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Alfred Deakin High School

Alfred Deakin High School

Should the People Rule?

Teacher used the materials for the school curriculum unit on Government. 30 lessons with a Year 8 class were used in the trial – 6 lessons to Current Events and 24 for Government.

Lesson 1

Distributed Course Outline (Attachment 1)

Negotiated classroom rules. This is currently a standard lesson in all classes at Alfred Deakin High School. I used this lesson to demonstrate how decisions can be reached through consensus. The students came up with the following list of rules:

This class is not a typical class. They listen and reflect as a matter of course and there have only been a couple of instances during the term when I have found the need to refer students to the rules. I labour this point because the materials in Discovering Democracy are readily adaptable for this type of class.

Lesson 2

Explained Current Events and Meeting Procedure. This technique is explained in detail on the Parliamentary Education Office Web site at  In 1998 I was a Parliamentary Education Office Fellow and demonstrated this teaching method to the other fellows using a mixed group of students from Alfred Deakin High School. The accompanying paper will be published on the Home Page.

The technique involves each student collecting a current event from the newspaper and writing a summary and opinion of events described in the article. Results are discussed in a weekly class meeting. I purposely allow students to select articles based o their interests. The articles are not subject specific. This means they can speak with confidence to the group. They must be able to speak without reading their notes. I read each entry in Current Events books kept by each student. Skills relating to /Discovering about Democracy through Current Events Meetings include:

Lesson 3

Current Events

Lesson 4

Multiple Intelligences Survey. To increase student self awareness and awareness of strengths of all members of the class.

Lesson 5

Listening skills. Students completed a self-evaluation using a set of questions and listed ways of improving listening skills.

Lesson 6

Pre test on Government (Attachment 2)

Lesson 7

Simulation Starting Again (Attachment 3 – M Szabo, Simulation Starting Again Teaching Materials 1990)

Lesson 8

Current Events

Lesson 9

Continued Starting Again simulation. The movie version of Lord of the Flies could be viewed, time permitting. Events in Lord of the Flies depict similar events.

Lesson 10

Last lesson Friday. Some absent and others unable to present group solutions. Made up a political quiz on the spot to provide facts about the operation of government at local and national level. Learning factors about government is regarded as a boring activity. This quiz is similar to the pre test and contains such facts. Students like learning this type of information in this format. (Attachment 4)

Lesson 11

A 30 minute lesson because of School Assembly. Student led assemblies at Alfred Deakin High School demonstrate and encourage Civics and Citizenship activities on a school level. For example, this year some of the items relevant to Civics and Citizenship include introducing student nominees for selection for the Board and for the Student Representative council and a demonstration of the Peer Mediation Process being introduced by the Deputy Principal to train students so they can reduce conflict in the student body.

Lesson 12 and 13

I attended the three day camp for our Year 7 students. Students worked on the topics of Federation Page 96-97 SOSE Commerce, Jacaranda 1998. And the Constitution Pages 98-99 SOSE Commerce. This work was given so that students would have background knowledge to discuss the coming referendum and the preamble to the Constitution both of which are relevant Current Events and the study of Government.

Lesson 14

Students presented solutions to the Starting Again simulation. Peer Assessment was used. Each group assessed the performance of all the other groups. (Attachment 5). Within each group students each assessed the groupwork performance of other students in their group. (Attachment 6)

Lesson 15

Missed for Swimming Carnival.

Lesson 16

Handed out Assignment based on Page 15 Page 15 Discovering Democracy Lower Secondary Units (Attachment 7). I handed out a copy of a booklet containing "Should the People Rule" which students needed to read in conjunction with the assignment sheet. The assignment is open ended and assessment is based o process rather than content. The aim of this approach is to encourage the development of research skills in the library and on the net.

Lesson 17

Students decided on individual topics and copied out poster guides from the unit into their books. (Friday second last lesson).

Lesson 18

Current Events and further discussion of the assignment.

Lesson 19

Activity 1: Worked activities from Discovering Democracy "What has government got to do with you?". Students participated in discussion and enjoyed this lesson.

Activity 2: Public opinion and government decisions. Students became very involved in activities in the DD activity "The government passes a law banning all American TV shows from the end of this week." At the end of this long lesson students were taken to the library to select a book on their selected person for the assignment.

Lesson 20

Continued search for information in the library.

Lesson 21

School Assembly. Shortened lesson – discussion on assignment. Remind students of the need to share information and the need not to tell others their slogans so as not to spoil the element of surprise.

Lesson 22

Students moved into three groups in different locations for student information sharing sessions

  1. monarchy
  2. tyranny
  3. democracy

Lesson 23

Current Events

Lesson 24

Brief general discussion with the class showed the students were feeling confident with their assignment topics.

Students completed a survey on their view of politicians – New Perspectives in Social Education VASST 1996, page 43. I collated the findings during the lesson and used this as a basis for a class discussion of the role of the media in politics in influencing the way people perceive politicians.

A news article entitled "Jail to parliament a Long Road" (Attachment 8) was analysed to assist students in their understanding the following terms: the party system, pre selection of candidates for election, the coming NSW elections and the bicameral system in NSW and the Federal Governments. I chose this article because it was about a reformed criminal winning pre-selection for the Liberal Party to the NSW Upper House. An excellent human-interest story the article also contains interesting vocabulary such as cronyism and nepotism which the students enjoyed learning. Students were required to examine their values and consider the reasons why and why not Tony would make a good member of parliament.

Lesson 25

School Cleanup Day. Practical Citizenship Education. Once per term each teacher takes their class to clean u the school playground. Names go into a fortnightly draw for a canteen voucher as a reward for effort.

Lesson 26

Collection of Assignments and test. There was a lot of excellent work and most students handed in their work on time. I hung the posters up during the lesson while students completed their test (Attachment 9). One test question required students to observe all the slogans on the posters and to evaluate the effectiveness of the slogan.

The test was based on a news article entitled "Genes Blue" which is an article about Australia’s first consensus conference. (p40 Sydney Morning Herald 13/3/99). I had seen the advertisement in the Canberra Times inviting the public to apply to attend this conference on the 10th to 12th March, 1999. I considered applying to attend the conference until I noted it was on 3 school days. I selected this article because we had discussed the different methods of group decision making through consensus and voting in lesson 19. This article connected the theory of decision making in the lessons to the practice of decision making in Current Events lessons. When it is impossible to get consensus in a heated discussion a vote becomes the decision making instrument. Students learn about agreeing to disagree. This is what the Australian people do at every election and it is what the Houses of Parliament do every time there is a division in the House or the Senate.

I hung the posters in the three groups. The monarch posters were beautiful with interesting diagrams of family trees and majestic portraits of monarchs. The tyranny posters formed an interesting contrast. They were bold with strong colours and a lot of black headings and subheadings. The photographs of the tyrants showed men controlling everyone I sight. The democracy posters were informative with interesting slogans such as "Power to the People".

Lesson 27

I discussed the assessment criteria sheets with the class and explained how I had allocated marks.

Lesson 28

Will be a current events lesson. I will also return their tests.

Lessons 29 and 30

Student s will present their posters to the class explaining their views about democracy, monarchy and tyranny.

At the start of term 2 I will have silent reading of "Who Rules?" I will ask students to note each time they learn something new. After that I will do a course evaluation with student sand modify the course according to their suggestions.


As our school was lucky enough to receive a 1999 Discovering Democracy grant, funds were available to photocopy class sets of individual work units to use with students. Because the units are interconnected and the work within each unit is sequential teachers require class sets of work units. It would have been difficult to make a start on this unit of work without such a class set.

I believe this case study will help teachers because it demonstrates how sections of Discovering Democracy can be used in existing units of work. It also demonstrates that Discovering Democracy material work well with gifted and talented students. My case study is evidence of that.

If I used this material again I would continue the Current Events component and I would select suitable materials from Discovering Democracy to complement political events of the day.

I did not make use of the CDROMs. I hope by the next time I teach this unit I will have the knowledge and computing resources to make use of it.

I did not use the Guide to Government and Law in Australia because I did not have time to look at it. Alfred Deakin High School has purchased a class set of the Guide. Next time I teach this unit I will have students read pages 3 to 33 on "Who Rules?" I will do this at the start of the unit. I would like a set of multiple choice questions based on the text to be used as a comprehensive check.


Alfred Deakin High School
Studies of Society and Environment
Year 8 Unit and Assessment Outline

Semester Topics:

Government and Commerce
Need for organisation
Types of government
Functions of government
The constitution
Levels of government
Political parties
Influencing government
Producers and consumers in society
Setting up a business
Business success
Budgeting and accounting
The share market

Learning Outcomes:

The end of semester mark will be obtained using the following assessment items



  1. What is an MHR
  2. Name the 2 ACT MHRs
  3. Name the 2 ACT Senators
  4. Name the ACT local government body
  5. Who is the leader of our local parliament?
  6. From which party does she come?
  7. Name the Prime Minister
  8. From which political party does he come?
  9. Name the Federal leader of the opposition
  10. How many senators represent each Australian state
  11. How many senators represent the Northern Territory in Federal parliament?
  12. What is the total number of senators in the Upper House?
  13. There are 2 levels of government in the ACT. T/F?
  14. Name the 3 levels of government in the Australian states.
  15. Schools are the responsibility of which level of government in the ACT?
  16. Explain how bills become laws
  17. The Commonwealth of Australia was established on (date)?
  18. Australia is a……………of states.
  19. Defence is the responsibility of the ………………….levels of government.
  20. How was the site for the national capital chosen?
  21. List 4 reasons why the Australian colonies decided to federate.
  22. How often are federal elections held?
  23. Name 2 political parties in Australia
  24. Australia is an absolute/constitutional monarchy?
  25. Name the 4 arms of government
  26. Name 2 political parties in Australia
  27. Name the 2 houses of Federal parliament
  28. Which political party is currently in power in federal parliament?
  29. What is a double dissolution?
  30. Mabo is a case about?
  31. Which Prime Minister labelled Fraser as ‘Kerr’s cur’?
  32. What are the reserve powers of the Governor General?
  33. What is the external affairs power?
  34. Is voting compulsory for over 18s in Australia?
  35. What do the terms left wing and right wing mean?
  36. What is a donkey vote?
  37. What is pre-selection?
  38. What is the difference between a monarchy and a republic?
  39. What is a coalition government?


SIMULATION: "Staring Again"

Contact Alice Hayes, Alfred Deakin High School for further details.



  1. MHR stands for………
  2. The House of Representatives is part of…………………..
  3. The Chief Minister of the Legislative Assembly is………….
  4. From which party doe she come?
  5. Who is the Federal Opposition leader?
  6. Name the three levels of government in Australia starting with the highest level
  7. Name the 2 levels of government in the ACT
  8. Name the Prime Minister
  9. From which party does he come?
  10. How many ACT senators are there?
  11. How many NSW senators are there?
  12. What is the total number of senators in the Upper House? (Federal)
  13. The Commonwealth of Australia was formed in?
  14. When will the Centenary of Federation be held?
  15. Which level of government looks after defence?
  16. How often are Federal elections held?
  17. Is Australia a constitutional monarch or an absolute monarchy?
  18. What is the People’s House?
  19. What is the State’s House?
  20. Which Prime Minister labelled Fraser, ‘Kerr’s cur’?
  21. Is voting for over 18s compulsory in Australia? ……..In America?
  22. Is the Labor Party left wing or right wing?
  23. The power of the Federal Government to conduct negotiations and to sign overseas treaties comes from Section………………of the Constitution.
  24. Kerry Tucker is an MLA in the…………….party.
  25. Bill Stefaniak is the Minister for………………
  26. Bill Stefaniak is from the ……………party
  27. Paul Osborne is an…………
  28. Gary Humphries is an………………………
  29. The name of the ACT parliament is the……………………
  30. The Federal Minister for Education and Training is………………………..



For Simulation – Starting Again

Peer Assessment for Groups


While you re listening to the presentations assess each group according to the following criteria and record your response using grades in the spaces provided.

Assessment criteria:

  1. Did the speaker mention rules, ethics, values, goals?
  2. Were all sections completed?
  3. Did the speaker mention
  1. items rescued and uses
  2. a prioritised list of tasks
  3. time allocations’
  4. welfare of the group
  5. health of the group
  6. methods of communication
  1. Did the speaker display the amp of the island showing appropriate information?
  2. Were you able to hear and understand the speaker?
  3. Were ideas well thought out, imaginative and interesting?


A means excellent, outstanding

B means very good, a high standard

C means a good standard

D means a fair standard

E means failure to complete

1 2 3a 3b 3c 3d 3e 3f 4 5 6 Final Grade

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Group E

Group F

PEER ASSESSEMENT for individuals within each group:

Rate each member of your group according to the guide below

A – always works hard, is easy to get along with, is full of good ideas, allows and encourages other people to contribute and listens to their ideas, is able to motivate others.

B – works hard most of the time, is easy to get along with most of the time, encourages others to contribute, comes up with very good ideas.

C – works hard more than half of the time, makes some constructive and useful suggestions, encourages others sometimes

D – doesn’t do much work, interrupts with irrelevant ideas, makes few constructive suggestions, doesn’t listen to others very much

E – rarely does nay work, is difficult to get along with, never tries to come up with good ideas, wastes time, never listens to or encourages others.

Name Rating Scale

______________________________________ A B C D E




Using one of the three guides in Discovering Democracy page 15, 16 make a poster to illustrate one of the following forms of government.

Refer to booklet Should the People Rule and follow the instructions on page 15 re

Assessment Criteria:

10 marks for research preparation and planning

10 marks for effective demonstration of learning


Prepare a short talk following instructions on page 16.


News article by Paul Sheehan from the Sydney Morning Herald page 9, 13/3/99


NSW Parliament, Liberal, armed robber, liberal pre-selection, Upper House, coalition, accomplice, paroled, cronyism, nepotism.


What is your opinion of members of Parliament?

Where does this opinion come from?

Write a brief list of the main events in Tony’s life.

List reasons why Tony should not become an MP.

List reasons why Tony would make a good MP.

Would you vote for Tony? Explain why.



Instructions: Read the news article entitled Genes blue from page 40 Sydney Morning Herald 13/3/99. A two minute discussion for purposes of clarification will follow the reading. Write answers in complete sentences.

  1. Explain the meaning and purpose of a consensus conference.
  2. Explain another way of making group decisions. This way takes less time than attempting to reach consensus.
  3. What is the topic of the Consensus Conference?
  4. Where and why was consensus conferencing pioneered?
  5. Is the director of the CISRO Division for or against genetically modified food? What is the reason for his opinion?
  6. What proportion of processed foods on Australian supermarket shelves contain genetically engineered soybeans?
  7. What is a moratorium?
  8. What is the moratorium proposed by lobbyist Bob Phelps?
  9. What is the case for labelling GM foods?
  10. What is the case against labelling GM foods?
  11. What is the case for using GM foods?
  12. What is the case against using GM foods?
  13. What is your opinion about the usefulness or otherwise of the "citizens’ jury" process?
  14. With reference to the assignments: In your opinion which slogan best assists understanding the form of government? Give two reasons for your answer.
  15. List four points about the type of rule depicted in our poster. Each point should be a reason for whether you approve/disapprove of this type of government.
  16. Name the following people/positions.

From: Alice Hayes