Lesson focus

  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Freedom
  • Integrity

Expectations and goals

  • Students to understand the need for laws
  • Students to discuss how and why people co-operate in communities
  • Students to understand the difference between rules and laws
  • Students develop knowledge and appreciation of laws

learning experiences

Classroom Ideas

  1. Explain to the students that in the lead-up to an election many issues are debated that polarise public opinion. Pose the question to the class, “What were some of the topical issues that caused conflict/disharmony at the last election?” This could be local, state or federal.
  2. Ask students to research topical issues by accessing newspapers, internet or developing a survey for the local community.
  3. Divide the class into small groups. Ask each group to select an issue that could or does cause conflict in their community. Ask them to describe the issue and include as many different perspectives as possible.
    Tell the groups to discuss possible solutions ensuring that pros and cons are considered.
  4. Ask each person in the group to develop a logical argument that follows the structure below:
    1. Assertion (eg I believe that / it is evident that/ it is necessary that…)
    2. Reason (eg this is because / this is due to…)
    3. Evidence (eg recent research suggests that / it was stated in X that / Y argues that…)
  5. Working as a collaborative group select the best solution that would protect the rights of mainstream society and also enhance societal harmony. Write this solution as a law.
  6. Provide students with access to Collaborative and cooperative learning: Peer review (Resource 4)
    and ask each member of the group to complete.
  7. Explain to the class that they are going to explore rules, laws and customs. Provide students with access to KWHL chart – What is a law? (Resource 5 below) and ask them to complete.
  8. Organise the class into small groups and provide them with access to laws, rules and customs (Resource 6 below).  Ask students to work collaboratively and cooperatively together in their groups to complete. This will include:
    1. Defining the difference between laws, rules and customs
    2. Listing as many examples as possible for each category
    3. Colour coding each rule in the rules section according to where it is prevalent (eg school, sports, clubs)
    4. Choosing one law, rule and custom and identify the consequences when each one is broken
    5. Share all responses, then as a class negotiate a common definition for everyone to record
  9. Hold a class discussion on why it is so important for laws to exist. Connect Crime Stoppers into the discussion by asking the students, “How do organisations such as Crime Stoppers attempt to minimise disharmony and increase safety?” Include examples such as campaigns.
  10. Ask students to write an article for the newspaper, The Swan Gazette. The article is to be a fictional account of a news topic and should incorporate probing questions and views on why our society needs laws. It also needs to answer the question, “How and why do people co-operate in communities?” Provide students with access to The Swan Gazette – Why does our society need laws? (Resource 7 below) to use as a template.
Classroom Ideas: Extension
  1. Ask students to draw/write or create a scene where rules and laws do not exist. Explain the term ‘anarchy’.

Lesson focus questions

  1. What issues polarised the public at the last election?
  2. What are some issues we have at school? Locally? Do we have laws to combat these?
  3. What is a law?
  4. Why does our society need laws?
  5. How and why do people co-operate in communities? How does this link to Crime Stoppers?
  6. What is the difference between laws, rules, values and customs?
  7. In what ways does Australia’s system of law provide opportunities for all Australian citizens to have access to justice?
  8. How do organisations such as Crime Stoppers attempt to minimise disharmony and increase safety?

Assessment tasks

Students to:

  1. Complete the Collaborative and cooperative learning: Peer review (Resource 4 below)
  2. Write an article for the fictitious Swan Gazette about why society needs laws

Download resources and tools

Printable lesson plan [Download Year 7, Lesson 2 plan]

Resource 4: Collaborative and cooperative learning: Peer review [Download resource 4]

Resource 5: KWHL chart – What is a law? [Download resource 5]

Resource 6: Laws, rules and customs [Download Resource 6]

Resource 7: Swan Gazette – Why does our society need laws? [Download Resource 7]