Activity Introduction

The Oasis - TommyQuick summary: This lesson introduces students to the concept of story arcs, and how they are used to create intrigue and interest in the audience. Students consider their favourite stories and the story arc that is followed by those stories. Students then consider a story arc diagram and in small groups, apply their understanding by plotting the story arc of Tommy throughout THE OASIS, focusing specifically on his actions and emotions. Students then use quotes and images from THE OASIS to visually represent the arc of Tommy’s story, and recognise that in overcoming the obstacles he faces throughout his life, he is an everyday hero.

Note: This lesson can be referred to when the social action section of the unit is reached – when students take social action they will use the concept of a story arc to encourage others to care about their action. They will use their knowledge and understanding of a story arc to create their own around their social action project. The empathy that students practise during this lesson will guide their approach in their social action project.

Key ideas to explore:

  • Authors can use a formula to create a story about a character.
  • Heroes and what they have to overcome aren’t always the same.
  • A story arc can change the way that an audience interprets a message.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 9 English

  • Analyse text structures and language features of literary texts, and make relevant comparisons with other texts (ACELT1772)
  • Explore and explain the combinations of language and visual choices that authors make to present information, opinions and perspectives in different texts (ACELY1745)

Year 10 English

  • Identify, explain and discuss how narrative viewpoint, structure, characterisation and devices including analogy and satire shape different interpretations and responses to a text (ACELT1642)
  • Use comprehension strategies to compare and contrast information within and between texts, identifying and analysing embedded perspectives, and evaluating supporting evidence (ACELY1754)

Year 11 English

Unit 1

  • analysing how language choices are made for different purposes and in different contexts using appropriate metalanguage; for example, personification, voice-over, flashback, salience (ACEEN002)
  • explaining the ways language features, text structures and conventions communicate ideas and points of view (ACEEN004)
  • explaining the ways text structures, language features and stylistic choices are used in different types of texts (ACEEN005)
  • using evidence-based argument (ACEEN014)

Unit 2

  • analysing the ways language features, text structures and stylistic choices shape points of view and influence audiences (ACEEN024)
  • selecting and applying appropriate textual evidence to support arguments (ACEEN035)

Year 12 English

Unit 3

  • analysing the techniques and conventions used in different genres, mediums and modes(ACEEN044)
  • making innovative and imaginative use of language features (ACEEN051)

Unit 4

  • undertaking close analysis of texts (ACEEN060)
  • analysing content, purpose and choice of language (ACEEN063)
  • exploring other interpretations and aspects of context to develop a considered response (ACEEN065)

Syllabus OutcomesEN5-1A, EN5-2A, EN5-6C.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding, Literacy.

Topic: THE OASIS, Social Issues

Unit of work: THE OASIS – English

Time required: 90 minutes

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Butcher’s paper and sticky-notes (two colours). Access to THE OASIS documentary on Vimeo.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities, ICT for visualising thinking

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: Homelessness, youth, THE OASIS, story arc, textual evidence.

Acknowledgement: This resource has been adapted from ‘Teaching Social Issues Through English’ developed with the English Teachers Association NSW and the’Youth Homelessness Matters Resource’ developed by Janice Atkin. You can find these resources here.

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


Teacher Worksheet

paul moulds at a squatTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students understand the impact that a well-constructed narrative can have upon the audience's propensity to engage with the content. Students understand the concept of a story arc and can apply their understanding to a variety of different texts and text types.

Teacher content information: This lesson is based on THE OASIS documentary, which raises awareness of youth homelessness, celebrates the resilience of young people who are experiencing homelessness in Australia and empowers the next generation of young people to take action to prevent youth homelessness in the future.

Young people often become homeless because of family breakdown, often stemming from parental conflicts or a collapse of their relationship with a husband/wife or partner. Some young people who are living independently become homeless because they can’t afford living expenses such as rent. Being homeless is unsafe, unhealthy and very stressful. Young people experie

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are” - C.S. Lewis


1. Describe the story that you thought about at the start of the lesson:

2. Watch this TED-talk: 'What makes a hero?'

'What makes a hero?' - Matthew Winkler (

How does the idea of a Hero's Journey and the story arc followed by the hero relate to the story that you thought of?

3. As a class, watch sections of THE OASIS that feature Tommy.

THE OASIS Part 1 - ( (Start at 6:16)

THE OASIS Part 5 - (

THE OASIS Part 9 - ( (Start at 4:39)

THE OASIS Part 10 - ( (Start at 6:02)

4. In small groups, create a diagram that plots Tommy's story against the Hero's Journey story arc. His experiences may not necessarily fal

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