Activity Introduction

MBIDeborahHeroShotQuick summary: The My Big Idea initiative is designed to spark a deeper conversation about Australia’s future and encourage people to take action towards that future. This lesson supports students to envisage and connect to their futures through exploration of their personal values. Students will use creative and critical thinking to come up with a range of ideas to address the key challenges facing the country. They will submit their ideas to the My Big Idea website. Students will then explore and vote for the ideas that have been submitted, and engage their friends, family and community in the initiative.

Key points to explore:

  • Young people have great ideas about how to improve Australia’s tomorrow.
  • The My Big Idea project aims to source and bring to life some of Australia’s most innovative and inspiring ideas for the country’s future – no idea is too small to be Australia’s next big idea!
  • Young people’s voices and views are important and worthy of investment.
  • It is important that young people feel a sense of ownership and agency over their tomorrow.
  • You and your students can engage with the community in a positive and meaningful way that leads to action.

21st Century skills:

MY BIG IDEA 21st century skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:
This lesson can be applied across the curriculum. It is a great way to address the general capabilities and incorporate the cross-curriculum priorities into your subject area. The lesson can be integrated into any subject area across the Year 9 and 10 curriculum, including:

Year 9 HASS (Civics and Citizenship)
Problem-solving and decision-making

  • Recognise and consider multiple perspectives and ambiguities, and use strategies to negotiate and resolve contentious issues (ACHCS086)

Communication and reflection

  • Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australian, regional and global contexts (ACHCS089)

Year 10 HASS (Civics and Citizenship)
Problem-solving and decision-making

  • Use democratic processes to reach consensus on a course of action relating to a civics or citizenship issue and plan for that action (ACHCS100)
  • Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australian, regional and global contexts (ACHCS102)

Year 9-10 Health and Physical Education
Contributing to healthy and active communities

  • Plan, implement and critique strategies to enhance health, safety and wellbeing of their communities (ACPPS096)
  • Plan and evaluate new and creative interventions that promote their own and others’ connection to community and natural and built environments (ACPPS097)

Year 9 English
Interacting with others

  • Use interaction skills to present and discuss an idea and to influence and engage an audience by selecting persuasive language, varying voice tone, pitch, and pace, and using elements such as music and sound effects (ACELY1811)

Interpreting, analysing, evaluating

  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse texts, comparing and evaluating representations of an event, issue, situation or character in different texts (ACELY1744)

Year 10 English
Interpreting, analysing, evaluating

  • Choose a reading technique and reading path appropriate for the type of text, to retrieve and connect ideas within and between texts (ACELY1753)

Creating texts

  • Review, edit and refine students’ own and others’ texts for control of content, organisation, sentence structure, vocabulary, and/or visual features to achieve particular purposes and effects (ACELY1757)

General capabilities: Literacy, ICT Capability, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding, Personal and Social Capability, Intercultural Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.4, OI.5, OI.6, OI.7

Topic: Social issues, Sustainability.

Time required: 120 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate student discussion and brainstorming; coordinate student movement around classroom.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet and the My Big Idea website. Device capable of presenting a website to the class, including a projector and speakers. Computer/web-enabled device (preferably one per student, however enough for one per pair would also suffice). My Big Idea Introduction. Printed copies of the following: My Big Idea TOPIC PostersMy Big Idea CHALLENGE Posters (one per group), “AGREE” “DISAGREE” AND “NOT SURE” signsMy Big Idea flow-on effects mind map (one per group), My Big Idea Idea Judging Criteria (one per group). Butcher’s paper, notepaper, textas, recycled paper or sticky notes, string or masking tape, Blu-Tack. Project Planning Tips for Success (extension activity). 

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities, use of online search tools, online submission of ideas.

Keywords: Australia, community, tomorrow, future, idea, brainstorm, change.

Icon credits: Vectors Market, Igor Rumyantsev, Dave Gandy, Freepik, OCHA via

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

MBIHarleyHeroShotTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal:
Students will understand why the My Big Idea initiative has been created and how it works. They will feel connected to the Australian community and its current and future challenges. Students will be able to think critically and creatively about a set challenge and work collaboratively to brainstorm, then refine and submit ideas that address real community issues.

Teacher content information:
My Big Idea is designed to spark a deeper conversation about Australia’s future, encourage and facilitate action towards that future, and instil a sense of possibility. Details of the My Big Idea initiative are as follows:

  1. A sample of people representative of the Australian community was surveyed. They were asked about their personal, cultural and organisational values and from the survey results, 10 topics and 30 associated challenges (three challenges per topic) were identified. For example, the CHALLENGE: "How might we create the industries and
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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Are you ready to shape Australia's tomorrow?

1. What challenge did you work on throughout the lesson?

How might we ?

2. What was your group's idea to address the challenge?

If you haven't already, go to and submit your idea!

Don't forget to encourage your friends and family to vote for your idea, and submit an idea of their own!


After exploring My Big Idea, brainstorming and refining an idea with your group and then submitting an idea online, spend some time thinking about and responding to the questions below:

How do you feel about being able to contribute to Australia's tomorrow?

What was your favourite part of this lesson?

Describe something you reckon you did pretty well:

Describe something you might do differently next time:
After participating in this lesson, how would you rate your ability to contribute to Australia's future?
What idea did you and your group submit to My Bi
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