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Focus question 5: How does the law rule in Australia today?

Teaching and learning activities

Activity 1: The law rules (50 min) ESL Activity 1
Activity 2: Who is responsible for what? (15 min) ESL Activity 2
Activity 3: Class debate ESL Activity 3
Activity 4: Top five ideas (45 min) ESL Activity 4


In the course of this unit we have looked at some of the key principles of the rule of law by contrasting the practice of the past with the present.

Activity 1: The law rules (50 min)

1a Refer students to 'The Law Rules' chart. Unfold the covered column entitled 'What I think'.

1b Divide the class into groups, each corresponding with one of the key issues described on the chart.

Students should refer to the information collated from their work with 'The Law Rules' interactive on the Stories of Democracy CD ROM.

1c Ask each group to consider the following questions:

  • Which story from the unit best illustrates that concept of law?
  • What does that story tell us about that concept?
  • What happens today?

1d Explain that they should write a statement about the importance of the principle of law in Australia as it is today. Their statement should use the examples drawn from the unit, but can include other material.

1e Each group should elect one or two spokespeople to present their ideas.

1f Discuss the points raised in the presentations with the class and add the key points to the chart.
Stories of Democracy
Handout 19

Activity 2: Who is responsible for what? (15 min)

Draw the following table on the board. Each group should complete it using the information covered in the unit and in Handout 19.

Who is responsible for the rule of law?
What do they do?
How do we make sure they do a good job?

Activity 3: Class debate

Conduct debates on the following topics:

3a Divide the class into groups of three or four students.

3b Tell students that they will be participating in a debate and that this means that they will need to use information from the unit, library research and by asking others, such as their parents, for their opinions.

3c Tell students that in a debate you try to win by convincing your audience that your side is right.

3d Give students time to research the debate.

3e In the debate itself one team agrees with the statement and one team disagrees with the statement.


The student can:

  • use evidence in building a case
  • understand at least one of the principles of a fair trial
  • communicate with the audience.

Activity 4: Top five ideas (45 min)

4a Ask students to look back at the sheets completed for Focus question 1, Activity 2 (the 'Hot potato' activity), where they wrote down their ideas about laws.

4b Ask students to each construct a new list based on what they have learned about the most important principles of law from the unit. They should rank at least five principles.

4c They should present this list as a poster, drawing on images and ideas discussed in the unit. Under each item in this list, ask students to write a caption to explain why they think that it is an important idea.


Assess the student posters using the following criteria. The student can:

  • illustrate key principles relating to the unit
  • use clear captions
  • use appropriate illustration.

ESL activities

Back to 'The Law Rules - At a glance'

AcknowledgementsLegal Information