Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will unpack what it means to be tough. They will explore traditional ideas of ‘acting tough’ and learn about mental toughness and grit. They will go on to develop a social campaign that aims to shift their peer group’s focus away from physical toughness towards mental toughness.

Coward Punch logo​​The STOP the Coward Punch education package aims to spread awareness about the devastating effects of the coward punch on our community. ​​This education package was developed by a team of experts, including a youth worker, education specialist and specialist teachers and references the latest research and laws on coward punches.


Learning intentions:

  • Students understand the difference between ‘acting tough’ and being mentally tough
  • Students understand the components of grit.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCreative ThinkingCritical Thinking

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 7 & 8 Health and Physical Education:

  • Investigate and select strategies to promote health, safety and wellbeing (ACPPS073)
  • Plan and use health practices, behaviours and resources to enhance health, safety and wellbeing of their communities (ACPPS077)

Syllabus outcomes: PDHPE4.2, PDHPE4.3, PDHPE4.6, PDHPE4.7, PDHPE4.8, PDHPE4.9, PDHPE4.10, PDHPE4.12, PDHPE4.16

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability

Relevant parts of Years 7 & 8 achievement standards: 

Students investigate strategies and practices that enhance their own, others’ and community health, safety and wellbeing. They demonstrate skills to make informed decisions, and propose and implement actions that promote their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing.

Topic: Social Issues

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work STOP the Coward Punch: HPE – Years 7 & 8.

Time required: 150+ mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – teachers will lead class discussions and monitor activities.

Resources required:

  • Butchers paper (optional)
  • Device capable of presenting a video to the class
  • Grit Survey (optional) – one copy per student
  • Markers.

Related professional development: Strategies for Dealing with Aggressive and Violent Behaviours

Keywords: grit, mental toughness, tough, toughness, physical toughness, acting tough, coward punch, social campaign, social action, social media

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


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • … understand the difference between ‘acting tough’ and being mentally tough
  • … understand the components of grit.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … identify strategies for developing mental toughness.

Teacher content information:

The STOP the Coward Punch campaign
STOP the Coward Punch by Danny Green aims to eliminate the coward punch from society and save lives in the process. Since 2000, over 172 Australians have been killed by a coward punch and many more were injured. The coward punch leaves a devastating ripple through society, mentally and physically scarring family, friends and survivors for life. The STOP the Coward Punch campaign began in 2012 to raise awareness of the devastating impact of this scourge in our society. It aims to educate people about the risks, so they don’t make a choice they’ll regret for the rest of their lives.

Safety first: The issues raised within this education package may be

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