Activity Introduction

elderly man and youth Quick summary: This lesson will have students critically examine and investigate how poverty impacts Australian society’s health and well-being. Students will use their knowledge of community health, social support services and the underlying causes of social disadvantage, to propose collaborative solutions to alleviating some of these underlying barriers to social and economic participation.

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand the broader dimensions of poverty in Australian society and how it impacts individuals
  • Students will develop empathy and evaluate the impacts of poverty on individuals within specific groups or characteristics in society
  • Students will work collaboratively to design and advocate for a program of positive strategies for individuals and groups to help alleviate poverty, enhance wellbeing and promote social and economic wellbeing.

21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingDigital LiteracyEntrepreneurshipEmpathyEthical UnderstandingProblem SolvingTeam Work            

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 9 & 10 HPE:

  • Evaluate factors that shape identities and critically analyse how individuals impact the identities of others (ACPPS089)
  • Propose, practise and evaluate responses in situations where external influences may impact their ability to make healthy and safe choices (ACPPS092)
  • Critique behaviours and contextual factors that influence health and wellbeing of diverse communities (ACPPS098)

Syllabus outcomes: PD5-1, PD5-2, PD5-9, PD5-10.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding, Personal and Social Capability.

Relevant parts of Year 9 & 10 HPE achievement standards: Students access, synthesise and apply health information from credible sources to propose and justify responses to health situations. They apply decision-making and problem-solving skills when taking action to enhance their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing. 

Topic: Poverty and Inequality in Australia

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – Teachers provide case studies and instructions, but this lesson is predominantly inquiry-based for students. Teachers should also ensure students are using Internet browsing tools safely and appropriately.

Resources required:

Keywords: Poverty, wellbeing, mental health, homelessness, discrimination, welfare agencies, community resources, the cycle of poverty, social and economic participation.

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


Teacher Worksheet

elderly man and youth Teacher Preparation

The content and information in these lessons may be overwhelming and cause some students to experience heightened emotions. Please ensure you allow students to ask questions and to discuss any issues or concerns. Before teaching the lesson, you may consider conducting a class check-in or circle time to establish a safe learning environment. Inform students that this might be a complex topic for them to comprehend. However, let your students know that differences in people’s incomes and wealth are nothing to be ashamed of and that these may be beyond the control of individuals and families – for example, some have more luck than others in landing a good job. Assure students that organisations and campaigns are working towards decreasing poverty in Australia, and if they would like more information, they can visit the Anti Poverty Week website ( and the Poverty and Inequality website (

Learning intentions

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: “Poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.”
— Kofi Annan, Seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations

1. Think Pair Share

Consider the following question: Does poverty have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals in Australia?

Work independently to think about and respond to this question, recording your ideas in column A of the table below:

Question Column A: Think - record your initial ideas here Column B: Pair and share - record any new ideas here
Does poverty have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals in Australia?

You can then team up with a partner to share and discuss your ideas. Record any new ideas that come out of this discussion in column B of the table.

Be prepared to share your ideas with the class.

2. Think Puzzle Explore

In relation to the infographic you have viewed the Poverty in Australia Overview, 2020 Infographic answer your thoughts be

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