Year 5

Unit at a glance

This unit of work:

  • covers aspects of the three inquiry questions of the Year 5 civics and citizenship curriculum
  • contains 8 lessons
  • includes 2 informal assessment items and 1 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: inquiry questions
  • What is democracy in Australia and why is voting in a democracy important?
  • Why do we have laws and regulations?
  • How and why do people participate in groups to achieve shared goals?
Content descriptions
Knowledge and understanding

The key values that underpin Australia’s democracy (ACHASSK115)

Why regulations and laws are enforced and the personnel involved (ACHASSK117)

How people with shared beliefs and values work together to achieve a civic goal (ACHASSK118)

Inquiry and skills

Develop appropriate questions to guide an inquiry about people, events, developments, places, systems and challenges (ACHASSI094)

Locate and collect relevant information and data from primary sources and secondary sources (ACHASSI095)

Evaluating and reflecting
Work in groups to generate responses to issues and challenges (ACHASSI102)

Reflect on learning to propose personal and/or collective action in response to an issue or challenge, and predict the probable effects (ACHASSI104)

Present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of texts and modes that incorporate source materials, digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms and conventions (ACHASSI105)

Achievement standard
  • Note: Bold text = aspects of the curriculum covered by this unit

By the end of Year 5, students describe the significance of people and events/developments in bringing about change. They identify the causes and effects of change on particular communities and describe aspects of the past that have remained the same. They describe the experiences of different people in the past. Students explain the characteristics of places in different locations at local to national scales. They identify and describe the interconnections between people and the human and environmental characteristics of places, and between components of environments. They identify the effects of these interconnections on the characteristics of places and environments. Students identify the importance of values and processes to Australia’s democracy and describe the roles of different people in Australia’s legal system. They recognise that choices need to be made when allocating resources. They describe factors that influence their choices as consumers and identify strategies that can be used to inform these choices. They describe different views on how to respond to an issue or challenge.

Students develop questions for an investigation. They locate and collect data and information from a range of sources to answer inquiry questions. They examine sources to determine their purpose and to identify different viewpoints. They interpret data to identify and describe distributions, simple patterns and trends, and to infer relationships, and suggest conclusions based on evidence. Students sequence information about events, the lives of individuals and selected phenomena in chronological order using timelines. They sort, record and represent data in different formats, including large-scale and small-scale maps, using basic conventions. They work with others to generate alternative responses to an issue or challenge and reflect on their learning to independently propose action, describing the possible effects of their proposed action. They present their ideas, findings and conclusions in a range of communication forms using discipline-specific terms and appropriate conventions.

English curriculum (content descriptions)

Interacting with others

Use interaction skills, for example paraphrasing, questioning and interpreting non-verbal cues and choose vocabulary and vocal effects appropriate for different audiences and purposes (ACELY1796)

Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations for defined audiences and purposes incorporating accurate and sequenced content and multimodal elements (ACELY1700)

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

Resources required
      • Printed worksheets, assessment sheets and scenarios.
      • Capacity for whole class to watch PEO videos.
      • Computers/devices for students to conduct research.


Assessment and links to content descriptions
Assessment task (group assessment about what living in a democracy means to citizens)


      • describe the key values that underpin Australia’s democracy
      • develop appropriate questions to guide an inquiry about systems of government
      • locate and collect relevant information about democracy
      • present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of texts and modes.
Informal assessment specifically targeting content descriptions
Scenarios activity


      • explain why regulations and laws are enforced
      • work in groups to generate responses to issues and challenges.

(English Curriculum) students:

      • use interaction skills, for example paraphrasing, questioning and interpreting non-verbal cues and choose vocabulary and vocal effects appropriate for different audiences and purposes (ACELY1796).
Getting involved activity


      • explore how people with shared beliefs and values work together to achieve a civic goal
      • reflect on learning to propose personal and/or collective action in response to an issue or challenge, and predict the probable effects.


Lessons 1 to 2 – Living in a democracy
      1. Give students the Concept map to complete for the first time, including Date 1 (this will be revisited at the end of the unit to show student progress). Explain to students that it’s ok not to know the answers now. The point of the concept map is to see what students already know and to show them how much they’ve learnt by the end of the unit.
      2. Hand out Worksheet 1. Brainstorm ‘What is democracy?’ in pairs and then as a class before giving definition: A democracy is a system of government in which the people have a say about how they are governed. As a class, discuss the concepts and examples of freedoms and responsibilities of ‘living in a democracy’. Ask students to work individually or in pairs to complete the table. Note: this worksheet has three differentiated options, gradually increasing in difficulty from A to C.
      1. If you would like your class to explore the concept of democracy further, play the Australian Electoral Commission’s Democracy concept game with the class. This can be found in Topic 1: Activity 1 at education.aec.gov.au/democracy-rules/
Lessons 3 to 4 – Democracy assessment
      1. Go through the assessment and rubric with the class. Explain that as well as answering the questions ‘What are the freedoms of living in a democracy’ and ‘what are the responsibilities of living in a democracy’, groups should think of another question to ask about democracy and include the answer to this.
      2. Divide the class into groups of 2-4 students and give groups 2-3 lessons to complete the assessment.
      3. Ask groups to present their assessment items to the class.
Lesson 5 – Why do we have laws?
      1. Ask students to ‘think, pair, share’: ‘what is the difference between laws and rules?’ For example, rules can change depending on who makes and enforces them—each house or school might have different rules. Laws are official ways to define how people and organisations are expected to behave. Laws can apply to everyone in the community.
      2. Ask students to ‘think, pair, share’: ‘why do we have laws?’
      3. Divide the class into groups of 4-5 students. Give each group a different scenario. Ask groups to discuss their scenario and answer the questions attached.
      4. Ask each group to share their scenario and ideas with the class.
      5. Ask the class to think about those scenarios to brainstorm the following questions:
        • Why do we need laws?
        • What could happen without laws?
        • Who needs to follow laws? Why?
      6. *Optional activity – Ask the class to discuss: What happens if a law is unfair? What can people do to change an unfair law?

Lessons 6 to 8 – Getting involved

      1. Watch the PEO Getting Involved video
      2. As a class, brainstorm issues in your school or local community and select one that is important to students. For example, children not wearing helmets on bicycles in the neighbourhood.
      3. Brainstorm ways the class could get involved in this issue. For example, writing a petition to the council, writing a letter to the local newspaper, creating a campaign to target children’s behaviour.
      4. Discuss what might be the most effective way to:
        • get a response from your (local, state/territory or federal) representatives
        • raise public awareness
        • create media attention
        • target young people
        • change people’s behaviour.
      5. As a class, get involved and follow through with an activity to address the issue. For example, create posters to put around the school to advertise ‘wearing a helmet’ and include the message at a school assembly and in the school newsletter.
      6. Ask students to complete the Concept map, including Date 2.

For resources to cover the content description The key features of the electoral process in Australia (ACHASSK116) go to the Australian Electoral Commission’s educational resources.

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