Chickens: Activity 2 (Civics/Citizenship Yr 8)

Active Citizenship in Australia’s Democracy

This activity is designed to help Year 8 students understand active citizenship through analysing issues related to raising chickens for their meat.

This activity will provide teachers with practical advice about how to increase student understanding of meat chicken farming in Australia. Specifically, it will; improve understanding of animal welfare issues in both factory and free-range chicken meat farming, encourage students to challenge popular beliefs about free-range chicken meat farming, provide opportunities for students to develop and display leadership skills within their school, allow students to peer-teach horizontally and vertically about an issue affecting most people’s lives in Australia, and, facilitate an opportunity for older students to inspire a higher level of active citizenship in younger students at the school.

The learning sequence for this activity begins by watching a short animation on chicken behaviour in a farming and non-farming setting. It then explores nine key issues associated with the farming of chickens for meat before students work together to investigate these in depth. Finally, students present their research to a younger year level and encourage them to get active in their own communities.

Time Allocation

Four lessons (including presenting the work).

Key Inquiry Questions

  • How can older students inspire younger members of the school to start thinking about active citizenship?
  • How is chicken meat produced in Australia?
  • In what ways can students practice and further develop skills in listening and compromising as part of a group?

Learning Activities

1. PRE-TEST

This activity assumes that the teacher has already begun a unit on Civics and Citizenship and that the students have some understanding of Australia’s electoral system and the concept of democracy. Previous lessons would also have introduced the class to the idea of active citizenship via lobby groups and direct action in Australia.

It is anticipated that students will have a rudimentary understanding of chicken farming in Australia. Begin the task by watching this video to reinforce key points: "How are Chickens Raised for Meat in Australia? Chicken Welfare in the Meat Industry”.                                                           

2. EXPLORE

1. Getting up to speed!

Divide the class into nine groups. Allocate one topic from Table 1 to each group. Students nominate a reader, a scribe and a reporter. The reader’s job is to read the information to the group. Students discuss what they think are the three main points of the topic. The scribe uses thick textas to write these onto a piece of A3 paper for display in the classroom. The reporter’s job is to report back the findings to the class.textas to write these onto a piece of A3 paper for display in the classroom. The reporter’s job is to report back the findings to the class.

Table 1. Voiceless Fact Sheet pp. 1-8 Reading Groups

Group Number

Topic for investigation

1

Explain what broiler chickens are

2

Describe the natural behaviour of chickens

3

Explain “Intensive Farming” in Australia

4

Explain “Free-Range Farming” in Australia

5

Explain “RSPCA-Approved Farming” in Australia

6

Explain “Organic Farming” in Australia

7

What is ‘Animal Welfare’?

8

What are the five freedoms associated with caring for non-human animals?

9

Can chickens feel pain and are they sentient?

 

Bring the class back together. Have the reporter from each of the nine groups explain their topic to the rest of the class. Display the scribes’ sheets in group order along the classroom wall for future reference.

2. Get Involved! Develop a class PowerPoint

Using Google Docs, the students choose a template for a class PowerPoint. In groups, students will contribute one slide of information to the class PowerPoint per group.

Divide the class into 12 groups. Allocate one topic from Table 2 to groups one through to nine. Students nominate a reader, a scribe and a reporter. The reader’s job is to read the information to the group. The scribe puts three main bullet points of the topic onto their corresponding slide number i.e. Group 1 completes Slide 1 and so on. The reporter’s job is to report back findings to the class.

The Design Team (Gp 10) is tasked with finding one image from the Voiceless Fact Sheet to accompany each slide. The Editing Team (Gp 11) is tasked with proof-reading for errors, consistency and making sure all slides are in order, including images. The Get Involved! Team (Gp 12) is tasked with designing an A5 flyer to hand out to younger students explaining how they can get involved to help make their community a better place. Gp 10) is tasked with finding one image from the Voiceless Fact Sheet to accompany each slide. The Editing Team (Gp 11) is tasked with proof-reading for errors, consistency and making sure all slides are in order, including images. The Get Involved! Team (Gp 12) is tasked with designing an A5 flyer to hand out to younger students explaining how they can get involved to help make their community a better place.

 

Table 2. Voiceless Fact Sheet pp. 9-12. PPT Working Groups

Group and PowerPoint Slide Number

Topic for investigation

1

Introduction: Welfare issues and intensive chicken farming

2

Growth rate

3

Selective breeding

4

Health issues associated with high growth rate

5

Health issues associated with ammonia build-up

6

Hunger

7

Stocking density 

8

Catching and handling 

9

Welfare issues: free range meat chicken farming 

10

Design Team

11

Editing Team

12

Get Involved! Team

 

3. DISCUSS

Once all slides are submitted and the design consistent throughout the slide show, the nine reporters should explain each slide to the class with support from members of the Design Team and their images.

The class must then choose the two best ‘reporters’ to present the PowerPoint to a Year 7 class.

4. SHARE

Invite a Year 7 class in to hear about your work. Briefly introduce them to the unit on ‘Active Citizenship in Australia’s Democracy’. Present them with the class’ PowerPoint on Chicken Meat Farming.

Allow time for younger students to ask questions and support them to act for change in their own communities. Provide them with the A5 Get Involved! flyer.

5. REFLECT

Contact the teacher of the Year 7 class and ask for feedback from the younger students about how effective the presentation was in learning about active citizenship and chicken meat farming in Australia.