Activity Introduction

The-Oasis-Hayley-and-Paul-260x300 copyQuick summary: Students identify stereotypes about homelessness and reflect on the negative impacts stereotypes may have for people experiencing homelessness accessing health services. They complete a table where they look at views that may be responsible for reinforcing particular stereotypes about homelessness. Students then ‘burst’ their stereotypes by physically popping balloons.

Key ideas to explore:

  • Negative stereotypes are sometimes attached to people experiencing homelessness.
  • A more realistic view of the problem of youth homelessness is needed in order to help address the issue.
  • There are many ways to effectively challenge and address negative stereotypes about youth homelessness.

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Learning Area: Health and Physical Education

Content descriptions: 

  • Investigate how empathy and ethical decision making contribute to respectful relationships (ACPPS093)
  • Critique behaviours and contextual factors that influence health and well being of diverse communities (ACPPS098)
  • Evaluate factors that shape identities and critically analyse how individuals impact the identities of others (ACPPS089)
  • Examine the impact of changes and transitions on relationships (ACPPS090)

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

Syllabus Outcomes: PDHPE5.1, PDHPE5.3, PDHPE5.3, PDHPE5.11, PDHPE5.13.

Topic: THE OASIS, Social Issues

Unit of work: THE OASIS – HPE

Time required: 60 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 websites/videos to the class and access to THE OASIS documentary on Vimeo. One balloon per student, thumbtacks and permanent markers.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: House, home, homelessness, youth, THE OASIS, community development, stereotypes.

Acknowledgement: This resource has been adapted from ‘Teaching Social Issues Through English’ developed with 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

squat-photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students understand that stereotypes can have a negative impact on people who are experiencing homelessness. They identify some of the common stereotypes about homelessness by viewing the issue from different perspectives, including their own. Students identify a more fair view of homelessness and connect it to the willingness of people to address the issue.

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 ex

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Homelessness is a concern for the community, not just the individual. Do you agree?

1. First, fill out the first row of the table below by summarising what automatically comes to mind when you picture a homeless person (be as honest as you want to be).

A person who is homeless: Their gender: Their approximate age: Their appearance: Where they sleep: Issues they are facing:
My view:
Sarah and Rebecca's initial view:
An internet search showed:
The reality:

2. Watch the clips about Sarah and Rebecca from The Couch Project 2015. What did they think a person experiencing homelessness looked like? Put your response in the second row of the table.

Sarah's Story - The Couch Project (

Rebecca's Story - The Couch Project (

3. Type 'Homeless Person' into an online image search and view the images that appear. Use these images to help yo

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