Why educators should use Ancestry Atlas

Ancestry Atlas is a learning activity aligned to curriculum outcomes similar to these:

  • Reflect on Intercultural experiences
  • Empathize with others
  • Develop Respect for Cultural Diversity
  • Investigate Culture and Cultural Identity

Ancestry Atlas It is part of a suite of Cultural Infusion products designed to develop Intercultural Understanding in students from K-12. In The Australian Government recently added Intercultural Understanding as a General Competency. The Learning Continuum identifies stages of development. UNESCO, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, states that intercultural understanding is an essential part of a quality education if people are to live together peacefully, tolerating and accepting differences amongst cultural and ethnic groups.

The Ancestry Atlas makes learning more about your student population simple. Our website will make it easier for you to create a snapshot into the demographics of your students and their cultural heritage. Ancestry Atlas is a tactful way of reaching out to include the wider community around your school.

Studies have indicated that a whole school approach that involves the wider community is most effective for promoting long-lasting positive changes in Intercultural Understanding. If these attributes are supported at the school, in the community and at home rather than limiting them to time in the classroom then real change can be achieved.”

Ancestry Atlas is a conversation starter. Cultural Infusion educators have been using an offline paper-based version of Ancestry Atlas and find it a fantastic way to start a conversation about cultural diversity. Teachers requested that a digital version be created to simplify the process and make it easier to share the results with other people.

Ancestry Atlas helps schools address bullying and racism. Whilst we want to encourage a healthy pride in our own culture, this can descend into xenophobia and racism based bullying. In a study conducted by Steinbach (2010), a whole-school audit revealed they were creating spatial segregation, which was contributing to an ‘us versus them’ mentality amongst the students (Steinbach, 2010). The first step in facilitating positive change is getting to know one another and Ancestry Atlas facilitates this in a fun and engaging way.

We provide four example Lesson Plans. Your annual subscription comes with free lesson plans on how to use Ancestry Atlas in your classroom. These are step by step instructions that have been tested and refined. We also invite you to email us your ideas and lesson plans. We expect activities to map to cross curriculum objectives for Maths, Geography, Digital Literacies, History, and Social Science.

Ancestry Atlas Curriculum Alignment Notes & ideas

Map and Data Interpretation

1. INSTRUCTION PHASE: Interpreting the Ancestry Atlas data.

Objective: Using a key to the Ancestry Atlas the learner will interpret the data noting numerical information on location and population within a 10% range of the data collected

With so many curriculum points around data collection and interpretation of maps with Grades 3-5 it is pertinent to include some instruction on how the design of the Ancestry Atlas; how the data is collected and how to interpret or read the resulting AA image. We can provide a “making of” video that walks the student through how it was designed and instruction on how to interpret the legend or key to the map image.

If classes exchange their images then they can compare data sets and attempt to make predictions for how the graphs, map image etc. will look once the classes combine their data for a whole school exercise.


Location and population: the connection between the widening circles and the number of respondents for that location
Bar graphs: the numerical connection between the height of the bar graphs and the number of respondents


In this phase, students can engage in self-reflection and discussion as well as pursuing opportunities to exchange Ancestry Atlas images with other schools with other Australian or International Schools.

Resources needed:

  • Repurposing of some of our anti-bullying curriculum and ICAP activities for learning about oneself, such as “what is in a name” and so forth.
  • Lesson on ethnicity versus nation versus nationality, there are a number of historical map resources and map images showing the difference between national borders and ethnic territories that can be used.
  • Information about what diversity does for a community

Potential partners to share and compare infographs:

  • Asia Education Foundation (Asialink)
  • Flat Connections
  • Inviting classes on the highly active “Connected Classrooms” Google+ social media group
  • Promoting to #globaledchat on twitter (Thursdays 5pm PST)
  • Inviting graduates of the Global Competence Certificate through World Savvy

Example discussion questions:
How diverse is our community?
How many of us (the students) were born in the same city or country?
How many of us (the students) were born in different cities or countries?
How many of our parents were born in the same or different cities or countries?
How many of our grandparents were born in the same or different cities or countries?
What things do we all do the same or differently? (food, celebrations, holidays, living situation such as whole family together, family spread apart etc. this will require some activity sheets or guides)
What about yourself or your family do you feel most proud to share?
Is there anything about your family or background you feel nervous or shy about sharing?
Do you worry about feeling “different” to your classmates?
What information wasn’t included in Ancestry Atlas that we would like to discover more about?
Are all of the country borders the same now as when your grandparents were born?
Are any of your parents or grandparents from places that have changed a great deal? (For example borders have shifted around the former USSR or East and West Germany. Also Czechoslovakia became Czech Republic and Slovakia or Singapore separated from Malaysia)

Multimedia displays featuring photos, video and stories about your family history


Students record information about themselves, their families and their community and select ways to display and share it.


  • How our city/suburb/town has changed: constructing a timeline beginning with what they can discover about the original Aboriginal inhabitants of the region through to now, including the arrival of members of their family.
  • Create a multimedia presentation (photos, video, stories etc.) of their family. Where relevant it can include a map showing their journey to new places if they have moved.
  • Important aspects they feel should have been included in Ancestry Atlas can be captured and then the design of a method for recording and displaying data can be developed and shared.
  • If working with an international partner school then the 21st Century Pen Pal activity can be done.

    Resources needed:
    · Multimedia instruction for example, how to create a page or blog and host media on Google Apps