Years 3 – 4
Lesson 8: Media Influences

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1. Lesson Overview
2. Australian Curriculum Links
3. Lesson Plan: Suggested sequence of learning experiences

Downloadable reference materials

Lesson 8 Activity 1 [PDF] [Word Doc]
Lesson 8 Activity 1 (Teacher’s version) [PDF] [Word Doc]
Lesson 8 Activity 2 [PDF] [Word Doc]
Lesson 8 Language [PDF] [Word Doc]

1. Lesson Overview

Length of Lesson

60 mins (plus extra time to watch ‘Finding Nemo’ film)

Prior knowledge (what should the teacher have already covered)

  • Students have watched ‘Finding Nemo’.

Resources Required

  • Action Plan chart.
  • DVD – ‘Finding Nemo’.
  • DVD player and screen.
  • Character review handout.
  • Teacher’s copy of character review.

Key Concepts

  • The media, television and film shape our perceptions of other people.
  • The ways a range of texts (e.g. newspaper articles, current affair programs, film industry) describe people with disabilities is related to social attitudes and beliefs that reflect community standards.

Learning Outcomes

LO1: Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding about the impact of the media on their thoughts and feelings.
LO2: Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding about the impact of character portrayal in the film industry on their thoughts and feelings about disability.


2. Australian Curriculum Links

HPE Subject Area Years 3 and 4

ACPPS037: Describe how respect, empathy and valuing diversity can positively influence relationships

General Capabilities

PSC: Personal and Social Capability EU: Ethical Understanding L: Literacy CCT: Critical and Creative Thinking N: Numeracy

By the end of year 4 (level 3)
Work collaboratively: describe characteristics of cooperative behaviour and identify evidence of these in group activities.
EU: Recognise ethical concepts: identify ethical concepts, such as equality, respect and connectedness, and describe some of their attributes.
EU: Explore ethical concepts in context: discuss actions taken in a range of contexts that include an ethical dimension
EU: Empathise with others: imagine and describe the feelings of others in a range of contexts.
IU: Challenge stereotypes and prejudices: explain the dangers of making generalisations about individuals and groups.
L: Use language to interact with others: use pair, group and class discussion about learning area topics as learning tools to explore and represent ideas and relationships, test possibilities and to prepare for creating texts.
L: Understand learning area vocabulary: use growing subject-specific vocabulary to read, discuss and write about learning area topics.
CCT: Identify and clarify information and ideas: identify and clarify relevant information and prioritise ideas.

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

1 mins

Teacher’s notes: The content of this lesson is based on the movie ‘Finding Nemo’. A preview of the movie (or parts of the movie) is required before delivering this lesson. You can pause the movie throughout to discuss examples of inclusion, diversity, taking risks, forming friendships, acknowledging similarities and differences, using abilities, being accepting etc.

State the learning intention: In the previous lesson, we started to look at the power of language and the importance of using respectful language so that people feel welcome and included in a community. Today we are going to further explore how language and images are used to portray disability in the media, with a focus on the film industry. We will be reviewing the movie, ‘Finding Nemo’ and drawing conclusions about the portrayal of disability reflected in the movie.

34 mins

Activity 1: Character descriptions

Lesson 8 Activity 1 [PDF] [Word Doc]
Lesson 8 Activity 1 (Teacher’s version) [PDF] [Word Doc]

Establish context: Communities Every day the words you hear and read and the images you see impact on your thoughts and feelings. Also, the words you use and the way you say and write words impact on thoughts and feelings of the people around you. This is why language is very powerful in forming opinions, beliefs and attitudes. Language can make an inclusive community where everyone is treated with respect, or create a community that excludes people and does not respect the rights of individuals.

Assessable Outcome TickLO1 Class discussion: Can you think of examples when words and/or images influence what we think and believe? If so, how? eg. Radio, television, movies, newspapers, magazines, advertisements, social media, teachers, parents, friends, religious leaders, political leaders. How? – through persuasive language, using fear and guilt campaigns, targeting our vulnerabilities, following the crowd and jumping on the band wagon etc)

Main point to highlight:

  • The words we hear and the images we see impact on our attitudes and opinions.

The media is a powerful influence on shaping our attitudes towards people with disability. There are also many examples in literature that portray people with disability as a burden on society or as someone who should not be seen or heard. For example, the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame where Quasimodo, a person with a physical abnormality, was told by his father that he was a monster and would be rejected by the outside world. This gives the viewers images and perceptions of disability as being frightening, helpless, isolating, different, hidden and pitiful.

Main point to highlight:

  • The media is a powerful influence on shaping people’s attitudes towards people with disability.

We are now going to look at a movie that you are familiar with – ‘Finding Nemo’. We will examine the characters in the movie and make decisions about whether the portrayal of disability is positive or negative in this film.

Assessable Outcome TickLO2 Refer to lesson 8 handout and teachers notes. Students complete a character review and record responses on the lesson handout provided.

Teacher’s notes: a completed exemplar of the character review is provided for teacher reference.

Class discussion: Discuss responses to handout.

25 mins


Resources: Lesson 8 Activity 2 [PDF] [Word Doc]

Assessable Outcome TickLO1, LO2 Use the strategy of RECALL, RECOUNT, and RESPOND to reflect on the key messages from the film. Refer to the list of key messages, or get students to develop their own list. (Copies of list on page 8 of lesson plan)

Teacher’s notes: You do not have to get through all of these key messages – just as many as time permits. This activity provides an opportunity to differentiate – for those who need structure – provide the key messages. For those who can identify key messages themselves, get them to come up with their own list.

Key Messages:

  • If we put the person first (or fish!), not the disability, then this is what we will see.
  • Everyone has different abilities that make some things easier and some things harder.
  • When we accept and acknowledge differences, we create an inclusive community.
  • Just because someone has a disability does not mean they are not brave and cannot overcome obstacles.
  • Living with a disability involves taking risks.
  • Including people with disability involves taking risks.
  • The experience of the person with disability is strongly influenced by the attitudes and reactions of the people they come into contact with.
  • Our lives are enriched when we live peacefully in an inclusive, diverse society.
  • If you have a positive attitude, you can overcome obstacles and achieve great things.
  • If we focus on the things we can do instead of the things we cannot do, we create opportunities, not barriers.

Step 1: RECALL: recall scenes (or a scene) in the movie that captures a key message or point of view from the movie. Record in your workbook.

Step 2: RECOUNT: discuss the key message or point of view with your partner and expand on your ideas – add more examples from the film.

Step 3: RESPOND: discuss the key message with the class (or larger group)

Repeat this activity if time permits to further explore key messages from the film.

Main point to highlight:

  • The film portrayed disability positively and made disability unnoticeable, and just a part of human diversity.

Conclusion and reflection
5 mins

Assessable Outcome TickLO1, LO2, Check for understanding:

Get the students to complete their entry for the Action Plan for the L: Language theme. Also complete the class entry for the Action Plan chart.


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