education week 2022

Explore education across the Torquay district

Using the Step Back In Time WebQuest below, we will celebrate150 years of public education by exploring the typical school and its classroom over the last two centuries.

Using websites as resources, students will learn about the various types of school buildings, activities and classroom learning,

A worksheet will have questions to guide and focus the student’s explorations.

These tasks can be done in a computer lab, in class using mobile devices like tablets or laptops, or assigned as homework. Students can work individually or cooperatively.


Extra Activities

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After working through these websites complete the extra tasks on your worksheet.  Be creative in exploring the information so that you complete your answers as fully and insightfully as you can.

Ink Pens and Ink

Materials – straw, scissors, washable paint or food colouring, water, small bottle or glass, paper, feather (optional)

When children became older and had perfected their ‘script’ handwriting, they could use dipping ink pens and ink. Each child had an inkwell (a small tub of ink) and a pen.

The pens didn’t store the ink. So they had to dip the pen in the inkwell frequently and try not to get blobs of ink on their work. It was not easy!

Make your own ink pen and ink:

  • Take a straw. If it has a bendy bit cut that part off.
  • Cut the end of your straw at an angle to make a point or a nib. Cut a very short slit up from the point – only about 3 mm long. This will hold the ink.
  • If you have a feather you can stick it in the other end of your straw to make it look like a quill.

To make your ink you can use either washable paint or food colouring. If you are using paint add water to a small amount of paint and mix it. It should be very runny. For food colouring fill a small pot with water and add a few drops of food colouring. The more food colouring you add the darker your ink will be.

Using your straw pen:

  • Dip the pointy end into the ink. Tap it on the side of your ink container to get rids of any drops. Then use your pen to draw on some paper. If you wipe your pen on some tissue you could use different colours to create a picture.

Jelly Pad Duplicator

Before photocopiers, teachers reproduced worksheets for their students using a variety of inventive methods. During the 1960s and 1970s purple stencils with their distinctive metho smell from the spirit duplicator were used regularly. The jelly pad (gelatine hectograph) pre-dated this but continued to be used by some teachers up to the 1980s. A carbon stencil (usually purple) was laid onto the surface of the jellypad then removed, leaving the image in the jelly. The pupils’ books could then be laid onto the pad to reproduce the image. Jelly pad recipe.

Try these school yard games

Fly was a game played in the playground using sticks found on the ground and is a great example of ‘making do’.  ‘Fly’ was the leader who ran through sticks laid out like the rungs of a ladder, making a long leap at the end. A stick was moved to the landing spot, creating ever-increasing gaps. ‘Fly’, and the other children got out when they touched a stick or couldn’t make the distances. 


Children used to play a game of Bowling Hoops in which they used a wooden stick to propel a hoop along the ground and keep it upright. Young students visiting the museum try this with a cane hoop and stick as part of their outdoor activities.