Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students will be introduced to the story of seven year old Zaidee and her father Allan from the documentary film Dying to Live. Zaidee’s sudden death changed not only the life of her family, but also the lives of the 7 people who received her donated organs and tissues. Students will investigate issues concerning deceased organ and tissue donation and conduct research to determine if claims have scientific grounding, and make recommendations on specific topics. Students will also address common misconceptions about organ and tissue donation. 

Dying To Live is a documentary feature film that examines organ and tissue donation and transplantation in Australia through seven different stories that highlight the social, physical and emotional effects of being on the organ donor waiting list. The film also aims to dispel myths about organ and tissue donation while encouraging family conversations so that family members are aware of their loved ones’ donation intentions. Find out how to screen or view the film here.

Learning intentions:

  • Students are able to recall the general process of organ and tissue donation.
  • Students understand the benefits of organ and tissue donation, and investigate issues, misconceptions and ethics.
  • Students are able to communicate an issue effectively to deliver an important message about organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

21st century skills: 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 Science

  • Multi-cellular organisms rely on coordinated and interdependent internal systems to respond to changes to their environment (ACSSU175)
  • People use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and advances in science can affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities (ACSHE160)
  • Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence (ACSIS170)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS174)

Syllabus outcomes: SC5-14LW, SC5-13ES, SC5-7WS, SC5-9WS

General capabilities: Literacy, Information and Communication Technology, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: They analyse how biological systems function and respond to external changes with reference to interdependencies, energy transfers and flows of matter. They describe social and technological factors that have influenced scientific developments and predict how future applications of science and technology may affect people’s lives. They evaluate others’ methods and explanations from a scientific perspective and use appropriate language and representations when communicating their findings and ideas to specific audiences.

Topic: Social Issues, Learning Through Film

Unit of work: Dying to Live – Science – Year 9 

Time required: 70 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium to low – the body of this lesson has students working in groups and conducting independent research related to their chosen claim. The teacher will need to support groups where necessary and lead students through the introduction and reflection components.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Student device connected to the internet to conduct further research. Claims Research Links. Claims Research Worksheet – printed or electronic copy for each group (optional). 

Related Professional Development: Exploring General Capabilities: Ethical Understanding

Keywords: Body systems, Organ transplant, transplantation, tissue transplant, Organ and tissue donation, research task, ethics, Dying to Live

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

Cool Australia, Aquarius Productions and Intrinsic Story would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of GoodPitch² Australia, Shark Island Institute, and Documentary Australia Foundation in the development of these teaching resources.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • able to recall the general process of organ and tissue donation.
  • ...understand the benefits of organ and tissue donation, and investigate issues, misconceptions and ethics.
  • able to communicate an issue effectively to deliver an important message about organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

Success criteria:

Students can…

  • ...identify the impacts of organ and tissue donation and recall important elements about the process (e.g. informing family of wishes).
  • ...research effectively to find useful information. 
  • ...write conclusive statements about issues concerning organ and tissue donation, given research.
  • ...recall and identify misconceptions concerning organ and tissue donation.

Teacher content information: Organ and tissue donation are not always easy topics for discussion. However, with an average of 1,500 Australians on the transplant waiting list, increasing rates of donation is v

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: "What Zaidee gave in death is what we might not ever do when we’re alive, and that is save someone else’s life” – Allan (Zaidee’s dad)

Zaidee's Story

1. What emotions did you feel while watching Zaidee and Allan's stories? Was there any particular parts of the clips that made you feel a certain way?

Have you ever thought about organ and tissue donation before? Why do you think this is the case?

2. What is your opinion on deceased organ and tissue donation? Put yourself in the following situations, and outline what you can see as benefits and concerns.

  Benefits  Concerns
If it was you who donated...




If it was your family who donated...




If you needed a transplant...




If your family
member needed a transplant...






Investigating Claims

1. Discuss the following three claims in your group and decide if you support or reject each claim. 

  1. If you register on the
- or - to view worksheets

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