lesson focus

  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Integrity
  • Care and compassion
  • Freedom

expectations and goals

  • Students to understand the different categories and levels of law in Australia
  • Students are to understand and recognise the difference between and need for, criminal and civil laws

Learning experiences

Classroom Ideas

  1. Ask students to think about the words ‘law’ and ‘rule’. What makes them the same and/or different?Law: Is made by the government and affects everybody in society (eg do not kill other people).
    Rules: Made by a group and affect only people in that group (eg you must be in bed by 8.30pm – family rules).
  2. Hold a class brainstorm to come up with as many laws and rules that the students know. Display these laws and rules on the board.
  3. Organise the class into small groups. Ask each group to use a coloured sticky dot to indicate their opinion of the most important rule or law (alternatively conduct a gallery walk).
  4. Meet as a community circle to discuss which rule or law got the most votes and why.
  5. Explore the sources of law in Australia by asking if students know the correct names for them.
  6. Provide students with access to Match the laws (Resource 17 below) and ask them to complete. Facilitate a debate with the class on the topic: ‘Do we need laws?’ Organise the class into two teams. One team will agree with the statement; the other will disagree. Ensure issues of rights, responsibilities, consequences, fairness, equity and considered in the debate.
  7. Ask students to investigate, using laws of local relevance, how a law is made in Australia through parliament (statute law) and through the courts (common law).
  8. Ask students to compare and explain the difference between criminal law and civil law.
  9. As a whole class, examine and discuss the nature of customary law in Australia including; how it contrasts with European law and, how customary law is used in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia.
  10. Invite students to think about Australian Aboriginal laws. What laws might Aboriginal people have that are made for the good of society? For example:
    1. You shouldn’t enter someone else’s land without first getting permission (trespass).
    2. You can’t marry your brother or sister (marriage laws).
    3. You should look after your country (the environment) and everything in it.
    4. You should respect your elders.
    5.  You should share things with your family.
  11. Provide students with Law in the media (Resource 18 below) and ask them to find two news articles that display two different types of law and complete the research table.

focus questions

  1. What is the difference between civic law and criminal law?
  2. Where does Crime Stoppers fit in this continuum? Explain why?
  3. What is the difference between a rule and a law?
  4. What are the different sources of law used in Australia?
  5. Do we need rules and laws?

assessment tasks

Students to:

  1. Complete Law in the media (Resource 18)

download resources and tools

Printable lesson plan [Download Year 8, Lesson 7 plan]

Resource 17: Match the laws [Download Resource 17]

Resource 18: Law in the media [Download Resource 18]