This unit of work contains 9 lessons aligned to the Year 9 Australian Civics and Citizenship Curriculum. It includes informal assessment items and a formal assessment item with marking rubric. It also contains background information for teachers and a list of resources.
Before you begin
Background information for teachers
- Printed worksheets and assessment sheets available in the toolkit.
- Computers/devices for students to conduct research.
Lesson 1 – What are political parties?
Ask students to read the Political parties fact sheet.
Use the Create political parties Classroom activity to explore the role of political parties and independents in Australia's system of government.
Lesson 2 – What is the role of parliamentary parties?
Discuss the formation of government using the Government fact sheet.
With the overarching idea of the 'role of political parties and independent representatives in Australia's system of government', divide the class into small groups of 2 to 4 students. Assign each group one concept to research from the following list:
- the opposition
- parliamentary majority
- hung parliament
- minority government
Ask students to develop questions to investigate their concept. Give them time to conduct research before they share their findings with the class. Students can begin by using:
- The Parliament and its people and How Parliament works sections of the PEO website
- House of Representatives Infosheets
- Detailed information about Hung parliaments and minority governments
- Detailed information about Independent representatives.
As a class, create a mind map to connect the concepts.
Lesson 3 – Developing policy and putting it into action
Divide students into small groups and distribute Worksheet 1: Developing policy and putting it into action. Ask students to complete the worksheet using the following fact sheets:
Conduct a class discussion using the focus questions on the worksheet to get you started.
Lesson 4 – How does the Parliament use majority rule to make decisions?
Use the Explore decision making Classroom activity to explore how Parliament uses majority rule to make decisions.
Lesson 5 – The Senate
Run a Senate role-play using the Make a law: Senate Classroom activity. Discuss how independents and members of minor parties might hold the balance of power in the Senate when the major parties disagree with one another.
Lessons 6 to 8 – How are citizens' political choices shaped?
Research project assessment
Hand out and explain the Assessment. Students can be given 2 to 3 lessons to work on this and can complete it for homework. This project includes differentiation options, including writing an essay or creating a political cartoon or advertisement with a rationale. An essay and rationale planning sheet is included to help those students who require further scaffolding.
Lesson 9 – Policies of political parties
Hold a class discussion about the different policies of political parties. Address the following questions:
- What are the public perceptions of each party's policies?
- How accurate are these perceptions?
- How do the public find out about party policies?
- Which sources of information are more accurate or reliable?
As a class, compare and contrast the various policies of different political parties on one or more of the following issues:
- asylum seekers
- climate change
- national security
- university education
- mental health funding.
Were the differences or similarities between the parties' policies surprising? Why or why not?
Learning outcomes for assessments
Formal assessment—with curriculum aligned rubric
Students research how citizens' political choices are shaped and present their findings as an essay, a cartoon or an election advertisement with rationale.
- identify and analyse the influences on people's political choices
- reflect on how groups participate and contribute to civic life
- critically analyse information gathered from different sources for relevance and reliability
- develop and present evidence-based arguments on civics issues.
Informal assessment—linked to curriculum content descriptions
'Developing policy and putting it into action'
Scaffolded small group discussion and presentation
- evaluate features of Australia's political system
- analyse a range of questions to investigate Australia's political system.