Activity Introduction

Quick summary: We have a complex relationship with our mobile phones that is more than screen deep. Mobile phone use and the impact it has had upon society is a is a contemporary social issue with far-reaching effects on our community’s safety, health and wellbeing. In this lesson, students examine their own views on mobile phone use by completing a quiz and participating in a social barometer activity. They watch the documentary It’s People Like Us then complete the ‘I used to think…now I think’ visible thinking routine to summarise how their views have changed after viewing the documentary. In a short written piece, students then reflect on the commentary being made by the documentary about mobile phones.


It’s People Like Us is a documentary film created as part of the Transport Accident Commission’s (TAC) Towards Zero road safety strategy. It explores society’s relationship with mobile phones – especially the use of them while driving – and the responsibility that we all have to keep ourselves and each other safe on the roads.


Learning intentions:  

  • Students will be able to express personal opinions in verbal and written form.
  • Students will understand the message of a documentary film.
  • Students will be able to write an evaluation of a text, using examples.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 English

  • Interpret, analyse and evaluate how different perspectives of issue, event, situation, individuals or groups are constructed to serve specific purposes in texts (ACELY1742)

Year 10 English

  • Evaluate the impact on audiences of different choices in the representation of still and moving images (ACELA1572)

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students understand how to use a variety of language features to create different levels of meaning.

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, building on others’ ideas, solving problems, justifying opinions and developing and expanding arguments.

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

Topic: Social Issues.

Unit of work: It’s People Like Us – English

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate respectful active listening and responding in class discussion. 

Resources required: Student Worksheets – (printed) one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a video to the class. ‘Strongly agree’ and ‘Strongly disagree’ signs (printed).

Related Professional Development: Teach Persuasive Language Using Documentaries 

Keywords: social issues, mobile phone, wellbeing, community safety, text analysis, documentary, It’s People Like Us.

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 be able to express personal opinions in verbal and written form.
  • Students will understand the message of a documentary film.
  • Students will be able to write an evaluation of a text, using examples.

Success criteria:

  • Students contribute at least once to a class discussion about mobile phones, and listen to others do so.
  • Students express, in writing, how their opinion about mobile phone use has changed after watching a documentary.
  • Students write a summary of the documentary film that details three specific ‘statements’ being made in it, with examples from the text.

Teacher content information: By the end of today, most of us will have checked our phones over 150 times: on the toilet, in the car or at the dinner table. But, have we ever stopped to ask ourselves - is there a time and a place? Is our mobile phone use affecting our health and wellbeing?

It’s People Like Us is a 22 minute documentary that follows

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: “'ve lost situational awareness, you don't know everything around, you're kind of in a fog and it takes time for that fog to lift…” - David Strayer - Cognition and Neural Science, University of Utah

1. Respond to the following statements (be honest with yourself!)

Statement Always Sometimes Never
I have my mobile phone with me.      
I can leave my mobile phone behind when I do things.      
I become distracted by my mobile phone.      


2. After watching It’s People Like Us, reflect on the documentary by completing the following sentence stems:

I used to think….

Now I think…..


Respond in writing to the following prompt:

It’s People Like Us is a documentary about us and our phones. In your own words, what are three different things the documentary says about us and our phones?”

Provide evidence and examples from the documentary to support your response.

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