Activity Introduction

srf_y8votingcitizensphotoframeQuick summary: In this Finding Out lesson, students will watch a video introduction of the concept of democracy, then use the ‘See-Think-Wonder’ visible thinking routine to review their understanding. They will work in pairs to dig deeper into what they are wondering about through an online research task. Students will then learn about the rule of law and what happens without the rule of law in a jigsaw classroom investigation. Students will connect the concepts explored in the lesson by listing three ways that the rule of law protects the democratic rights and freedoms that we enjoy in Australia, and reflect on their understanding in a pyramid of reflection.

Essential questions:

  • What are the features of a democratic society?
  • What is the rule of law?
  • What happens if there is no rule of law?
  • How do democracy and the rule of law ensure that we enjoy rights and freedoms?

21st Century skills:

Team Work Social Skills Critical Thinking Communicating

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:
Year 8 Civics and Citizenship:

  • The freedoms that enable active participation in Australia’s democracy within the bounds of law, including freedom of speech, association, assembly, religion and movement (ACHCK061
  • How citizens can participate in Australia’s democracy, including use of the electoral system, contact with their elected representatives, use of lobby groups, and direct action (ACHCK062
  • Critically analyse information and ideas from a range of sources in relation to civics and citizenship topics and issues (ACHCS070
  • Reflect on their role as a citizen in Australia’s democracy (ACHCS074

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

Relevant parts of year 8 achievement standards: Students analyse features of Australian democracy, and explain features of Australia’s democracy that enable active participation. When researching, students develop a range of questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems and critically analyse information gathered from different sources for relevance. They explain different points of view on civics and citizenship issues. Students develop and present reasoned arguments on civics and citizenship issues using appropriate texts, subject-specific language and concepts.

Topic: Human Rights.

Unit of work: Story of Our Rights and Freedoms – Year 8.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – teacher to lead students through multiple interactive activities.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of audio/visual presentation to present a website to the class. Sticky notes. Butcher’s paper (optional). Democracy – factsheet. Device capable of accessing an online webpage (one per student). Reflection Pyramid Printout (optional – also available on the Student Worksheet).

Keywords: democracy, people, power, rule of law, principles, rights, freedoms, protection.

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


Teacher Worksheet

srf_y8votingcitizens2_photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will understand democracy and what a democratic society looks like. They will be able to critically assess the reliability of information sources using a set criteria. Students will understand the rule of law, its principles, what a society without the rule of law may look like, and how the rule of law protects the rights and freedoms that we are all entitled to. They will also understand how the rule of law protects democratic rights and freedoms.

Teacher content information:

To safeguard rights and freedoms, many countries include protections for basic human rights in national law. While the Australian government has been a longstanding supporter of the United Nations and was involved in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), not all Australian legislation is entirely compatible with the Declaration. However, many of our rights and freedoms are protected by court judgements, Federal, State and local

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: “To make democracy work we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers” - Louis Amour

1. After watching the short clip as a class, complete the ‘See-Think-Wonder’ visible thinking routine.

What did you SEE/HEAR in the video? What did it make you THINK? What did it make you WONDER?













2. Write down what you are wondering about: 

3. Note down the information that you found out in your own words: 

When evaluating the source of your information, remember to consider the following:

  • Currency: check when the information (for instance, webpage) was created, and whether it has been kept up-to-date.
  • Reliability: vandalism and spam can be an issue for some webpages, especially websites that are edited by the public. Consider the accuracy of information, the images, style and focus of articles, if there is any false information and the quality of writing.
  • Authority: all stateme
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