Getting to Know Others
Level 1 Civics and Citizenship Focus

Introduction to Getting to Know Others

In this activity students explore the challenges and opportunities that come from living in a diverse world.  They consider their reactions to meeting new people, explore how cultural gestures can be misinterpreted and get to know people in their community.

All activities in this module are aligned to the Civics and Citizenship strand of the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences, Years 3 and 4. (Click here to see the Curriculum Links

The module focuses on developing intercultural understanding through the following learning objectives.  Students will:

This guide provides information about the four activities in this module:

These activities are complementary but can also be used independently.  Each activity is supported with suggested teacher-led introductory and concluding activities.  For the online components students can work individually, in pairs or as small groups.  These activities can also be adapted for use with a smartboard.


Activity 1: New Neighbours

In this activity students imagine they have moved to a new apartment building and meet their neighbours.  Students reflect on the reactions they have and judgments they make when meeting new people.

Introductory Activity — Offline

Ask students to work in groups of three, where they will identify their similarities and differences.  Give each group a copy of the Venn diagram or ask them to create their own. Ask each student to write their name next to one of the intersecting circles.  As a group the students then:

Online Activity

Before commencing this activity, familiarise your students with how to navigate through the website.

Part A: Knock on the door
In this activity students are asked to imagine that their family is moving to a new apartment.

Students knock on the door and 'meet' three new neighbours.  They then answer some multiple choice and written questions to reflect on the experience of meeting new people.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Discuss neighbours with your students using the following questions:


Activity 2: What Are You Saying?

In this activity students explore culturally specific gestures from around the world in a short quiz.

Introductory Activity — Offline

As a class, brainstorm all the words and gestures that students know for saying hello in various languages and cultures.  Write the words on the board and ask students to practise greeting one another.

Online Activity

Part A: Gesture quiz
In this activity students take a short quiz (which contains images and videos) to explore how people use gestures in different places and cultures.

The correct answer and a short explanation are given after each question is answered.  The activity ends with some reflection/discussion questions.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Challenge students to develop a new gesture to help them communicate something to their classmates.  Each student should show the class their gesture and see if other students can work out what it means.

Ask the students to describe in their own words what the gesture means and why it might be useful for them and others.


Activity 3: School Playground

In this activity students explore misunderstandings that can occur because of the differing attitudes, beliefs and cultural practices that we all have.  They do this by exploring some events in a school playground.  This activity encourages students to consider their own cultural beliefs, and how these influence their behaviours and interactions with others.

Introductory Activity — Offline

Use the Tribal Game to explore the difficulties that can arise when communicating with people from different cultures.  Print out multiple copies of the tribal game cards and cut into cards.  Randomly assign a card to every student in the class.  These cards explain the name and behaviours of five distinct 'tribal' groups.

Give students time to read their cards and tell them they must take on the behaviours of their tribe.  Ask them to move around the classroom, in silence, greeting other players.  After 3-5 minutes conclude the game, which will probably be quite chaotic.  The power of this activity lies mainly in the debrief, which you can run using the following questions:

Online Activity

Part A: Read the playground story
In this activity students read a story about four students in a playground.  Firstly they are introduced to the four characters.  Then as students read the story they are asked to write answers to some questions about how the characters might be feeling at particular times.  At the end of the story students are asked to reflect on their own cultural identity and how it may influence the way they interact with others.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Invite students to use the Think Pair Share strategy to identify a special belief or practice that they have learnt from their family.  This could be, for example, a rule, a saying, a religious practice, a story or a game.  Give students time to think, then ask them to pair with another student and share their reflection about their special practice or belief.


Activity 4: People in Our Community

In this activity students develop a personalised questionnaire sheet and interview a member of your community.

Introductory Activity — Offline

Use the Developing Interview Skills sheet to assist you in developing students' questioning skills. Discuss listening, closed questions, open-ended questions and follow-up questions.  Also discuss the concerns that students might have about talking to new people.  Allow students to practise by interviewing each other.

Online Activity

Part A: Meet some new people
In this activity students will watch three videos of strangers talking about themselves.  Following each video, the students are asked to formulate a question they would like to ask the person in the video.

Part B: Create your questionnaire
In this activity students make a class book about people in their community.  Each student selects and interviews someone different and writes about the conversation.  Students download and save an editable PDF questionnaire form and select questions they will ask using a dropdown menu (to complete this activity offline use this form).  Students should print out and use their form to take notes during their interview and can also use another copy to type or write up their page of the book (unless you prefer to use another format).  When finished, compile the pages to create a book or display to share.

Concluding Activity — Offline

Ask students to write a letter to the person that they interviewed in which they thank them for participating and tell them about what the class learned about people in their community.


Module Reflection

You may like to use a reflection or self-assessment strategy to monitor student engagement with this module.


Further Activity Ideas