Unit at a glance
This unit of work:
- covers two of the three key inquiry questions of the Year 10 civics and citizenship curriculum
- contains six lessons
- includes one informal assessment item and one formal assessment item (with marking rubric)
- contains background information for teachers and a list of resources.
How this unit meets curriculum requirements
Civics and citizenship curriculum
Year-level description: key inquiry questions
- How is Australia’s democracy defined and shaped by the global context?
- How are government policies shaped by Australia’s international legal obligations?
Civics and citizenship knowledge and understanding
Government and democracy
The key features and values of Australia’s system of government compared with at least ONE other system of government in the Asia region (ACHCK090)
The Australian Government’s role and responsibilities at a global level, for example provision of foreign aid, peacekeeping, participation in international organisations and the United Nations (ACHCK091)
Laws and citizens
How Australia’s international legal obligations shape Australian law and government policies, including in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (ACHCK093)
Civics and citizenship skills
- Note: Bold text = aspects of the curriculum covered by this unit
Questioning and research
Develop, select and evaluate a range of questions to investigate Australia's political and legal systems (ACHCS095)
Identify, gather and sort information and ideas from a range of sources and reference as appropriate (ACHCS096)
Analysis, synthesis and interpretation
Critically evaluate information and ideas from a range of sources in relation to civics and citizenship topics and issues (ACHCS097)
Problem-solving and decision-making
Recognise and consider multiple perspectives and ambiguities, and use strategies to negotiate and resolve contentious issues (ACHCS099)
Communication and reflection
Present evidence-based civics and citizenship arguments using subject-specific language (ACHCS101)
By the end of Year 10, students compare and evaluate the key features and values of systems of government, and analyse the Australian Government’s global roles and responsibilities. They analyse the role of the High Court and explain how Australia’s international legal obligations influence law and government policy. Students evaluate a range of factors that sustain democratic societies.
When researching, students evaluate a range of questions to investigate Australia’s political and legal systems and critically analyse information gathered from different sources for relevance, reliability and omission. They account for and evaluate different interpretations and points of view on civics and citizenship issues. When planning for action, students take account of multiple perspectives and ambiguities, use democratic processes, and negotiate solutions to an issue. Students develop and present evidenced-based arguments incorporating different points of view on civics and citizenship issues. They use appropriate texts, subject-specific language and concepts. They evaluate ways they can be active and informed citizens in different contexts.
Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), downloaded from the Australian Curriculum website on 24.10.17 (curriculum version 8.3)
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Before you begin
Background information for teachers
PEO Fact Sheets
- Printed worksheets and assessment sheets.
- Computers for students to conduct research.
Assessment and links to achievement standards
- compare and evaluate the key features and values of systems of government
- evaluate a range of questions to investigate Australia’s political system
- critically analyse information gathered from different sources for relevance and reliability
- use appropriate texts, subject-specific language and concepts.
Informal assessment specifically targeting achievement standards
- analyse the Australian Government’s global roles and responsibilities
- explain how Australia’s international legal obligations influence law and government policy
- take account of multiple perspectives and ambiguities, use democratic processes, and negotiate solutions to an issue.
Lesson 1 – What are the key features of Australia’s system of government?
- Divide the class into small groups and allocate a different question from the following list to each group. Students can research the answers using the PEO’s Quick Answers and Fact Sheets.
- What is Australia’s system of government and how is the Australian Government formed?
- What are the levels of government in Australia and what are their roles and responsibilities?
- What does ‘separation of powers’ mean and how does it work in practice?
- Who is Australia’s head of state and what is their role?
- What is the Australian Constitution and what is its role in our system of government?
- What is the Cabinet and what is its role in the Australian Government?
- Ask each group to think of an additional question about Australia’s system of government to research and answer.
- As a class, discuss students’ findings.
Lessons 2 to 3 – Comparing the key features of Australia’s system of government with another system of government in the Asia region (Assessment)
Hand out and explain the research project. Students can be given two to three lessons to work on this and can complete it for homework. This project has differentiation options, including writing an essay or presenting a creative response with rationale. An essay and rationale planning sheet is included to help those students who require further scaffolding.
The following Closer Look paper could be used by students to start their research.
- PEO Closer Look: Parliament of Australia and People's Consultative Assembly of the Republic of Indonesia (MPR)
Lesson 4 – Australia’s international responsibilities
Divide students into small groups and distribute the worksheet for group completion. Ask groups to share their decisions with the class, using a creative response. For example, students could explain their conclusions with a pie chart that shows how they would spend their budget, or present a pitch which addresses the worksheet questions.
Lessons 5 to 6 – How international law shapes Australian law
- Review the previous lesson about Australia’s global role. Brainstorm with the class about some issues that the international community may need to cooperate on – for example, human rights, climate change, disease control, use of nuclear weapons or drug smuggling.
- Explain to students that the international community creates treaties, conventions and declarations to address human rights issues. Distribute the international law sheet to students (noting there are two differentiated options). Discuss how this international law system works.
- As a class, using the Attorney-General’s Department website page, ask students to ‘think, pair, share’ about why these international agreements were created and why Australia is a party to them (look at the page as an overview; it’s not necessary for students to click on each link).
- As a class, use the extracts information sheet to explore sections from the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Persons in more detail. What are the key requirements of both?
Note: this extracts information sheet has two differentiated options.
- Ask students to work in pairs to brainstorm the types of laws Australia might need to make to comply with this Convention and Declaration. Ask pairs to share with the whole class, writing ideas on the board.