Poverty And Inequality In Australia - Understanding Poverty And Inequality In Australia

Poverty And Inequality In Australia - Understanding Poverty And Inequality In Australia

Lesson 3 of 5 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 7 - 8
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Health
  • Social
  • Equality
  • Homelessness
  • Human Rights
  • Social Action
  • ...

Lesson summary

So what is poverty and why should I care? The collective responsibility is an important one, not only when it comes to ending poverty but also when addressing the misconceptions associated with what poverty and inequality are and what it looks like in Australia.

This lesson aims to destigmatise the experience of living in poverty and highlight the idea that action at any level, but particularly at the government and community policy level, is critical to meeting the sustainable development commitment to end poverty in all its forms. To achieve this, students work with a number of stimulus materials to develop their understanding of poverty and inequality before finally developing an action plan to engage with a local organisation in order to reduce poverty within their community.

Learning intentions:

Students will...

  • understand the broader dimensions of poverty in Australian society and how it impacts individuals
  • develop empathy and evaluate the impacts of poverty on individuals within specific groups or characteristics in society
  • identify ways to take action within their community to address the issue of poverty and inequality

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • develop empathy for individuals who suffer poverty and evaluate the impacts of poverty on individuals and groups within wider Australian society
  • use their knowledge of community health, social support services, and the underlying causes of social disadvantage to propose collaborative solutions to alleviating some of the underlying barriers to social and economic participation.

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info
Inequality in Australia 2020 Factsheet
Poverty in Australia - Fast Facts

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian Curriculum content descriptions: 

Years 7 & 8 HPE:

  • Practise and apply strategies to seek help for themselves or others (ACPPS072)
  • Evaluate health information and communicate their own and others’ health concerns (ACPPS076)
  • Plan and use health practices, behaviours and resources to enhance health, safety and wellbeing of their communities (ACPPS077)

Syllabus outcomes: PD4-1, PD4-2, PD4-7.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative ThinkingEthical UnderstandingLiteracyPersonal and Social Capability

Relevant parts of Year 7 & 8 HPE achievement standards:
Students investigate strategies and practices that enhance their own, others’ and community health, safety and wellbeing. Students demonstrate skills to make informed decisions, and propose and implement actions that promote their own and others’ health, safety and wellbeing.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion, lead students in activities

Resources required


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Community engagement
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Empathy
  • Ethical understanding
  • Problem solving       

Additional info

Time required: 90+ mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion, lead students in activities

These lessons have been designed in consultation with Anti-Poverty Week and ACOSS/UNSW Poverty and Inequality Partnership.

The content and information in these lessons may be overwhelming and cause some students to experience heightened emotions.

Please ensure you allow students to ask questions and to discuss any issues or concerns. Before teaching the lesson, you may consider conducting a class check-in or circle time to establish a safe learning environment. Inform students that this might be a complex topic for them to comprehend. However, let your students know that differences in people’s incomes and wealth are nothing to be ashamed of and that these may be beyond the control of individuals and families – for example, some have more luck than others in landing a good job.

Assure students that organisations and campaigns are working towards decreasing poverty in Australia, and if they would like more information, they can visit the Anti Poverty Week website and the Poverty and Inequality website.

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