Australia, Land of the Outback

6, 7, 8

Learners will explore some examples of culture and illustrate the impact on stewardship and philanthropic organizations in Australia while gaining knowledge about the geography of Australia.
Teacher Note: Teachers may want to introduce a discussion of the desecration of Aboriginal culture and religion, and also discuss issues of diversity and tolerance in Australia.

Lesson Rating 
PrintSix Forty-Five Minute Class Periods (or equivalent block sessions)

The learner will:

  • demonstrate competency in geography of Australia.
  • develop the concept of the walkabout in discovery of self.
  • be able to use three sources of information.
  • complete a written report using peer group editing.
  • examine the rich cultural traditions of the Aborigines and analyze the impact of their cultural traditions on stewardship and the development of philanthropic organizations.
  • locate and report evidence of philanthropic institutions in Australia.
  • identify problems addressed by nonprofit organizations in regions of Australia.
  • compile data and develop a chart from data obtained from Attachment Two: Random Acts of Kindness Survey.
  • analyze data collected from Attachment Two: Random Acts of Kindness Survey.
  • Paper & pencil
  • Large piece of newsprint
  • Colored pencils
  • Map of Australia
  • Book Random Acts of Kindness (see Bibliographical References)
  • Rubric for Expository Writing (Attachment One)
  • Random Acts of Kindness Survey (Attachment Two)
Home Connection 

Learners will work with an adult to fill out Attachment Two: Random Acts of Kindness Survey.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Tell learners about the Random Acts of Kindness movement. It began in 1982 when an Australian woman, Anne Herbert, wrote the words, "practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty" on a place mat. It spread from there to bumper stickers, quietly at first, but with all the powerful momentum of something important----calling us to live lives of caring and compassion. Eventually, there were so many stories of people committing random acts of kindness, a book was published in 1993. It set off a chain reaction…it spread from Australia to the United States and articles started appearing in American newspapers, and hundreds of radio stations devoted air-time to the cause. Read excerpts of the book, Random Acts of Kindness.Publisher: Fine Communications, March 1997, ISBN: 1567311970. Discuss as you go along, developing a definition with the class.Give each learner a copy of Attachment Two: Random Acts of Kindness Survey. and have the learner and one adult complete the survey. Return the survey for the next class period.

    Optional Activity: Brainstorm ideas for committing Random Acts of Kindness and post them on a bulletin board. Every time one of your learners commits an act of kindness, add their name and what they did to the "Kindness" board. Challenge other classes to begin a "Kindness" board.

    Anticipatory Set Wrap-Up Activity:Tabulate the results of the survey with the class and have the learners devise a chart depicting the results. Discuss the findings with the class

  2. Using the local school district geography text with the class, investigate the themes of geography as relating to the continent of Australia.

  3. Test the learners on the content.

  4. Divide the class into peer groups. Their task is to research one of the major regions and demonstrate knowledge of that region's history, cultural traditions, and their views on stewardship and philanthropy in a written report.Instructor Note: Give each learner a copy of the expectations for the finished report and the rubric you will be using for evaluation. Send this home to the parent and have the parent sign and return.Elements to include in this report are:

    • Bibliography, which is to include three diverse resources, only one being an encyclopedia.
    • Correct language usage, grammar and spelling.
    • Demonstrated knowledge of both philanthropy and knowledge about Australia.
    • Documentation for each theme developed.
    • A produced travel brochure that uses the theme of volunteering in Australia as a reason for visiting Australia.

    All sections are to be written by group members with quotation marks and works cited.

  5. Before they begin their research, discuss as a group the enterprise, VOLUNTEERING AUSTRALIA, INC., and how it got started. Answer questions such as, "What is its mission, how is their mission carried out, who does it impact?" etc.Teacher's Note: It is always helpful to obtain sample brochures to help your learners familiarize themselves with what a brochure looks like. Local travel agencies are excellent sources.

  6. Each group is to work collaboratively on its report using peer group editing. The following chart may be helpful in recording and collecting data on each day's work.

    Name What I did today What I have to do tomorrow

  7. Schedule time into a computer lab or media center/library for research on the Internet or use resource texts.

  8. When completed, each group presents to the class and submits their peer group report for evaluation.


Evaluate peer group oral presentation. Evaluate peer group written submissions using the rubric provided as Attachment One: Rubric for Expository Writing. Instructor-designed testing instrument on geography and culture of Australia. Instructor observation.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 03. Names and Types of Organizations within the Civil Society Sector
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Recognize terms that describe the civil society sector.
    2. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark MS.1 State the purpose of a mission statement and describe how civil society organization mission statements relate to philanthropy.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Define the phrase <i>community/social capital</i> and discuss how it relates to all communities.
    2. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and describe civil society organizations whose purpose is associated with issues relating to "human characteristics of place."
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark MS.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark MS.3 Identify and give examples of stewardship in cultural traditions around the world.