Activity: Stage 3 Unit 3 - What are the common values that unite people?

Broad focus for an inquiry: Diversity and difference, culture and society.

Image: Download the activity sheet.


Generative questions

  • Are my values the same or different to others?
  • What do we have in common?
  • Why is it important to have values?
  • What values and beliefs are important for Australians?

Understandings, skills and values

  • Explain how values and beliefs influence the actions of individuals.
  • Recognise that values can change over time.
  • Identify values and beliefs held in our society.
  • Provide examples of significant groups and individuals who have fought for values and beliefs.

Tuning in

What are values and beliefs?

Select some popular songs that explore Australian values. Students listen to the songs and lyrics to identify the values and beliefs expressed. Students work in small groups to analyse a song and discuss the following:

  • Why did the artist write this song?
  • What values are presented in the song?
  • What does this song mean for them?

Suggested resources:

  • My Island Home by Neil Murray.
  • I Am, You Are, We Are Australian by Bruce Woodley.
  • From Little Things, Big Things Grow by Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody.

Finding out

Case study: Significant individuals who have shaped our values

Students research examples of individuals and groups who have fought for values and beliefs. For example, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Edith Cowan, Eddie Mabo, Vincent Lingiari and Dame Edith Lyons.

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they from?
  • Why are they significant?
  • What challenges did they face?
  • How did they influence society?

Sorting out

Promoting diversity

Survey students and staff about areas for improvement within the school that could promote diversity and acceptance for everyone. Students analyse data and provide feedback. Students can choose how they present the information to the wider school community.

Going further

Shared values

Students write a song, create a picture book, or write a story or poem that promotes positive values in a format suitable for a younger class. Students share this with their younger audience.

Concluding and acting

Planning for a positive future

Students extend Australia’s timeline to 2050 and include some positive changes they would like to see in Australian society regarding issues surrounding diversity, such as:

  • the rights of people with a disability
  • the rights of Indigenous people
  • supporting migrants, asylum seekers and refugees
  • gender pay gap
  • racism
  • other issues involving equality, fairness and acceptance of difference.

Information for teachers

The following units of work for Stage 3 provide suggested activities to develop students’ understanding of diversity and appreciation of difference using an inquiry-based framework.

Critical thinking is developed as students evaluate and challenge perspectives including negative stereotypes and cultural and social bias. This unit emphasises shared values, belonging, acceptance and tolerance.

Note: Teachers should consider and be sensitive to the needs of specific students when planning these activities.

The subject matter includes:

  • stereotypes and biases of individuals and groups may not always reflect reality
  • values and beliefs influence the decisions and actions of others
  • how Australia has changed over time and how this has contributed to our diverse society
  • how values and attitudes have changed over time
  • exploring commonly held values such as respect, fairness and equality
  • how identity is shaped by many factors such as, family, cultural influences, gender and background.

The units can be used to support the following syllabus areas and suggested outcomes:

  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education
  • Human Society and its Environment
  • English

GE3-2 Explains interactions and connections between people, places and environments.

HT3-2 Describes and explains different experiences of people living in Australia over time.

HT3-3 Identifies change and continuity and describes the causes and effects of change on Australia.

IRS3.11 Describes roles and responsibilities in developing and maintaining positive relationships.

INS3.3 Acts in ways that enhance the contribution of self and others in a range of cooperative situations.

GDS3.9 Explains and demonstrates strategies for dealing with life changes.

V1 Refers to a sense of their own worth and dignity.

V2 Respects the right of others to hold different values and attitudes from their own.

V3 Enjoys a sense of belonging.

EN3-1A Communicates effectively for a variety of audiences and purposes using increasingly challenging topics, ideas, issues and language forms and features.

EN3-2A Composes, edits and presents well-structured and coherent texts.

EN3-3A Uses an integrated range of skills, strategies and knowledge to read, view and comprehend a wide range of texts in different media and technologies.

EN3-5B Discusses how language is used to achieve a wide range of purposes for a wide range of audiences and contexts.

EN3-11D Identifies and considers how different viewpoints of their world, including aspects of culture, are represented in texts.

Assessment for learning

Establish current student understanding using strategies such as retrieval charts, word banks, mind maps and class discussions.

Assessment as learning

Students will:

  • Write a newspaper report to explain how stereotypes impact on themselves and/or on wider society.
  • Define key terms and give examples of stereotype, migration, migrant, refugee, asylum seeker, racism, gender, diversity and values.
  • Research stories and describe the contribution the migration of individuals and groups has made to Australian society.

Assessment of learning

Students will:

  • Create an advertisement that challenges negative stereotypes and/or biases.
  • Outline a plan to support a new, non-English speaking student or group of students around the school.
  • Write a song, create a picture book, write a story or write a poem that promotes positive values suitable for younger audiences.
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