Activity Introduction

srf_y10_floatingconstitution_photoframeQuick summary: In this Finding Out lesson, students will consider human rights and how they connect with the Australian Constitution. Students will share their opinions about the role of rules and analyse primary sources to better understand the Australian Constitution. They will explore the rights and freedoms addressed in the Constitution and critically assess the human rights that are not enshrined in the Australian Constitution. They will research sections of the Constitution, and share their findings with their peers. Then, using a visible thinking routine, they will reflect on their understanding.

Essential questions:

  • What is the connection between rights, freedoms and the Australian Constitution?
  • What role do rules play in a democratic society?
  • How is the Australian Constitution still relevant today?

21st Century skills:

Critical Thinking Communicating Team Work Empathy Initiative Leadership Problem Finding

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:
Year 7 Civics and Citizenship:

  • The process for Constitutional change through a referendum (ACHCK049)
  • The key features of government under the Australian Constitution with a focus on: the separation of powers, the roles of the Executive, the Houses of Parliament, and the division of powers (ACHCK048)
  • Identify, gather and sort information and ideas from a range of sources (ACHCS055)
  • Develop a range of questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems (ACHCS054)
  • Critically analyse information and ideas from a range of sources in relation to civics and citizenship topics and issues (ACHCS056)

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Relevant parts of Year 7 achievement standards: Students explain how Australia’s legal system is based on the principle of justice. Students explain the diverse nature of Australian society and identify the importance of shared values in promoting a cohesive society. When researching, students develop a range of questions and gather and analyse information from different sources to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems. They consider different points of view on civics and citizenship issues. Students develop and present arguments on civics and citizenship issues using appropriate texts, terms and concepts.

Topic: Human Rights.

Unit of work: Story of Our Rights and Freedoms – Year 7.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. The Constitution – Image. Printed copies of Closer Look: The Australian Constitution (produced by the Parliamentary Education Office), separated into four sections. The Australian Constitution – Chapter Summaries, Australian Constitution and UDHR Comparison Table (printed, enough for one per student), highlighters.

Keywords: Human rights, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Australian Constitution, rules.

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


Teacher Worksheet

srf_y7oldconstitution_photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will gain a better understanding of the Australian Constitution, including its content, purpose and jurisdiction. They will develop a better understanding of how the Australian Constitution protects our rights and freedoms. Students will develop an understanding of the rights and freedoms that are not protected by the Australian Constitution, who is affected by this, and whether the Australian Constitution could be altered to incorporate additional rights. Students will develop skills in research, critical analysis and constructing an evidence-based argument.

Teacher content information:

Throughout the Story of Our Rights and Freedoms lessons, students will consider Civics and Citizenship concepts through a human rights lens. They will critically assess the Australian system of government and the effect that it has on our rights and freedoms.

There is no universally accepted definition of human rights, and our understanding is

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: We have come from many parts of the world yet we have many common values and principles uniting us.

1. What do you know about the Australian Constitution?

Rate your understanding of the Australian Constitution on a scale of 0-10 (0 = I know absolutely nothing, 10 = I am an expert): 

Explain why you gave yourself that rating: 

2. What does the Australian Constitution look like? Some images will be presented during class time by your teacher. Complete the 'See-Think-Wonder' visible thinking routine for the image of the Australian Constitution in the table below:

  See/Hear Think Wonder
The Constitution





3. JIGSAW CLASSROOM – Finding Out about the Australian Constitution.

Which Chapter/s of the Australian Constitution did you read about? 

Note some key points about the information you read here: 

4. Linking the UDHR to the Australian Constitution.

Complete the questions below after working together as a class

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