Activity Introduction

children Quick summary: What is the link between health and poverty? In this lesson, students explore the underlying non-medical factors, known as the social determinants of health, and how they influence health outcomes. Utilising statistical information, the class explores the interconnected nature of poverty, health, and social determinants while identifying some of the main drivers of poverty. Students comprehend how factors such as improved social security payments, employment opportunities, and affordable housing can reduce poverty and improve health outcomes. The lesson culminates in a social action task where students use their voices to advocate for better government policies for those experiencing poverty.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand that when people are experiencing poverty, their health may be affected
  • Students can explain how the social determinants of health are influenced by poverty
  • Students can propose ways to support others who face financial hardship.

21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCritical ThinkingEmpathyEthical UnderstandingInitiativeProblem FindingProblem SolvingSocial Skills         

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 7 & 8 HPE:

  • Evaluate health information and communicate their own and others’ health concerns (ACPPS076)
  • Plan and use health practices, behaviours and resources to enhance health, safety and wellbeing of their communities (ACPPS077)

Syllabus outcomes: PD4-1, PD4-2, PD4-7

General capabilities: Literacy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capabilities, Ethical Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 7 & 8 achievement standards: 

By the end of Year 8, students evaluate the impact on wellbeing of relationships and valuing diversity. They analyse factors that influence emotional responses. They investigate strategies and practices that enhance their own, others’ and community health, safety and wellbeing. They examine the cultural and historical significance of physical activities and examine how connecting to the environment can enhance health and wellbeing.

Students apply personal and social skills to establish and maintain respectful relationships and promote safety, fair play and inclusivity. They demonstrate skills to make informed decisions and propose and implement actions that promote their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing. 

Topic: Poverty and Inequality in Australia

Time required: 100 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion, lead students in activities.

Resources required:

  • A device capable of presenting a video to the class
  • A device that allows students to conduct research in a safe manner
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.

Keywords: health, human development, income, poverty, social action, social determinants, social housing, socioeconomic status, welfare.

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


Teacher Worksheet

children 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

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: “Despite Australia’s relatively high national wealth, the experience of many is that of entrenched and deep poverty” (ACOSS, 2020)

1. What are the social determinants of health?

Watch the video:

Social determinants of health (

Note down as many examples of the social determinants as you can. At the conclusion of the clip, share your answers with the class and add any that you missed to your list.

Social Determinant of Health  Examples

2. How do social determinants influence your health and wellbeing?

Read the prompt below and explain how each of the depicted social determinants could negatively impact a person’s health (physical, social, emotional, mental or spiritual)?

Prompt: “Our individual health is influenced by a range of social determinants.”

Social Determinant Impact
social determinant of health

Family income
family income


- 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.