mathematical representation of Australian Aboriginal settlement. This student chose to make a timeline, using lengths on a streamer to show the time elapsed.

The text of the poster is included below.

Assessment of this student’s explanation could conclude that it demonstrated excellent reasoning about:

  • how to calculate, compare and visually model the difference in times
  • scale and proportion, even though these words were not used
  • sensible conversion of metric units (e.g. mm, cm and m).
Student work; picture of human bones; text; length of paper streamer, predominantly white with a thin strip of black.

Mungo Man poster.
Source: © 2012

Mungo Man was named after the dry lake where his bones were found in Lake Mungo NSW. They have been dated to older than 40,000 years. Some scientists think the bones are much older than that, perhaps 60,000 or even 80,000 years.

White settlers arrived in Australia in 1788 and have been in Australia for 224 years.

To compare white occupancy with Aboriginal occupancy I made a streamer.
First I tried 1 mm = 10 years but the streamer roll was not long enough. So I made each mm of streamer equal 100 years.

On the streamer, Aboriginal settlement is the white part (400 mm) and white settlement is the black part (2.24 mm).

I was surprised that white settlement is very short in Aboriginal history.

Curriculum links

Year 9: Investigate very small and very large time scales and intervals

Year 6: Convert between common metric units of length, mass and capacity

Year 3: Identify questions or issues for categorical variables. Identify data sources and plan methods of data collection and recording

Year 4: Construct suitable data displays, with and without the use of digital technologies, from given or collected data. Include tables, column graphs and picture graphs where one picture can represent many data values

Year 5: Describe and interpret different data sets in context

Year 5: Construct displays, including column graphs, dot plots and tables, appropriate for data type, with and without the use of digital technologies

Year 7: Identify and investigate issues involving numerical data collected from primary and secondary sources