Royal Society for Questions & Curiosity – activity

Use this activity in conjunction with the Royal Society for Questions & Curiosity video to take a virtual tour of  the State Library of Victoria, and develop skills in questioning and critical thinking.

This activity is targeted at students in Year 2. It is not linked to a particular inquiry unit, and can be used as a pre-visit activity in conjunction with the useful links page associated with this activity. The online resources on this page are appropriate for students of any age.

Tuning in

  • Watch the five-minute Royal Society for Questions & Curiosity video as a class.
  • Inquire if any of your students have visited the State Library of Victoria in person.
  • Ask students to recall features of the Library seen in the video, then list these on the board.
  • As a class, group these features into categories that broadly explain what the Library offers to the public (for example collection items, facilities, or services).


  • Explain to students that the State Library of Victoria and its website is for all Victorians, and you will now be exploring more information about the Library through its website.
  • Ask students to consider the history of the Library, including the original building and its founder, Sir Redmond Barry.
  • Tell students that one of the Library's most significant spaces is the La Trobe Reading Room (also known as the dome). Point out that Dimity and Reginald were seen standing on the dome's roof in the video. The dome was built in 1913; ask students what special birthday they think the dome might celebrate in 2013.
  • Ask students what function they think librarians serve at the Library. Explain that although you can join the Library, you can't borrow books as it is not a lending library. Ask students if any are members of their local public library – they can borrow books there!
  • Look at the items students recalled from the video that fit into the category of 'collection items'. Explore the various collections that Dimity and Reginald saw, including Genealogy and Newspapers, and the two exhibitions in the Dome Galleries, Mirror of the world and The changing face of Victoria
  • Although Reginald and Dimity didn't see our Will Alma collection of magic and conjuring items, your students will be fascinated to watch this short two-minute video showcasing this special collection.
  • Visit the Library website to take a closer look at collection items that Dimity and Reginald saw in the video – these include precious medieval manuscripts, Ned Kelly’s armour, the remarkable Midget Library, John James Audubon's Birds of America, hair from Burke and Wills' camels, a lady's mourning brooch made from pioneer Anne Drysdale's hair, and an early painting of Melbourne. Consider displaying these to the class on a SMART board or data projector.
  • Prompt students to reflect on how the Library's physical building and services to the public have changed over time. For example, the building's former courtyard spaces have now been enclosed and act as additional rooms and venues.


  • In small groups, ask students to consider the Library categories identified in the 'Tuning in' activity.
  • Identify some of the questions that Dimity and Reginald asked in the video (for example 'Can we go in? Is it haunted? How do we find what we’re looking for? Who wore that?') and brainstorm how these relate to the different categories. Ask students to come up with their own open-ended questions to add to the list.
  • Ask students to think about what makes a good question. In the video, why did Dimity say that you need to select the correct question before you can find what you're looking for?

Going further

  • Plan a visit to the Library with your students. Ask students to prepare questions and challenge them to find answers during their visit.
  • Start your own Society for Questions and Curiosity and compile a list of questions that can be answered in the classroom during the year.
  • Assist students to create their own video in the vein of Society for Questions and Curiosity, using Windows Movie Maker, iMovieYoutube video editor (read more about this on the Bright Ideas blog), or similar software.

More to explore