Activity 2

Identifying values associated with being an active citizen

1. Ask students to identify an issue or issues that they feel strongly about (for example, the environment, racism, bullying, homelessness, poverty, children living with life-threatening illnesses, encouraging students to be involved in sport).

Make a list of the issues that students feel strongly about and have identified as being important. Ask students to form small groups based on an issue. If students have identified more than one issue, they will need to place themselves in the group whose issue they feel most strongly about.

Provide time for students to consider the values associated with being an active citizen and making a difference in relation to this issue.

2. Ask students to reflect on actions they have taken in the past in relation to their issue and to consider what actions they may take in the future.

3. Ask students to develop an action plan (pdf format). The action plan details the ‘individual and joint’ and ‘direct and indirect’ actions they have taken or can currently take on their issue. Suggest to students that this could be done in one colour and that future actions that they may take when they are older could be recorded in another colour. The action plan is centered on the words ‘Vision, Action, Change’.

If students have identified the environment as their issue, their action plan could include ideas such as the following.

  • Individual, direct action: Putting my food scraps in the compost.
  • Individual, indirect action: Designing a ‘Clean Up Australia Day’ poster.
  • Joint, direct action: Establishing a school recycling program.
  • Joint, indirect action: Class tips in the newsletter for rubbish-free lunches.

Future actions to realise the students’ values could include:

  • raising money for sustainability and environmental organisations
  • volunteering time and using work-based skills so as to assist others in this area
  • joining a lobby group so as to have an indirect influence on government policies
  • becoming involved in politics so as to have a direct influence on government policies.

As an example of students who are making a difference to an issue that is important to them, read the BBC article The Dutch kids who bet on Kyoto as an inspiration to the students.


Explain to students that an autobiography is a biography of yourself. Ask student to write a current or futuristic autobiography that reflects on what they have achieved in their life in relation to their issue. Students can then annotate their autobiography, highlighting the values that are either explicit or implied in the piece of writing.

Introduction | Activity One | Activity Two