This selection of curriculum-aligned lesson ideas and activity sheets are designed to start important conversations about disability and help students understand the need for accessibility and inclusion.
Broad learning outcomes
- Students will recognise that people with disability are important members of our diverse community.
- Students will recognise the need for accessibility and inclusion.
- Students will recognise common myths and misconceptions about disability.
- Students will understand the importance of removing barriers for people with disability and ensuring everyone has an opportunity to participate.
Activities for students
- Write a short story about a visit to your favourite place. You cannot describe how the place looks: you must describe how it smells, sounds and feels.
- Interview a person with disability, then present the interview as a magazine or newspaper article. Include pictures or photographs where possible. Publish the article in the school newsletter or on the school website or social media pages.
- Analyse how people with disability are portrayed in the media and popular culture (TV, movies, music, books etc.). Do you think these portrayals are accurate? Discuss the findings.
- Split into groups and research a disability. Present your learnings to the class, including how it has changed your assumptions about disability.
- Promote diversity by completing the Acrostic poem – Diversity activity sheet (PDF 383 KB).
- Explore ‘able’ words by completing the A celebration of ability – word match (PDF 318.4 kB) or A celebration of ability – missing letters activity sheet (PDF 219.5 kB). Note: select the one that is most appropriate for your learning level.
- Experience a different form of communication (Braille) by completing the Communicating with Braille (PDF 427.1 kB) activity sheet.
- Use your creative thinking skills to complete the Brainstorming activity (PDF 348.7 kB) sheet.
- Participate in a class discussion about facts and myths using the statements on the True or false (PDF 308.7 kB) activity sheet.
English activity sheets
English activity sheet solutions
- Research the history of the disability rights movement and how disability has been portrayed. How has this changed over the last century? Who are some people that have raised awareness and made progress in these areas?
- Research the lives of people with disability over the last century and how they might have changed. Discuss inventions or technologies that have been developed to improve accessibility for people with disability.
- Explore the lives of some historical figures with disability by completing the Match me (PDF 231.2 kB) activity sheet. Discuss how disability might have affected the occupation of each person.
History activity sheets
History activity sheet solutions
- Find some statistics about people with disability and present the information in graph format. You will find some interesting statistics on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
- Create a scale map of your school and label all the areas which do or do not cater for people with disability. Design a new map of your school with suggested improvements.
- Research the barriers people with disability may encounter. For example, find out about gradients and materials that block sound and light.
- Discuss the five senses. For what purposes do we use each one? How do you think we would adapt if we were relying on one or two senses? Complete the Listen and sniff (PDF 366.2 kB) activity sheet.
- Use your five senses to complete the Senses scavenger hunt (PDF 217 kB) activity sheet.
Science/Technology activity sheets
Science/Technology activity sheet solutions
- Create large posters inviting people to observe International Day of People with Disability. Place them around the school for parents and visitors to see.
- Research famous artists with disability and try using their methods or painting in their styles.
- Brainstorm and research ways in which people who are deaf enjoy music. Consider vibrations and movement.
Health and Physical Education
- Work in small groups to modify your favourite sport or activity so it is accessible for people with disability. For example, modify dodge ball so everyone is sitting down instead of standing.
- Research one sport from the Paralympic Games. Share your learnings with the rest of the class.
- Discuss the question ‘What does it mean to have disability?’. Record the responses and discuss any stereotypes or generalisations that come up. This should be an open and honest discussion without judgement.
- Our resources page has a range of printable products and activities for kids, including a colour in poster, chatterbox activity and decorative paperchain.
- You can also check out online resources, such as TED Talks or YouTube, to find some great videos, short films, articles and podcasts about disability and the experiences of people with disability. Use these resources to start a conversation about disability in the classroom to challenge perceptions, normalise disability and grow inclusion.