Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will explore the idea that we all have different strengths and weaknesses. They will participate in a range of challenges (‘obstacle courses’) based on different disciplines including sport, literacy, maths, design, science and coding, and then discuss which ones were easier or harder for each of them. This will then form the basis of a discussion about difference and how we include and support each other to succeed.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand that we all have different strengths..

21st century skills: 

  CommunicatingCommunity EngagementEmpathyProblem SolvingSocial Skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 3 and 4 Health and Physical Education

  • Adopt inclusive practices when participating in physical activities (ACPMP048)
  • Practise and refine fundamental movement skills in a variety of movement sequences and situations (ACPMP043)
  • Explore how success, challenge and failure strengthen identities (ACPPS033)
  • Describe how respect, empathy and valuing diversity can positively influence relationships (ACPPS037)

Year 3 English

  • Understand that successful cooperation with others depends on shared use of social conventions, including turn-taking patterns, and forms of address that vary according to the degree of formality in social situations (ACELA1476)
  • Discuss how language is used to describe the settings in texts, and explore how the settings shape the events and influence the mood of the narrative (ACELT1599)
  • Listen to and contribute to conversations and discussions to share information and ideas and negotiate in collaborative situations (ACELY1676)
  • Use interaction skills, including active listening behaviours and communicate in a clear, coherent manner using a variety of everyday and learned vocabulary and appropriate tone, pace, pitch and volume (ACELY1792)
  • Re-read and edit texts for meaning, appropriate structure, grammatical choices and punctuation (ACELY1683)

Year 4 English

  • Understand that social interactions influence the way people engage with ideas and respond to others for example when exploring and clarifying the ideas of others, summarising their own views and reporting them to a larger group (ACELA1488)
  • Understand that the meaning of sentences can be enriched through the use of noun groups/phrases and verb groups/phrases and prepositional phrases (ACELA1493)

Year 3 Mathematics

  • Apply place value to partition, rearrange and regroup numbers to at least 10 000 to assist calculations and solve problems (ACMNA053)
  • Recall addition facts for single-digit numbers and related subtraction facts to develop increasingly efficient mental strategies for computation (ACMNA055)
  • Represent and solve problems involving multiplication using efficient mental and written strategies and appropriate digital technologies (ACMNA057)
  • Model and represent unit fractions including 1/2, 1/4, 1/3, 1/5 and their multiples to a complete whole (ACMNA058)
  • Make models of three-dimensional objects and describe key features (ACMMG063)

Year 4 Mathematics

  • Apply place value to partition, rearrange and regroup numbers to at least tens of thousands to assist calculations and solve problems (ACMNA073)
  • Develop efficient mental and written strategies and use appropriate digital technologies for multiplication and for division where there is no remainder (ACMNA076)

Year 3 Science

  • Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (ACSSU044)
  • A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat (ACSSU046

Year 4 Science

  • Forces can be exerted by one object on another through direct contact or from a distance (ACSSU076)

Syllabus outcomes: INS2.3, IRS2.11, COS2.1, MOS2.4, GSS2.8, GYS2.10, GDS2.9, EN2-1A, EN2-2A, EN2-6B, EN2-8B, EN2-9B, MA2‑1WM, MA2‑2WM, MA2‑3WM, MA2‑4NA, MA2‑5NA, MA2‑6NA, MA2‑7NA, MA2-14MG, ST2-7PW, ST2-10LW, ST2-12MW

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical UnderstandingLiteracy, Numeracy, Personal and Social Capability

Relevant parts of Year 3 and 4 Health and Physical Education achievement standards: By the end of Year 4 students identify influences that strengthen identities. They investigate how emotional responses vary and understand how to interact positively with others in a variety of situations. Students apply strategies for working cooperatively and apply rules fairly. They refine fundamental movement skills and apply movement concepts and strategies in a variety of physical activities and to solve movement challenges. They create and perform movement sequences using fundamental movement skills and the elements of movement.

Relevant parts of Year 3 English achievement standards: By the end of Year 3 students read texts that contain varied sentence structures, a range of punctuation conventions, and images that provide extra information. They understand how language can be used to express feelings and opinions on topics. They contribute actively to class and group discussions, asking questions, providing useful feedback and making presentations. They demonstrate understanding of grammar and choose vocabulary and punctuation appropriate to the purpose and context of their writing. They re-read and edit their writing, checking their work for appropriate vocabulary, structure and meaning.

Relevant parts of Year 4 English achievement standards: By the end of Year 4 students listen for and share key points in discussions.They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, varying language according to context. They demonstrate understanding of grammar, select vocabulary from a range of resources and use accurate spelling and punctuation, re-reading and editing their work to improve meaning.

Relevant parts of Year 3 Mathematics achievement standards: By the end of Year 3 students recognise the connection between addition and subtraction and solve problems using efficient strategies for multiplication. They model and represent unit fractions. They recall addition and multiplication facts for single-digit numbers. Students make models of three-dimensional objects.

Relevant parts of Year 4 Mathematics achievement standards: By the end of Year 4 students choose appropriate strategies for calculations involving multiplication and division. They recall multiplication facts to 10 x 10 and related division facts.

Relevant parts of Year 3 Science achievement standards: By the end of Year 3 students group living things based on observable features and distinguish them from non-living things.

Relevant parts of Year 4 Science achievement standards: By the end of Year 4 students describe how contact and non-contact forces affect interactions between objects. They identify when science is used to understand the effect of their actions. Students follow instructions to identify investigable questions about familiar contexts and make predictions based on prior knowledge.

Topic: Social Issues. 

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Including Everyone.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – students are to complete each ‘obstacle course’ to the best of their ability, observing which ones are more or less challenging for them.

Resources required:

Keywords: difference, strength, weakness, challenge, diversity, inclusion, empathy, understanding, Down syndrome, Down Syndrome Australia.

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 that we all have different strengths. 

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … identify types of tasks that are easier or more challenging for them
  • … recognise that others may find different things easy or challenging
  • … consider ways that others can be supported and/or encouraged when tasks are more challenging for them
  • … identify the benefits of working together with people who have different strengths to themselves.

Teacher content information: 

As defined by Diversity Council Australia:

“Inclusion occurs when a diversity of people (e.g. of different ages, cultural backgrounds, genders) feel valued and respected, have access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute their perspectives and talents to improve their organisation.”


Ensuring inclusive practises is not just about being helpful and supporting to others, it is

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What types of challenges are you excited by?

Think Pair Share

Work independently to answer the following questions, recording your answers in Column A of the table below:

  Column A - Your initial ideas Column B - Your new ideas
Will we all find the same activities easy/challenging? Why/why not?

Which tasks do you think will be easier for you?

Which tasks do you think will be more challenging for you?

Once you have recorded your initial ideas, turn to a classmate to share and discuss your ideas. Add any new ideas that come up in the discussion to Column B of the table.

Activity Reflection

Once you have completed each obstacle course activity, rate how difficult it was for you using the table below.

  Very easy Pretty easy In the middle Pretty hard Very hard
- 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.