Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will complete a pre-lesson homework activity to interview three people about their views on the issue of homelessness. When they are in class, they will engage in a hexagonal thinking activity to summarise what they understand about the issue of homelessness, and its link to society and its institutions. They will share what they found out in their interviews, and analyse their discoveries in a class discussion. Students will view a short clip from the Life After The Oasis documentary that highlights the impact that social action can have, after which they will be set their own Social Action Challenge. Students will watch a short clip that explores how to change someone’s mind, then will come up with their own ideas about how to change people’s minds about the issue of homelessness. Students will work independently or with others to make their idea happen, then reflect on their work by responding to a set of questions. 

Life After The Oasis is a 75 minute documentary that explores the issues, interventions and mindsets associated with youth homelessness in Australia. The film revisits characters and stories from the original 2008 documentary The Oasis, and how opportunities and experiences have shaped their lives over the last ten years. Find out how to screen or view the film here.

Warning: The documentary and the clips contained in this lesson, contains explicit language, images of drug use and confronting scenes and may upset some viewers. Teachers should use their personal discretion when showing the documentary. This resource deals with the rising problem of youth homelessness and its associated social and personal issues. There may be students in your class who have experienced some of the issues discussed. You are encouraged to arrive at a set of agreements and ground rules for discussion with your class about the best way to approach the issues being covered in a way that recognises the dignity of our fellow classmates. Click here for tips on setting ground rules for class discussions and here for advice on how to handle sensitive topics and controversial issues in your classroom.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand that they can influence other people’s understanding about social issues.
  • Students gain knowledge about how to change people’s minds.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 Civics and Citizenship

  • How citizens’ political choices are shaped, including the influence of the media (ACHCK076)
  • Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australian, regional and global contexts (ACHCS089)
  • Present evidence-based civics and citizenship arguments using subject-specific language (ACHCS088)

Year 10 Civics and Citizenship

  • Identify, gather and sort information and ideas from a range of sources and reference as appropriate (ACHCS096)
  • Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australian, regional and global contexts (ACHCS102)
  • Present evidence-based civics and citizenship arguments using subject-specific language (ACHCS101)

General capabilities: LiteracyEthical Understanding, Critical and Creative ThinkingPersonal and Social Capability,

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students identify and analyse the influences on people’s political choices. They analyse a range of factors that influence identities and attitudes to diversity. They reflect on how groups participate and contribute to civic life. When researching, students analyse a range of questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems and critically analyse information gathered from different sources for relevance and reliability. They compare and account for different interpretations and points of view on civics and citizenship issues.

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students evaluate a range of factors that sustain democratic societies. They account for and evaluate different interpretations and points of view on civics and citizenship issues.

Topic: Social Issues

Unit of work: Life After The Oasis – Civics & Citizenship

Time required: 120 mins (plus time to complete a prior learning task)

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and coordinate collaboration between students.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Handling Sensitive Topics And Controversial Issues Factsheet (Optional). Hexagon Thinking Tool – one per student. Interview Question Sheet – one per student. Interview Question Posters – printed, one set to be hung in the classroom. Materials required to carry out ideas for social change (this will depend on what students’ ideas are).

Keywords: Homelessness, citizen, society, institutions, democracy, elected representatives, policy, social issues, human rights, campaign for change, changing minds, The Oasis. 

Shark Island Productions and Cool Australia would like to acknowledge the generous contribution of The Caledonia Foundation to the development of these resources.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will ... 

  • ... understand that they can influence other people’s understanding about social issues.
  • ... gain knowledge about how to change people’s minds.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... identify misconceptions that people have around the issue of homelessness.
  • ... create and disseminate a message to educate others about the realities faced by people experiencing homelessness.

Teacher content information: On any given night in Australia, 1 in 200 people are experiencing homelessness. This alarming statistic raises many questions about homelessness in Australia and what is being done by government and non-government institutions to combat the problem. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines a person to be homeless when they do not have suitable accommodation alternatives and their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short
- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: "When I met Paul things just changed so dramatically, he pretty much just loved me back to life." – Owen

Life After The Oasis 

Paul's Story (

Take Action

Select one of the following questions to base your social action plan around. 

  • "How might we change people’s minds about the issue of homelessness, so that they care more about the people experiencing homelessness?"
  • "How might we encourage people to actively pressure their elected representatives, to make policy decisions that will reduce the number of people experiencing homelessness?"


Work independently to create an extended reflection piece on the process and learning throughout the lesson using these questions as a guide:

  • How did people respond to your message?
  • What did you do well?
  • If you worked in a group, what did your group do well?
  • What would you do differently?
  • If you were to continue to change peoples' minds about the issue of hom
- or - to view worksheets

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