We are similar but different

This unit develops Year 3 students’ knowledge of children in different geographic places. It begins with learning about similarities and differences between classmates, and then extends awareness to wider contexts: rural and urban Australia, and globally, including Asia. Students learn that some differences which exist between children represent injustice, such as child labour; and that they can make, and persuade others to make ethical decisions as consumers which may help to end child labour.

Children in a playground surround a navy brass band

Above: Children hear a brass band in the playground of Farol Primary School, Dili, Timor-Leste. Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons

Australian curriculum links

The general capabilities emphasised in this unit of work are information and communication technology (ICT) capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, intercultural understanding and ethical understanding. The unit addresses the cross-curriculum priority Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia.

See how this unit relates to Australian Curriculum content descriptions for English and Humanities and Social Sciences (Geography) and NSW Syllabus outcomes.


This unit explores the main ideas, that:

  • people have many similarities as well as differences, and differences of culture or personal taste should not hinder friendship and understanding
  • Australian classmates have different linguistic backgrounds and different lives, but still have much in common including access to basic human needs
  • children’s lives in Australia may differ in ways which reflect the kind of place where they live
  • children in different countries have similar needs and interests to Australian children but some differences represent injustice, such as child labour
  • we can help to improve the lives of children involved in child labour by making ethical local decisions

Teaching and learning activities

  1. Introduction to similarity and difference
  2. How am I similar to and different from my classmates?
  3. How are we similar to and different from children who live in different parts of Australia?
  4. How are we similar to and different from other children who live in other parts of the world?

For the teacher

This unit of work lends itself very well to making connections with children in other parts of Australia and the world. If a class has email pen pals or a sister-class in a different part of the world, students can ask and tell each other about some of their similarities and differences using the internet.

An Australian sister class (preferably in a very different kind of geographic area) might agree to studying the same unit of work at the same time, with teachers potentially engaging in some long-distance team teaching and students reading/viewing some of the same texts and discussing their responses. Having a relationship via the internet with other children would also provide an audience for students’ own compositions such as the factual writing task in Sequence 2.

See an overview of classroom resources for this unit. |   Copyright