For the Good of All: Understanding the Common Good in Australian Democracy

Common Good - Hands

Key Learning Area: Studies of Society and Environment

Year level: Lower/Middle Secondary  

Lesson duration: 80-100 minutes (2 lessons)  

Aim of the unit

For students to discover the connection between cohesive societies and the idea of the ‘common good’ that underpins them, and to arrive at an initial understanding of how the ‘common good’ may be constituted or established in modern democracies.

Curriculum Links

Links to the Australian Curriculum   


1.Copies of classroom rules or constitutions of societies  and organisations

2. Worksheet One – Perspective Cards

3. Worksheet Two Issues List

4. Plus, Minus and Interesting Chart

5. Poster Paper

6. Venn Diagram

7. Blank Grid or Rubric for student use


Students will work in jigsaw groups to draw up a constitution that takes into account a variety of perspectives on a given list of issues such as taxation, access to health care and education and land ownership. Students will be asked to reflect on their deliberations and the product of their deliberations – their group’s constitution – to discern what kind of society they had allowed for, and what its purpose or common good would be. Students will be required to vote on each provision of their constitution, using a ‘simple majority’ principle. The different constitutions will be compared and analysed by the class for their consideration of the principles of equality and fairness and individual freedoms and rights.

Introduction  Activity 1  Activity 2  Activity 3  Activity 4

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