Activity Introduction

youth with communication deviceQuick summary: So what is poverty and why should I care? The collective responsibility is an important one, not only when it comes to ending poverty but also when addressing the misconceptions associated with what poverty and inequality are and what it looks like in Australia. This lesson aims to destigmatise the experience of living in poverty and highlight the idea that action at any level, but particularly at the government and community policy level, is critical to meeting the sustainable development commitment to end poverty in all its forms. To achieve this, students work with a number of stimulus materials to develop their understanding of poverty and inequality before finally developing an action plan to engage with a local organisation in order to reduce poverty within their community.

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 identify ways to take action within their community to address the issue of poverty and inequality.

21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingEmpathyEthical UnderstandingProblem FindingProblem Solving            

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 7 & 8 HPE:

  • Practise and apply strategies to seek help for themselves or others (ACPPS072)
  • 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: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding, Literacy, Personal and Social Capability.

Relevant parts of Year 7 & 8 HPE achievement standards:

Students investigate strategies and practices that enhance their own, others’ and community health, safety and wellbeing. Students 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: 90+ mins.

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

Resources required:

Keywords: community, health, inequality, poverty, social action, volunteer.

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


Teacher Worksheet

youth with communication deviceTeacher 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 exists. Poverty hurts us all. We can all do something about it” — Anti Poverty Week

1. See, Think, Wonder 

After taking a few seconds to look at this image, note down what you see, think and wonder in the table below:

stock image for APW - THINK PAIR SHARE

What I see... What I think... What I wonder...

2. Poverty: What, Who, How and Why?

Access the Poverty in Australia - Fast Facts and read through all the information on the page. Once you have completed the reading, answer the who, what, how and why questions below.

What is poverty?

Who is affected by poverty?

How can the government help and support those living in poverty?

Why is it important the government takes steps to address poverty?

3. Poverty and inequality

As a class, you modelled inequality by participating in a paper toss activity and discussed some facts about inequality in Australia. Answer the following questions in relation to your experiences during this activity.

a. Who experienced the

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