Year 5

After completing this Unit of work and associated assessment task, students will have met the achievement standard for the Year 5 Australian Civics and Citizenship Curriculum.

Students
Year 5
Duration
This Unit of work is organised into 4 topics.
Worksheets
4

Inquiry questions

How have individuals and groups in the past and present contributed to the development of Australia?

How have people enacted their values and perceptions about their community, other people and places, past and present?

Topic 1: What is democracy?

Introduction (40 min)

As a class, read through the Democracy fact sheet and summarise the ideas, principles and values of Australia’s democracy into a table like the one below. Display this prominently.

Values and benefits of a democracy

Ideas and principles
Benefits

Active and engaged citizens

Inclusive and equitable society

Free and franchised elections

The rule of law for citizens and the government

Respect for individuals

Tolerance of difference

Equality before the law

Freedoms including speech, association, movement and belief

Respect of individuals

Safe and secure community

Transparent and accountable government

Different views and conflicts can be resolved peacefully

People are free to think, speak and act freely (as long as it does not stop others from doing the same)

Everyone is equal before the law

Hand out WS1 Living in a democracy. In small groups, students complete the worksheet and share their responses with the class.

Democratic decision making (20 min)

Introduce your class to different ways to make decisions using the Explore decision-making Classroom activity. Ask students to describe the different ways they are involved in making decisions at home, in community groups and with sports/hobby/recreation teams. They can discuss:

  • Does the importance of the decision affect whether you could have a say in that decision?
  • Were there any consequences when you contributed to ‘bad’ decisions?
  • What steps did you and others take when making shared decisions?

Topic 2: Laws and regulations

Laws, rules and regulations (25 min)

Laws are the rules made by a government about what community members can and cannot do. Regulations provide extra detail about laws including information on how to implement and enforce them. Laws and regulations make it clear to people what their rights and responsibilities are. Local, state and federal governments make and enforce laws.

Play the Federal, state and local interactive to build student understanding what areas of Australian life each level of government has responsibility for.

In small groups, have students brainstorm a list of laws and regulations in Australia (for example, no littering, speed limits, customs). Ask them to write their responses on sticky notes (one idea per note) and place them in no particular arrangement on a wall or whiteboard.  Bring the group back together and as a class, begin grouping the sticky notes into local/state/federal laws. 

Laws and regulations in Australia

Local government
State government
Federal government

Leash laws for dogs

Parking fines 

Littering laws

Kids must go to school 

Speed limits

Power

Not bringing animals from overseas

Paying tax

Airport safety

Lead a discussion with the class on ‘who enforces these laws/regulations?’

Examples:

  •  ‘Dog stay on leash’ (council ranger)
  •  ‘Speed limits’ (police)
  •  ‘Mail tampering’ (federal police)
  •  ‘Stealing’ (court)

Extension (30 min)

Ask students to research a role in law enforcement or the legal system and find out:

  • Title of the role (for example: judge, park ranger, quarantine officer, police)
  • What level of government the role works in
  • What the role does
  • What laws/regulations it enforces

Scenarios (40 min)

Divide the class into small groups. Distribute WS2 Scenarios. Allocate each group a scenario and ask students to discuss and answer the questions from the worksheet.

Then, as a class discuss:

  • Why do we have laws?
  • What could happen if we didn’t have laws?
  • Who needs to follow laws and why?
  • Who enforces the law?

Topic 3: Representative democracy and the electoral process

What is representative democracy? (15 min)

Explain that in a representative democracy, citizens choose candidates to represent them in a parliament. If citizens do not think their representatives are doing a good job, they can vote for new ones at the next election. In Australia, federal elections are held approximately every 3 years to select members of parliament to represent Australians and make decisions and laws on their behalf. Examples of other representative democracies include the United States, the United Kingdom and Argentina.

As a class, watch the One Voice for Many video (39 sec) to illustrate the concept of representative democracy. 

From the Unpack democracy Classroom activity, ask students ‘why should citizens be able to choose who represents them’? Use the think-pair-share strategy to discuss the question in small groups and then share responses with the whole class. 

Electorates (10 min)

Watch the What is parliament? video (2 min 7 sec). Discuss how the Australian Constitution created the Australian Parliament it comprises of 2 houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is made up of 76 senators, with 12 senators representing each state and 2 senators representing the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The House of Representatives is made up of 151 members with each member representing an electorate – a geographical area. Approximately every 3 years, federal elections are held to select members of parliament.

Portfolio assessment 1: Create your own electorate (90–120 min)

Use the Create your own electorate Classroom activityto build understanding of the diversity of electorates in Australia and how members represent constituents. Initially, just complete the Getting started and The electorate of … sections.

Distribute WS3 My electorate for students to record the details of their electorate. Afterwards, ask students to share their electorate with the class. This could be done as a poster or a PowerPoint presentation.

This activity can be used as an assessable portfolio item for this Unit of work. This task, together with the other suggested portfolio assessment items, align with the achievement standard of the Year 5 Australian Civics and Citizenship Curriculum, including the skills component. Teachers should use the curriculum content descriptions to develop an appropriate marking criterion and rubric.

Elections (60–90 min)

One key idea of Australia’s representative democracy is free and franchised elections where citizens have a say in who represents them.

As a class, brainstorm the qualities of a good representative. What kind of skills, qualities and experience should they have? Use sticky notes or a digital mind map tool such as Popplet to collate and categorise student responses. Once lots of ideas have been generated, have students group them into similar categories, then label the categories and discuss what the ideas have in common and how the categories relate to one another. Create a list of the finalised qualities of a good representative and display this in the room for reference throughout the next activity.

Run a class election using the Australian Electoral Commission’s Get Voting program.

Portfolio assessment 2: First Speech (60–120 min)

Return to the Create your own electorate Classroom activity and complete the First speeches section. In this activity, students imagine they have been elected to Parliament, and will write and present their first speech.

This activity can be used as an assessable portfolio item for this Unit of work.  This task, together with the other suggested portfolio assessment items, align with the achievement standard of the Year 5 Australian Civics and Citizenship Curriculum, including the skills component. Teachers should use the curriculum content descriptions to develop an appropriate marking criterion and rubric.

Topic 4: Active citizenship

Get involved (10 min)

As a class, play the Getting involved quiz or Getting involved Kahoot!

Clean Up Australia case study (30 min)

As a class explore the Clean Up Australia Day Our Story webpage to discover how this nationwide program started with one person and is now supported by many volunteers. Discuss:

  • What is Clean Up Australia?
  • What was the problem the founder identified?
  • How did they start solving the problem?
  • Who is involved? Are people paid for this work?
  • How do they bring about change?
  • Are they successful?
  •  Why do people volunteer?

Community challenges near you (15 min)

Discuss local community issues with your class using the following questions from the Unpack democracy Classroom activity:

  • What is a change you’d like to see in your school or local community?
  • Can you do anything about it? If yes, what action can you take?
  • If the problem is bigger than one person, what could you do to make a change?

Portfolio assessment 3: Making a difference (duration varies)

As a class, select a community issue that is important to students. For example, students cycling to school without helmets or a polluted creek in the local area.

Distribute WS4 Action plan and discuss:

  • How can the class research the issue and understand the cause and the effect on the community? This might include surveying relevant school or community members or doing a statistical analysis of the issue (such as counting the number of students wearing and not wearing helmets in a school week).
  • Who are the people or organisations that could help fix the identified problem or have a positive influence in this area? For example, your school principal, community groups, the local council, parliament representatives at the state/territory or federal level.
  • Brainstorm ways students could help solve this issue. For example,
    • create posters to put around the school to advertise ‘wearing a helmet’
    • include the message at a school assembly and/or in the school newsletter or social media page
    • contact the local newspaper to cover your campaign
    • make a short video to share on social media
    • organise a petition with signatures from the community
    • team up with a local community group or charity who shares your interest. Perhaps you can ask them for advice on how to get involved with this issue.

As a class, decide on actions that could address the issue and put the plan into action! 

Afterwards, discuss:

  • Did the group action plan work? Why/why not?
  • What were the advantages and benefits of working together to address the issue?
  • Were there any disadvantages or drawbacks to working together as a group (e.g. slower decision-making, disagreements etc.)?
  • Is it possible for citizens to make a difference?
  • Why is it important for citizens to be active in our community?
  • How does active citizenship benefit the whole country?

This activity can be used as an assessable portfolio item for this Unit of work.  This task, together with the other suggested portfolio assessment items, align with the achievement standard of the Year 5 Australian Civics and Citizenship Curriculum, including the skills component. Teachers should use the curriculum content descriptions to develop an appropriate marking criterion and rubric.