We Are Australian: Activity 2: Exploring characteristics of Australians

Exploring our similarities and differences

As a class read aloud the text 'Common Ground' (pages 22 - 23). (Source note: The song is also available on CD.) Discuss elements of the text, including the language used. Use the questions in 'Exploring the Texts' in the Teacher Guide or the following questions.

  • What is mateship?
  • What freedom do we have in Australia that we take for granted?
  • What is 'common ground'?

Ask students to identify the qualities mentioned and suggested in the text and categorise them in three columns:

Ways Australians differWays Australians are the sameOther possible characteristics
  • colour of our skin
  • religion
  • heartbeat
  • stand on the same ground
  • sense of humour
  • mateship
  • attitude to authority

Refer to the class wall mural from Activity 1. Identify other qualities that could be included in these columns.

Focus questions

  • Do these three columns help us to describe the way we see ourselves as a nation?
  • Does this picture of who we are as 'Australians' change?
  • When might it have been different?

Extension activity

Gather two other Australian songs the students may be familiar with. (eg 'Advance Australia Fair' and 'I Still Call Australia Home'). Explore the lyrics with the students.

Focus questions

  • What do these songs tell us about what Australians value about their country?
  • Do they convey the same meanings?
  • Why might they differ?
  • What ideas and feelings in the songs do you agree with?
  • Do you think that they capture what it means to 'be Australian'?

Introduction | Activity 1 | Activity 2 | Activity 3 | Activity 4 | Activity 5