Dying To Live - How Stories Change Minds

Dying To Live - How Stories Change Minds

Lesson 5 of 6 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 9 - 10
  • English
  • Persuasive writing
  • Social
  • Disability
  • Equality
  • Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • ...

Lesson summary

Students will consider how a story can change people’s minds. They will view a short clip from the documentary Dying to Live that features the story of Holly, the recipient of donated lungs. Students then watch a clip detailing research findings into how people’s brains can change when they are told stories with a plot that follows a specific dramatic arc. Students respond to the clip using a Seed Discussion Organiser, then dig deeper into how stories change minds by reading an article. Students then come together, and using the discussion seeds they wrote down as a guide, discuss what they have learned about how stories can change people’s minds.

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • understand how a story can people’s minds
  • understand more about organ and tissue donation, and the impact it can have on people’s lives

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • identify how a story can influence how people think
  • describe the change in their own thinking in response to a text

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian curriculum content descriptions: 

Year 9 English:

  • Explore and reflect on personal understanding of the world and significant human experience gained from interpreting various representations of life matters in texts (ACELT1635)
  • Investigate and experiment with the use and effect of extended metaphor, metonymy, allegory, icons, myths and symbolism in texts, for example poetry, short films, graphic novels, and plays on similar themes (ACELT1637

Year 10 English:

  • Evaluate the social, moral and ethical positions represented in texts (ACELT1812)
  • Identify, explain and discuss how narrative viewpoint, structure, characterisation and devices including analogy and satire shape different interpretations and responses to a text (ACELT1642

Syllabus outcomes: EN5-3BEN5-4BEN5-7DEN5-2AENLS-10BENLS-14DENLS-15D, ENLS-5AENLS-6AENLS-7A 

General capabilities: LiteracyEthical understanding

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students evaluate and integrate ideas and information from texts to form their own interpretations. They select evidence from texts to analyse and explain how language choices and conventions are used to influence an audience. They listen for ways texts position an audience.

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students develop and justify their own interpretations of texts. They evaluate other interpretations, analysing the evidence used to support them. They listen for ways features within texts can be manipulated to achieve particular effects.

Unit of work: Dying to Live – English – Year 9 & 10

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion

Resources required


  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Empathy

Additional info

Dying To Live is a documentary feature film examining organ and tissue donation and transplantation in Australia through seven different stories highlighting the social, physical and emotional effects of being on the organ donor waiting list. The film also aims to dispel myths about organ and tissue donation while encouraging family conversations so that family members are aware of their loved ones’ donation intentions. Find out how to screen or view the film here.

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