HomeThe UnitsTeachers NotesState & Territory LinksKey TermsA Guide to Government & Law in AustraliaSelected SourcesESL InformationCivics and Citizenship Education About DDUDownloadsSitemapSearchHelpDiscovering Democracy Banner

Focus question 3: How do groups get things done?

Teaching and learning activities

Activity 1: Working together (45 min) ESL Activity 1
Activity 2: Planning the Environmental Clean Up (60 min) ESL Activity 2
Activity 3: Using the CD ROMs (20 min) ESL Activity 3
Assessment ESL Assessment
Activity 4: Undertake the Environmental Clean Up (time will vary) ESL Activity 4
Activity 5: After the clean up (60 min) ESL Activity 5

Handout 12 Video

Activity 1: Working together (45 min)

1a Distribute and read Handout 12 (one copy between two) to provide the class with some prior knowledge before watching the 'Joining In' segment of the Discovering Democracy Primary Video.

1b View the video segment on the Clean Up Australia Campaign. It illustrates the idea that people working on the video together as a group can achieve more than one person alone.

If the planned class activity is a clean up, highlight the range of possible tasks to be undertaken.

Ask students to note the age range of the people who wanted to join in to clean up Australia and the range of ways they contributed to make the event successful.

1c Ask students to reflect on the outcome of the campaign if only one age group had participated, for example all students, or all older people or all sponsorship contributions. Discuss why activities are more successful when all kinds of people join in with a range of things to offer to the activity, eg time, money, equipment, expertise, labour. Highlight that people participate in community groups in ways that they can.

Activity 2: Planning the Environmental Clean Up (60 min)

2a Refer back to the stated purpose of the activity, in this case it is:

'The aim of the Environmental Clean Up is to beautify the worst area of the school by planning and undertaking environmental action for the school community.'

2b As a class, visualise and document what the Environmental Clean Up will look like. For example, the time of day, what people will be doing, the helpers, where and how it will all happen. Then identify, and list on the board, the tasks needed to achieve the purpose of the activity. These tasks are then taken by the most appropriate committee to form the basis of their work.

Handout 132c Students in their committee groups detail and add to the tasks using the who, what, where, why, when and how questions. Distribute the action plans (Handout 13) for groups to draft their plans.

2d Feedback from each committee is provided to the Management Committee by the leader (or nominee) of each committee. The Management Committee amends or suggests amendments to the action plans. The Management Committee draws up and displays a time line of what needs to be done by when so that all committee members clearly understand when their contribution is expected.

Allow adequate time for the organisation of the activity so that students understand the way that meetings and organisation happen. Regular meetings will ensure that the parts to be organised are being undertaken as needed. Students may need some extra support along the way. Parent volunteers may be able to support the group tasks. However, it is important that the responsibility for action is with the students.

Activity 3: Using the CD ROMs (20 min)

Stories Parliament

Because the committees will have different tasks to do at different times, access to the CD ROMs will be a valuable part of the learning at this time. The Parliament at Work CD ROM segment 'Save the Wombat' and the Stories of Democracy CD ROM segment for this unit will support flexible committee work and provide students with further extension work activities on the unit.


Because the students will be working in small groups, teachers will have opportunities to observe and record individual participation skills. Students also continue to record summaries of their committee activities in their journal. Assess using the following criteria. The student can demonstrate an understanding of:

  • the purpose of the committee
  • what this committee has to do
  • what they have to do as an individual
  • how they feel about the committee work
  • how well the committee leader represents their views at the Management Committee meeting,
    why they feel this way and what they can do about it
  • what they have learnt about groups from the CD ROMs.

Activity 4: Undertake the Environmental Clean Up (time will vary)

Consider videotaping or photographing the activity and/or inviting local media.

Activity 5: After the clean up (60 min)

Committees regroup to determine how to finalise all components of the activity, for example:

  • thanking all helpers
  • returning things in good shape
  • reporting outcomes to others, eg assembly
  • newsletter article to promote activities
  • celebrations.

The clean up is concluded.

ESL activities

Back to 'Joining In - At a glance'

AcknowledgementsLegal Information