Discovering Democracy Units
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Should the People Rule?

National, state and territory curriculum links

National | ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA


The nationally developed Statements of Learning for Civics and Citizenship includes three ‘Aspects’ that are defined at four levels of schooling (ie Year 3, 5, 7 and 9). The Year 7 Statements of Learning relate to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Should the People Rule?’

Year 7

Government and law

  • Students explore the principles underpinning democracy and civil society in Australia, the purpose of the Australia constitution and the roles of each level of government (eg types of governance; the role of key Australian institutions; representative democracy; universal adult suffrage; elections; referenda).

Historical perspectives

  • Students explore the impact of particular people, events and movements on Australian identities and democracy and consider ways in which people were governed in ancient times (eg how people in ancient societies were governed).

Australian Capital Territory

The Every chance to learn: Curriculum framework for ACT schools has essential content within the early adolescence band relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Should the People Rule?’

Early adolescence band

ELA 21 The student understands about Australia and Australians.


  • 21.EA.4 Past and contemporary people, movements, events and ideas which shaped Australia as a nation with a sense of Australian identity.

ELA 22 The student understands and values what it means to be a citizen in a democracy.

Democratic features

  • 22.EA.1 The purpose of democratic civil society and the origins of law and democracy, including comparison of governments in ancient societies with contemporary Australia.
  • 22.EA.2 Features of Australia’s representative democracy (eg elections; representative democracy).

Democratic principles

  • 22.EA.7 The principles and institutions that underpin Australia’s representative democracy and civil society (eg parliament, free and fair elections).


  • 22.EA.15 Compare democratic and non-democratic systems of government.

ELA 23 The student understands world events and issues.

Historical and cultural context

  • The main features of some ancient and medieval societies (eg Athens and Sparta) and their relevance for contemporary societies.


  • 23.EA.10 Use a range of historical sources to investigate world events and issues.

New South Wales

Learning outcomes within Stage 4 of the History 7–10 Syllabus are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Should the People Rule?’.

Stage 4


Civics and Citizenship is a key focus of the syllabus (eg effects of events on people’s rights and responsibilities; different experiences of citizenship and forms of government in civilisations of the past).

  • 4.1 Describes and explains the nature of history, the main features of past societies and periods and their legacy (eg Ancient Greece – civics and citizenship; rights and freedoms; beliefs and values; historical legacy).
  • 4.4 Identifies major periods of historical time and sequences people and events within specific periods of time.

Northern Territory

Student learning outcomes within Bands 3 and 4 of the Studies of Society and Environment Learning Area of the Northern Territory Curriculum Framework are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Should the People Rule?’.

Band 3

Social Systems and Structures

Time, Continuity and Change

  • Soc 3.1 Investigate the past and how events have impacted upon individuals and groups (eg key events and people in ancient civilisations).

Band 4

Social Systems and Structures

Civics, Governance and Social Justice

  • Soc 4.3 Explains the roles, rights and responsibilities of citizens in Australia’s political and legal systems (eg the history of democracy and its key principles).


Student learning outcomes within Level 5 of the Studies of Society and Environment Years 1 to 10 Syllabus are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Should the People Rule?’.

Level 5

Time, Continuity and Change

  • TCC 5.1 Students use primary and secondary evidence to identify the development of ideas from ancient to modern times.

South Australia

Standard 4 in Society and Environment of the South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability Framework is relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Should the People Rule?’.

Standard 4

Time, continuity and change

  • 4.3 Interprets people’s motives and actions from perspectives of power, and relates this to future possibilities using a historical or contemporary event or issue.

Social systems

  • 4.10 Analyses differences between political, legal and social systems and people’s rights and responsibilities (eg political rights and responsibilities).


Strands and performance criteria at Standard 4 in the Society and History Syllabus of The Tasmanian Curriculum are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Should the People Rule?’.

Standard 4

Strand 2 Democratic values and processes

  • Students understand democratic values and processes in society, government and law (eg Stage 10: identify, compare and contrast past and present democracies; Stage 11: identify how modern democracies are influenced by past democracies. Also operation and purpose of referenda in Australia).

Strand 6 Historical inquiry

  • Students undertake historical inquiries in relation to continuity and change in society (eg how people in ancient societies lived and were governed compared to Australians today).

Strand 8 Communication

  • Students acquire, critically examine and communicate information.


Standards in the domains of Civics and Citizenship and the Humanities – History within the Victorian Essential Learning Standards are relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Should the People Rule?’.

Level 5

Civics and Citizenship

Civic knowledge and understanding

  • Students explain the origins and features of representative government (eg Ancient Greece; how Australia democracy developed from an autocracy to a modern democracy). They explain key features of Australian government including the responsibilities of the levels of government, the houses of parliament, political parties and the way that citizens are presented. They identify and question the features and values of Australia’s political and legal systems.

The Humanities – History

Historical knowledge and understanding

  • Students analyse and describe key events in ancient and medieval societies (eg ancient Greece, medieval England). They use a variety of sources to describe key aspects of these societies. They analyse the ways that ancient and medieval societies were governed, identify political features and explain the nature of the political system, the dominant groups and how they established and maintained power. Students demonstrate understanding of key concepts such as democracy and governance, and explain the influences of ancient and medieval societies on contemporary societies.

Historical reasoning and interpretation

  • Students frame key research questions, plan their investigations and report on their findings. They use a range of primary and secondary sources (including visual sources) that record features of the societies in their investigations. They identify the content, origin, purpose and context of historical sources. They evaluate historical sources for meaning, point of view, values and attitudes.

Western Australia

The K–10 Society and Environment Syllabus (2007) is consistent with other Department of Education and Curriculum Council frameworks and progress maps. There are developmental progressions of broad understandings in a number of strands relevant to the Discovering Democracy unit, ‘Should the People Rule?’.

Year 8

Time, continuity and change

Understanding the past

  • Methods for sequencing the past (eg people, events and ideas are linked to historical time periods).

Continuity and Change

  • A sense of heritage can result from continuity of people’s actions, beliefs, values and ideas (eg traditions such as egalitarianism or political institutions).

Interpretations and perspectives

  • That interpretations and perspectives of history vary (eg that evidence is used to understand past people, events and ideas).

Natural and Social Systems

Political and Legal Systems

  • The elements and processes of government and governance (eg characteristics of different types of regimes such as totalitarianism, democracy, monarchy, juntas). The elements and processes of law making and law enforcement.

Active Citizenship

  • When teaching history, students should be taught the values and processes of social justice, sustainability and democratic process in how people, events and ideas of the past can be used to trace the development of democracy that has evolved over time.
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