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Year 5 and 6
Lesson 4: 'Can do' Culture (Part 1)

Everyone, Everyday Program logo large


  1. Lesson Overview
  2. Australian Curriculum Links
  3. Lesson Plan: Suggested Sequence of Learning Experiences

Downloadable Reference Materials

1. Lesson Overview

Length of Lesson

Prior Knowledge (What Should the Teacher Have Already Covered)

Resources Required

Key Concepts

Learning Outcomes

HPE Subject Area Years 5 and 6

Yr 5 Humanities and Social Sciences Subject Area

Yr 6 Humanities and Social Sciences Subject Area

General Capabilities by the End of Year 6 (Level 4):

Ethical Understanding
Personal and Social Capability
Critical and creative thinking

Assessable moments: As students undertake the learning experiences described in the lesson, take note of a range of assessable moments to provide information about student achievement. Ongoing assessment will provide evidence of the extent to which students achieve the identified Australian Curriculum links. Assessable moments are linked to learning outcomes and are identified by the following identifier: Assessable Outcome TickLO (insert number)

3. Lesson Plan: Suggested Sequence of Learning Experiences

Format Lesson Plan: Suggested Sequence of Learning Experiences

5 mins

State the learning intention: So far in the Everyone Everyday program we have begun to develop an understanding of what an inclusive community is, and explored our rights and responsibilities as a member of an inclusive society. Unfortunately, some groups in society experience exclusion in many aspects of life, including people with disability. Today we are going to define what disability is, and look at how the experience of disability has changed over the past 50 years.

20 mins

Activity 1: Defining Disability in the Everyone Everyday Program

Teacher’s notes: if the students participated in the Everyone Everyday years 3 and 4 program, they would be familiar with the definition of disability used throughout the program (see below). When talking about different types of disability, highlight that some disabilities can be hidden (not obvious, cannot see them) eg learning disability. In fact, 90% of disabilities are hidden. Please note that this unit does not go into depth about the medical side of disability, and focuses more on developing inclusive behaviours and attitudes, no matter what the challenges are. All people experience disability differently – always respond to the individual’s needs rather than making assumptions about their ability. Children are encouraged to find out more about specific disabilities through their own research and homework activities. When discussing definitions of disability, be mindful of the feelings of children in your class that may have this disability.

Establish context (show this whole section on electronic whiteboard):

A disability can be many things. It may mean a person needs to do everyday things in a different way. They may not be able to hear or see, or they may use a wheelchair or their hands to talk. It may also mean that someone has a harder time learning new things or communicating with others.

The Everyone Everyday program uses the definition of disability from the child–friendly version of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Peoples with Disabilities that was produced by UNICEF (2007).

"A person has a disability when they have difficulty to see, learn, walk, hear or do other activities. There are many types of disabilities and some we cannot see. Changes to buildings, rules, and attitudes are sometimes needed to help make sure a child with a disability can play, participate and go to school."

A person can have more than one disability. Some examples of disability include:

Sensory disability

  • Hearing disability – impairment in the functioning of the ear.
  • Vision disability – impairment in the functioning of the eye.

Cognitive disability

  • Acquired Brain Injury – injury to the brain sustained after birth (such as an accident or stroke) affecting a person’s ability to process information.
  • Intellectual disability – people with an intellectual disability have difficulties processing information.
  • Down’s syndrome – affects a person’s ability to process information.

Physical disability

  • Spinal cord Injuries: this includes quadriplegia (where a person has lost some or all of the feeling in their arms and legs) or paraplegia (where a person has lost some or all of the feeling and movement in their legs).
  • Cerebral Palsy: is when the part of the brain that controls and coordinates the muscle movement, reflexes and posture is affected. People with cerebral palsy may or may not have learning and speech difficulties.
  • Amputations: the term amputee refers to someone who has a major joint or limb missing (ie. Someone with a part of a finger missing would not be considered an ‘amputee’). Amputations can be the result of an accident, a disease or failure of a foetus to develop fully during the first three months of the mother’s pregnancy.

Communication and Social Interaction disability

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder – A person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder has difficulties in some areas of their development, but other areas may be unaffected. The area’s most affected are communication, social interaction and behaviour.

We are now going to work in pairs and explore what disability means to you.

Teacher’s notes: If you feel comfortable in doing so and have an example you can give from your experiences, respond to the following three questions to give the class an explicit example.

1. Prepare and share activity

Assessable Outcome TickLO1 Prepare: Students work with a partner to discuss what disability means to them. Respond to the following focus questions to get the students started. Students record responses.

Focus questions

  • Who do I know that has a disability?
  • What challenges might people with disability experience?
  • What is something interesting about disability?
  • When can people experience disability? (see class discussion below)

Extension question: Why is it important to know these things if we are striving to live in an inclusive community?

Assessable Outcome TickLO1 Share: Students share their responses with the rest of the class.

Discuss the responses as a class and use this activity to determine if the students talk about disability using positive or negative language.

2. Class discussion:

Assessable Outcome TickLO1 When can people experience disability?

It is important to think about disability as a part of the human experience. We can all experience disability at some stage of our lives. Sometimes disability is temporary (not lifelong, eg a broken limb), or permanent (lifelong from when injury was acquired eg loss of limb). Sometimes disability begins at birth; sometimes it is acquired later in life.

Ask students to give examples of when they have experienced disability, or a time when you have not been able to participate because of a condition they have, whether it is permanent or temporary. Ask how they felt about not being able to participate.

Main points to highlights:

  • It is important to define what disability is, and recognise what the challenges are so we can take action to build strong inclusive communities where people with disability have opportunities to participate.
  • People experience disability differently – always respond to the individual’s needs rather than making assumptions about their ability.
  • Disability is a part of the human experience. It can be temporary or permanent and can happen at any stage in life.
  • When someone experiences disability, they will have specific needs to be considered so that they can participate in community life.
20 mins

Activity 2: Changing the Experience of Disability Over Time.

Lesson 4 Activity 2 Pdf icon (42 kb)
Lesson 4 Activity 2 Word icon (181 kb)

Establish context: Changing community attitudes about an issue requires people power and changes in the rules that govern society. There have many examples of cultural shift in community attitudes. For example:

  • the environment and conservation movement has raised people’s awareness of the importance of protecting the environment, encouraging changes in behaviour relating to reducing green house gas emissions, conserving water, protecting natural landscapes, recycling, limiting pollution, saving wildlife habitats and protecting endangered species etc. This has required changes in laws and policies to support the new ways of thinking and community values.
  • The anti–smoking movement has implemented many strategies to change community attitudes toward smoking, including public awareness campaigns detailing the harm smoking causes health, introducing laws to limit advertising and marketing of tobacco products, and implementing laws governing smoke–free areas. Eg In the ACT, smoking is not permitted in enclosed public places, outdoor eating and drinking places and at underage functions.

Assessable Outcome TickLO2 Class discussion:

  1. Can you think of any other examples where there has been a cultural shift in community attitudes? (Example responses - gender equity attitudes (eg. women’s pay, involvement in the workforce: in the past, female teachers had to give up teaching when they got married to focus on home duties); giving all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders the right to vote in 1967).
  2. Why do you think community attitudes change over time? (Human rights becoming more valued – eg. Australia member of United Nations).

Refer to time line poster. Discuss how the experience of people with disability is changing over time.

Main point to highlight:

  • We still have a long way to go to build inclusive communities where everyone has opportunities to participate in activities where they learn, work and play.

Preparing for the Homework Activity
10 mins

to explain

Homework Activity: Finding Out About Disability

Lesson 4 Homework Activity Pdf icon (52 kb )
lesson 4 Homework Activity Word icon (79 kb )
Lesson 4 Homework Activity Teacher's Example

Assessable Outcome TickLO3 Establish context: There are many types of disabilities, and you are going to do some research to learn more about some of them including sensory disability (vision disability, hearing disability), physical disability (eg. impairment of bones, joints, muscles or nerves), and intellectual and learning disability, communication and social interaction disability (Autism, Asperger’s). We will start by learning more about Autism.

Learning about Autism: watch You tube segment on Autism:

Task: Student complete a KWL chart (Know, What, Learned). This chart records what they already Know, What they need to find out, and what they LEARNED.

Step 1: Hand out the blank template.

Step 2: Go through teacher example on vision disability with the class. When you discuss the What section (what they need to find out), get students to turn the page over so they cannot see what is recorded on their sheet, and brainstorm answers to this question.

Step 3: Ask children to work in pairs and choose a disability (or allocate a disability) from the following list. Ensure a mix of disabilities is included. Make the point that there are many more disabilities – these are just a selection.

  • Acquired Brain Injury.
  • Intellectual disability.
  • Hearing disability.
  • Cerebral palsy.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Down’s syndrome.
  • Spinal cord injury (eg paraplegia).

Teacher’s notes: Information has been provided that can be used for reference material; however, you may wish to get the students to source the information themselves through a variety of methods (eg. internet resources and other reference material).

Once the students have completed the matrix, get groups to discuss what they found and display the matrixes somewhere in the classroom.

Main point:

  • To create inclusive communities, we need to understand the needs of people with disability who live in the community, and take action to make sure the environment allows everyone to participate, everyday.

Conclusion and Reflection
10 mins
Class Action plan

Assessable Outcome TickLO1, LO2Class discussion

What did you learn today?
Why is this important?
What questions do you have?

Homework Activity Teacher's Example

KWL Chart (Teacher’s example) Disability: Vision Disability Group Members:

Know: What Do We Already Know?

People with a vision disability may experience partial or full blindness. There are aids for people who have a vision disability including using guide dogs and white canes.

What: What Do We Need To Find Out?

  1. What kind of disability is this?
  2. What is the effect of the disability?
  3. What challenges might people with this disability experience?
  4. What can we do to make sure people with this disability are included in day to day activities?
  5. What strengths might people with this disability develop?

Learn: What Did We Learn?

  1. Vision disability.
  2. A vision disability occurs when there is impairment in the functioning of the eye. People with a vision disability are unable to rely on the sense of sight to receive information from the world around them. Some people have total blindness, while other may have partial blindness.
  3. Challenges include reading written text (unless the person has a partial vision disability – and then text must be written in large bold clear writing), driving a car or other motorised vehicle, relying on vision to keep safe as a pedestrian, watching visual presentations (eg television), using visual stimulus as a as a learning tool, participating in games and sports that require the sense of sight.
  4. Interact with people with a vision disability, be respectful and have a positive attitude. Remember – every contact counts. Find ways to do things that do not rely on the sense of sight (ie make modifications, use assistive technology, provide access to texts that are written using Braille – series of raised dots representing letters and words). Promote access for people with a vision disability in the built environment (eg clear audio messages on public transport, road crossings with beeping devices to cross roads, clear walkways without trip hazards).
  5. Other senses are heightened including the sense of smell, hearing, and touch. This may lead to highly developed skills in areas of music (singing and playing a musical instrument), language, and comprehension.

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