Years 7-9 introduction

What is the program about?

The lower secondary program focuses on how students negotiate their roles in new groups as part of their transition from primary to high school and moving from pre-teen to adolescence. The content unpacks the social elements of relationships and the role that identity, group formation and group norms and beliefs can have on the development of respectful relationships. 

When transitioning from primary to high school, and during the journey through high school, the stability of peer groups for young people can sometimes be tested. Examples of these transitions might include if a young person:

  • moves to a new school
  • changes to a different class
  • selects different subjects
  • gets selected in a different team
  • changes interests within or outside of school.


A range of factors can influence relationships in this age group. These factors include:

  • negotiating new groups of friends
  • importance of need to fit in with peers
  • group formation
  • developing identity linked to the group/s they belong to and engage with
  • peer influence on behaviours and actions
  • managing interactions that may be problematic or conflicting
  • bullying - victim, perpetrator and bystander (offline and online)
  • negotiating first romantic relationships.


The lower secondary program has been designed so the learning can be implemented as standalone playlists and topics or can be delivered using a Project-based Learning (PBL) framework.

For those teachers delivering the resource through PBL, additional playlists have been created under the Student Project topic to introduce and kick-off the project, then wrap up the project through a culminating challenge. There are also additional activities within the Guidebook and each playlist’s teacher guide, that outlines follow-up tasks teams should complete to develop the required understanding and skills for their culminating challenge.


How to deliver The Good Society through PBL

The PBL framework gives students an authentic, real-world context for their learning. PBL empowers students to drive the development of a response or solution that matters for them in their world.

Students work on a project over an extended period of time that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question related to respectful relationships in their community.

The Good Society playlists support students to develop deep content knowledge in relation to the concepts of power dynamics in relationships and qualities of respectful relationships, as well as critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills. Students then demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing a public product or presentation for a real audience as part of a culminating challenge.


Entry event and project kick-off

In PBL, the project is introduced at the start of the learning sequence through an entry event.

Entry events can take any form. For The Good Society lower secondary program, a short video and supporting slide deck at the start of the Project kick-off playlist is provided to initiate questioning and open discussion, inspire engagement with the concept of creating a good society and build anticipation in the students for the exciting journey that is about to begin.

Once you have introduced the project, students then engage with the remaining media items in the Project kick-off playlist to help formulate their ideas about what is possible and invigorate their curiosity for engaging with the project. The playlist can be used by students in various ways—on individual devices, moving around individual stations, each with a device, or you can watch the videos together as a class. Each media item comes with discussion text and questions to get students thinking about how the messages of the item relate to the project they are about to undertake.


Driving question

The entry event slide presentation will also introduce the driving question (DQ): How can you take action to support your community to become a Good Society?. The driving question is based on the major concepts and ideas that students must know and be able to demonstrate by the conclusion of the project. The driving question leads to sustained, in-depth inquiry and the production of a significant piece of work in an attempt to find an answer.


Need to Knows

From this driving question we have generated Need to Knows (N2K), a core element of PBL. Need to Knows are the essential understandings and skills students need to have to engage with the complex real-world issues around respectful relationships. The Need to Knows have been formulated for each of the topics and are written as inquiry questions in the teacher guide for each playlist.

Playlists include page media items that provide an overview of the key concepts to be explored. These are complemented by curated resources that unpack the concepts further. Each item includes discussion text, questions and additional teacher notes to support the delivery to your classes.

As students progress through the project, they are encouraged to keep a project diary, found in the Guidebook, to track their team’s progress and to reflect on their learning from each playlist / lesson. This diary can be used as a formative assessment item during the project.


Culminating challenge

All PBL projects have a culminating challenge that involves the development of an authentic product or response to the driving question. A key to the success of PBL is allowing students to determine what their PBL product will be.

Students need to be given the flexibility to develop the product that in their opinion will best demonstrate their learning. For the project in this resource, students will be given the opportunity to design a product that brings their voice to the debate about how to take action to promote respectful relationships in their local community.

To add further richness and authenticity to their learning, PBL encourages students to present their final products/responses for the culminating challenge to a real and authentic audience, such as the local police liaison officer, school council members, local council, local Member of Parliament or a related support or community organisation. The audience will ideally be able to provide support and advice about implementing the students’ responses within the community.

For more detailed information about implementing Project Based Learning go to the NSW Department of Education's Project-based Learning Resource Guide.


Personalising the project for your students

Use these questions to consider how you might make this project authentic and meaningful for all of your students:

  • What will excite your students about this project?
  • How can you help students connect emotionally to the power of advocating for a good society?
  • How might you leverage the diversity within your school community to enhance the learning as part of this project?
  • What needs and opportunities exist in your community when it comes to developing respectful relationships? How can you help students explore and learn about these?
  • Are there existing community organisations or community-based projects that your students might partner with for their project challenge?
  • What texts, resources, guest speakers or excursions/incursions could you plan that might help build students’ understanding of the need for respectful relationships and their engagement and advocacy action in the local community?