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ANZAC Day Research Relay

Updated: Mar 18

Held annually on April 25th ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance for those who have served in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. Services are held to honour those who helped and continue to help keep Australia a free nation. This activity does not take anything away from the solemnity that is ANZAC Day but provides a fun method for ensuring students know why they attend ANZAC Day services.


This activity is designed to be conducted with Year 5 or 6 students in the lead up to ANZAC Day and could be used as a stand-alone lesson or as an introduction or culmination to the ANZAC Day unit in the Teaching Resources Section of Learn From Play. It is designed to make researching fun for students while also fostering the ANZAC spirit of working together, fighting to win and not giving up in the face of adversity.

For this activity you will need a selection of non-fiction ANZAC Day texts and encyclopaedias or access to at least one computer per group with internet access, pens or pencils, paper and a method for recording team’s scores such as a white board and marker. Groups should ideally include 3 students to make sure everyone is contributing with questions differentiated as required to meet your student’s needs.

How To Play

Students sit in their small groups and are provided with a starting question such as “On What Day Is ANZAC Day Commemorated”. They must record the answer and one member of the group must race the answer to you to be checked. If they are correct, they place their initials against their team’s name on the board and collect their next question. This could be something like “What is the difference between the terms ‘celebrate’ and ‘commemorate’.

The questions are designed to allow students to find the information you would like them to learn about ANZAC Day without the need for a standardised comprehension worksheet. It is also about referencing where information is found and rewriting information to ensure understanding rather than rote copying. To ensure this is happening students can be questioned when they bring you each answer to make sure they understand what has been written. This individual assessment in real time will also save you hours of marking of repetitive comprehensions later in the day.

Some Possible Questions (and Answers) – How Many Could You Answer?

Who is Canon David John Garland and what did he do?

Cannon David John Garland is credited with creating the framework for non-denominational commemorative services to be held across the National on April 25th and endorsed the naming of it ANZAC Day. He is also responsible for initiating the Anzac Day march, the wreath-laying ceremonies at memorials and the special church services, the one minute silence and the luncheon for returned soldiers.

Why do we observe a minute of silence on ANZAC Day?

The 1 minute of silence in included in the service to remove the chance for any single religion to overshadow the day but rather people are offered 1 minute to pray silently in accordance with their own beliefs.

Why is ANZAC Day celebrated on April 25th?

April 25th, 1915, was the day Australian and New Zealand Troops first arrived in Gallipoli to capture Constantinople (now Istanbul) the capital of the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey). Great losses were sustained and over the next 8 months 8,709 Australians and 2,721 New Zealanders are recorded as having died at Gallipoli.

The ANZAC Day march has been cancelled only twice in 105 years and both times for the same reason. When was the march cancelled and for what reason?

In both 1919 and 2020 the ANZAC Day march was cancelled due to influenza pandemic. In 1919 ANZAC Day was not a public holiday and the parade held in Sydney was organised primarily by The Centre for Soldiers’ Wives and Mothers to remember lost soldiers. Due to almost 1000 deaths from the flu pandemic the parade was rescheduled to May 22 but was met with teaming rain and the final assembly, previously held in the Domain, was diverted to Town Hall.

In 2020 the parade was again cancelled due to pandemic. The difference this time was that a national holiday and technology allowed people to watch the service from Canberra in the safety of their own homes. Many people also took part in a dawn service by holding candles and poppies in their driveway as a sign of respect and posted videos of themselves reciting the ode to media channels such as Facebook or What’s App.

When was ANZAC Day first held as a national holiday and why?

All Australian states observed a public holiday for ANZAC Day in 1927. Returned service men and women saw it as a day to catch up and keep in contact and by the 1930s rituals such as the dawn service, marches, memorials and local wreath laying were part of the day.

There are many other questions you could ask your students to shape their understanding of ANZAC Day and teach them how to find reputable information sources online other than Wikipedia. If you have some other questions you asked your students and the answers please share them in the comments section at the bottom of the page.


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