Year 5

This unit of work contains 8 lessons aligned to the Year 5 Australian Civics and Citizenship Curriculum and the Year 5 English curriculum. It includes 2 informal assessment items, a formal assessment item with marking rubric, background information for teachers and a list of resources.

8 lessons
1 formal, 2 informal

Before you begin

Year 5 unit of work Curriculum alignment

Background information for teachers

Required resources

  • Printed worksheets, assessment sheets and scenarios available in the toolkit.
  • Capacity for whole class to watch PEO videos.
  • Computers/devices for students to conduct research.


Lessons 1 to 2 – Living in a democracy

Give students the Concept map to complete for the first time, including Date 1. (This will be revisited at the end of the unit to show student progress.) Explain to students that it's ok not to know the answers now. The point of the concept map is to see what students already know and to show them how much they've learnt by the end of the unit.

Hand out Worksheet: What is democracy?. Brainstorm 'What is democracy?' in pairs and then as a class before giving definition: A democracy is a system of government in which the people have a say about how they are governed.

As a class, discuss the concepts and examples of freedoms and responsibilities of 'living in a democracy'. Ask students to work individually or in pairs to complete the table.

Note: this worksheet has three differentiated options, increasing in difficulty from A to C.

If you would like your class to explore the concept of democracy further, play the Australian Electoral Commission’s What is democracy? concept game with the class. This can be found in Topic 1: Activity 1 of Democracy Rules

Lessons 3 to 4 – Democracy assessment

Go through the Assessment with the class. Explain that as well as answering the questions 'What are the freedoms of living in a democracy' and 'what are the responsibilities of living in a democracy', groups should think of another question to ask about democracy and include the answer to this.

Divide the class into groups of 2 to 4 students and give groups 2 to 3 lessons to complete the assessment.

Ask groups to present their assessment items to the class.

Lesson 5 – Why do we have laws?

Ask students to 'think, pair, share': 'what is the difference between laws and rules?' For example, rules can change depending on who makes and enforces them—each house or school might have different rules. Laws are official ways to define how people and organisations are expected to behave. Laws can apply to everyone in the community.

Ask students to 'think, pair, share': 'why do we have laws?'

Divide the class into groups of 4 to 5 students. Give each group a different Scenario. Ask groups to discuss their scenario and answer the questions attached.

Ask each group to share their scenario and ideas with the class.

Ask the class to think about those scenarios to brainstorm the following questions:

  • Why do we need laws?
  • What could happen without laws?
  • Who needs to follow laws? Why?

Optional activity—Ask the class to discuss: What happens if a law is unfair? What can people do to change an unfair law?

Lessons 6 to 8 – Getting involved

Watch the PEO Get involved video.

As a class, brainstorm issues in your school or local community and select one that is important to students. For example, children not wearing helmets on bicycles in the neighbourhood.

Brainstorm ways the class could get involved in this issue. For example, writing a petition to the council, writing a letter to the local newspaper, creating a campaign to target children's behaviour.

Discuss what might be the most effective way to:

  • get a response from your (local, state/territory or federal) representatives
  • raise public awareness
  • create media attention
  • target young people
  • change people's behaviour.

As a class, get involved and follow through with an activity to address the issue. For example, create posters to put around the school to advertise 'wearing a helmet' and include the message at a school assembly and in the school newsletter.

Ask students to complete the Concept map, including Date 2.

For resources to cover the content description The key features of the electoral process in Australia (ACHASSK116) visit the Australian Electoral Commission's educational resources.

Learning outcomes for assessments

Formal assessment—with curriculum aligned rubric

Assessment taskgroup assessment about what living in a democracy means to citizens


  • describe the key values that underpin Australia's democracy
  • develop appropriate questions to guide an inquiry about systems of government
  • locate and collect relevant information about democracy
  • present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of texts and modes.
  • Informal assessment specifically targeting content descriptions.

Informal assessments—linked to curriculum content descriptions

Scenarios activity

Small groups consider a number of scenarios and report to the class on the following areas:

  • explain why regulations and laws are enforced
  • work in groups to generate responses to issues and challenges.

English Curriculum


  • use interaction skills, for example paraphrasing, questioning and interpreting non-verbal cues and choose vocabulary and vocal effects appropriate for different audiences and purposes (ACELY1796).

Getting involved activity

Students brainstorm and develop action plans to address issues of concern in their community


  • explore how people with shared beliefs and values work together to achieve a civic goal
  • reflect on learning to propose personal and/or collective action in response to an issue or challenge, and predict the probable effects.