The Story of Australia

2:30 hrs. Dreamscape. 2017. $24.99. $199.99 (PPR). ISBN 85243007044.
Gr 7 Up—This five-part series can be watched straight through or selectively. Each segment is 20–25 minutes long, making individual episodes a good choice for classroom viewing. An overview of the evolution and history of Australia, the Aboriginal people, geography, nature, and wildlife are covered in the series' kickoff. Another episode deals with farming and ranching, specifically discussing sheep, cattle, wine, timber, and macadamia nuts. Another segment covers mining and mineral extraction. While respect for sacred Native spaces and environmental concerns are mentioned, the scenes of land devastated by surface mining should cause viewers to question conservation and preservation efforts. The fourth episode addresses education: academic rigor, assessment practices, and the number of international students choosing to study there. The final installment deals with the diverse ways of life in Australia, touching on the rich culture of the population and favorite pastimes—cricket, surfing, sailing, and rodeo. High school students making post-secondary plans will find the education episode intriguing and may wish U.S. schools would embrace some of the practices utilized in Australian education.
VERDICT Individual episodes of this film would be useful in social studies, geography, and environmental studies classrooms. The entire film will be of interest to anyone studying Australia in general.

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