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 will watch the documentary It’s People Like Us, then synthesise their understanding in a ‘See-Think-Wonder’ visible thinking routine. They will dig deeper into the film by watching About the Documentary, then evaluate the effectiveness of the documentary by responding in writing to three prompts. They will then reconsider their ‘wonderments’ and make a plan to find out more.


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.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 English

  • Analyse how the text structures and language features of persuasive texts, including media texts, vary according to the medium and mode of communication (ACELA1543)

Year 8 English

  • Investigate how visual and multimodal texts allude to or draw on other texts or images to enhance and layer meaning (ACELA1548)

Relevant parts of Year 7 achievement standards: Students understand how text structures can influence the complexity of a text and are dependent on audience, purpose and context.

Relevant parts of Year 8 achievement standards: Students understand how the selection of text structures is influenced by the selection of language mode and how this varies for different purposes and audiences.

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

Topic: Social Issues.

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

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – teachers will be required to 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. Sticky notes, markers, butcher’s paper (x3 sheets), Blu-Tack.

Related Professional Development: Teach Persuasive Language Using Documentaries 

Keywords: social issues, community safety, responsibilities, community engagement, mobile phone, 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.

Success criteria:

  • Students describe what they see, think and wonder about a documentary text.
  • Students describe the purpose of It’s People Like Us.

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 five real Australians who, just like us, have found themselves drawn into their screens, sometimes at the expense of common sense and self preservation.

The documentary forms part of the TACs ‘Towards Zero’ vision for a future free of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. The vision acknowled

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: “This is setting off my anxiety!! Seriously! Put down your phones!!” - Naomi, commenting on Its People Like Us.

1. After watching About the Documentary, consider the key messages in the clip and respond to the following questions:

What did the Lead Director say about the purpose of the documentary?
Do you think that the documentary has achieved this goal?
What other goal/s does the documentary achieve?

2. Re-read the ‘wonder’ sticky notes and write down any that have been answered by the content of the vignette. Then, write down how the vignette answered it.

Your wonderments about It's People Like Us: How the clip About the Documentary 'answered' your wonderments:


Complete the following sentence stems:

When I watch It’s People Like Us, I wonder....

I can find out more about this by…

Find out more about your wonderment before the next lesson.


Screen It’s People Like Us to people at home, then as

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