Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will learn about the role of the kidneys and how they filter waste from our bloodstream. They will imagine the analogy of kidneys being ‘bombarded’ by too much sugar and how kidney-related disease may occur. To show their understanding and promote health, students will create a poster for younger students about kidneys and keep them healthy. They will reflect on the lesson by writing a pledge to take care of their kidneys. 

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand the role of the kidneys
  • Students can name the parts of the kidneys responsible for filtering blood
  • Students recognise the importance of maintaining healthy kidneys
  • Students recognise the links between dental health, heart health, healthy kidneys, and lifestyle choices.

21st-century skills: 

   CommunicatingCreative Thinking  Empathy

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 5 and 6 HPE:

  • Investigate the role of preventive health in promoting and maintaining health, safety and wellbeing for individuals and their communities (ACPPS058)
  • Plan and practise strategies to promote health, safety and wellbeing (ACPPS054) 

Year 5 English:

  • Use comprehension strategies to analyse information, integrating and linking ideas from a variety of print and digital sources (ACELY1703)

Year 6 English:

  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse information and ideas, comparing content from a variety of textual sources including media and digital texts (ACELY1713)

Syllabus outcomes: EN3-3A, PHS3.12

General capabilities: Literacy, Ethical Understanding

Relevant parts of Year 5 & 6 achievement standards: 

They describe their own and others’ contributions to health, physical activity, safety and wellbeing. They describe the key features of health-related fitness and the significance of physical activity participation to health and wellbeing. They examine how physical activity, celebrating diversity and connecting to the environment support community wellbeing and cultural understanding.

Students access and interpret health information and apply decision-making and problem-solving skills to enhance their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing. 

Topic: Health and Wellbeing

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Sugar By Half.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – prepare videos, facilitate discussions to allow understanding

Resources required:

  • A device capable of playing the video ‘How do your kidneys work?’ 
  • An empty jar and enough marbles to fill at least half the jar
  • A funnel
  • Art materials and paper
  • Student Worksheet — one per student.

Keywords: health, kidney, sugar, food, bloodstream, waste, disease.

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


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ...understand the role of the kidneys
  • the parts of the kidneys responsible for filtering blood
  • ...recognise the importance of maintaining healthy kidneys
  • ...recognise the links between dental health, heart health, healthy kidneys, and lifestyle choices.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... identify where the nephrons are located in the kidneys
  • ... explain ways to reduce the likelihood of diabetes or kidney disease.

Teacher preparation:
Before conducting each lesson ensure you have read through the Filter Your Future Powerpoint presentation to facilitate teacher and student learning about how sugar affects health and a vital organ —  the kidneys. Read and print the Filter Your Future Education Project Poster and refer to the facts throughout the lesson/s.

Teacher content information:
Young people’s exposure and experiences with health and nutrition have changed due to ongoing research about the

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Student Worksheet

Thought-starter: "Our health always seems much more valuable after we lose it!"

Step 1. Watch the video How do your kidneys work? with your class and take notes in the See, Think, Wonder table to help guide your thinking:

What do I SEE? What do I THINK? What do I WONDER?

2. Kidney diagram and labels

Kidney Nephron Blood with waste
Blood without waste  Urine Glomerulus

kidney image

Image of kidney retrieved from Creative Commons

Step 3. Once you have shared the video from the UN explaining type 2 diabetes. Ask students to take notes and complete the following questions and prompts:

Question Student Response
What is the main role of your kidneys?
How often do kidneys filter the blood?
Describe the ‘filtering unit’ that makes the kidneys so useful?
Type 2 diabetes is a global health problem because…
Type 2 diabetes is a global health problem, but...
Type 2 diabetes is a global health problem,
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