Pupils from St Andrew's Primary School, Marayong were treated to a recent lesson from the past at Rouse Hill House and Farm.
Nowhere was the difference between today's learners and their predecessors more apparent than on the nature lesson, a combination of science and art delivered 19th century-style.
For the lesson, pupils look for rabbit holes outdoors and carefully draw the dead animals preserved in jars of methylated spirits that sit on a table in the corner of the property's restored old school house, built in 1888.
These include plover chicks, baby Port Jackson sharks, tapeworms, and shark, emu and quail eggs. The skin shed by a brown snake is also kept on the nature table.
Co-ordinator of learning Fabienne Virago said children were now more likely to go to a zoo or to do a web search to find out about the natural world.
"In the 19th century the only effective way to learn about the natural world was through direct contact," she said.
"To pass a jar of dead snakes around is probably not what you would do in a classroom today because there are hundreds of other ways that children can learn.
"Today they can look at a computer, go to the zoo, hold a video conference."
Curriculum program deliverer Rebecca Wood is known to pupils who take the Lessons from the Past education program as Miss Fox.
She said texture, colour and shape were talked about when examining the specimens.
"We'll talk about what nature is . . . then I will take out specimens one-by-one and we will draw each one individually," Ms Wood said.
Year 3 pupil Rebekah Oreskovic, 9, noticed many differences between a 19th century classroom and her current one.
"We learned it was very strict back then because they whip your hand with a stick if you do something wrong," Rebekah said.
Past and present
Lessons from the past gives primary school pupils a taste of what school life was like for a child in colonial times. Pupils don hats, aprons and aliases before they march to the classroom for role-play, maths, spelling and sewing lessons, and an outdoor drill and games in the yard. The program covers curriculum areas including Human Society and Its’ Environment (HSIE), Science, and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE).