Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students are introduced to the topic of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. They watch a clip from the documentary film Dying to Live, and assess their understanding of the clip by completing a ‘See-Think-Wonder’ visible thinking routine. Students then work in pairs to conduct an investigation into what they are wondering about the topic of organ and tissue donation. The class then participates in a circle discussion, where new knowledge and understanding about organ and tissue donation is shared.

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. You can purchase a DVD of the film at The Education Shop or you can stream the film on YouTube or Google Play for minimal cost or via DocPlay. 

Learning Intentions:

  • Students will understand more about organ and tissue donation.
  • Students will be able to frame questions about a challenging issue.
  • Students will be able to present information about organ and tissue donation to their peers.

21st century skills: 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 English

  • Identify and explore ideas and viewpoints about events, issues and characters represented in texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1619
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret, analyse and synthesise ideas and information, critiquing ideas and issues from a variety of textual sources (ACELY1723

Year 8 English

  • Explore the ways that ideas and viewpoints in literary texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts may reflect or challenge the values of individuals and groups (ACELT1626)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and evaluate texts by reflecting on the validity of content and the credibility of sources, including finding evidence in the text for the author’s point of view (ACELY1734

Syllabus outcomes: EN4-8D, ENLS-16D, EN4-2AENLS-5AENLS-7A

General capabilities: Literacy, Ethical understanding 

Relevant parts of Year 7 achievement standards: Students explain issues and ideas from a variety of sources, analysing supporting evidence and implied meaning. They select specific details from texts to develop their own response, recognising that texts reflect different viewpoints. They listen for and explain different perspectives in texts. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, using language features to engage the audience.

Relevant parts of Year 8 achievement standards: Students interpret texts, questioning the reliability of sources of ideas and information. They select evidence from the text to show how events, situations and people can be represented from different viewpoints. Students create texts for different purposes, selecting language to influence audience response.

Topic: Social Issues, Learning Through Film 

Unit of work: Dying To Live – English – Year 7 & 8

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Sticky notes (at least four per student). Device capable of presenting a clip to the class. Web-enabled device (one per pair of students). Optional: butcher’s paper.

Related Professional Development: Exploring General Capabilities: Ethical Understanding

Keywords: Organ and tissue donation, changing minds, ethics, health, wellbeing, social issue, question posing, research, discussion skills, 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...

  • ...understand more about organ and tissue donation.
  • able to frame questions about a challenging issue.
  • able to present information about organ and tissue donation to their peers.

Success criteria:

Students can…

  • ...frame research questions.
  • and interpret information about organ and tissue donation.
  • ...engage in and contribute to a class discussion.

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 vitally important: a donation can both save and improve lives.

Although the majority of Australians (69%) are generally willing to become organ and/or tissue donors, only 1 in 3 have registered to become donors. And because families have the final say about whether someone donates their organs or tissues, conversations about the inten

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Why is it important to think about organ and tissue donation?

1. Work in your groups to discuss and research your responses to the following prompts. NOTE: You should discuss your ideas in your groups, however each student is responsible for recording their responses in their own words (where relevant).

We are wondering...

We found that...

The sources we used were...

Once complete, work in your groups to create a short (maximum 3 slides) presentation to describe your findings.


Work independently to complete the Reflection Pyramid below:

- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.