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Activity Teacher Notes 2.10

2.10 Supporting one another in tricky situations

Levels: P, S, SS
Focus curriculum areas: Health and well-being
Supporting curriculum area: English/literacy
Key concepts: Personal identity, teamwork, reflective thinking

girls traverse the mudboys show a line of hands

Understanding goals

To develop teamwork and appreciation of oneself and others. Students investigate the individual characteristics and values that they bring to a group. Students identify where their strengths lie and realise that a strong team is made up of different personalities, and each individual contributes to the success of a team.


Please note: This activity requires students to be thoughtful and considerate – no put-downs during or after the exercise. There needs to be trust amongst the class – everyone needs to be free to share about themselves. (Try asking the class if they are prepared to "promise to be thoughtful and considerate as this will allow everyone to be trusting, honest and respectful". This is a promise to be made by everyone, to everyone in the class. An alternative activity needs to be available to students who do not wish to promise).


1. What are the qualities you admire in other people? Brainstorm/list these on the board.

What qualities or values are particularly important when you are in a team, or when there is an emergency? Add these to your list. Consider ways of 'being' in any situation, not just 'doing' things – for example, being respectful, being thoughtful, being caring, being generous.

Listen to some examples of students speaking of the personal qualities they can bring to a team.

2. Scenario A

Imagine you are setting off on a challenging walk in the mountains of Tasmania, with three other people.

  1. List the personal qualities needed in the team of walkers (Like being calm, being considerate, being a leader, being courageous.) Make your own list using the words on the board and any others you would like to add.
  2. Put a star beside the qualities you have to offer to the group. You will need to choose at least five qualities. (You don’t have to be an expert in each area.)
  3. In small groups, discuss your lists and the qualities you have starred. In what situations would those qualities be particularly useful?
  4. Nominate a spokesperson from each group. They tell the class about one quality of each member of their group. (Choose different qualities for each student.)
  5. Identify with a dot the qualities on your list that you would personally like to improve.
  6. Create a class list of personal qualities.
  7. Discuss the statement – everyone offers something different and valuable.
  8. Discuss situations in life where teamwork is important.

3. Role-play Scenario B

four girls hike by the river

Southwest National Park

You are walking in a group of four in the mountains of Tasmania. It is late autumn and the time is about five o’clock in the afternoon. Clouds have come in rapidly and it looks like rain. You suddenly realise you are off the track and lost. You know that it will be dark within two hours and the hut you are aiming for is one hour away. One person in your group has very painful blisters.

a. Imagine how you would feel and take turns to discuss that with the group. What would be your concerns and fears?

b. Evaluate your situation and in turn work out what personal qualities and strengths each of you would bring to the group. Work out together your course of action as a group.

c. Role-play how you would deal with the situation. You may want to have a narrator explaining what is happening while the others act it out. One person could have the blisters, one person could deal with the blisters, and two people could work out what to do next. Remember to include your skills and qualities from your list.

d. Show your play to the class.

e. Develop a concept map addressing your physical preparation, personal qualities, first aid strategy and the order of problem solving.


Follow-up scenario

  1. Set up an ‘outdoors event’, a scenario where students work through a real situation in teams. Half the class could set up mystery orientation routes around the school with challenging decisions to make along the way. The other teams follow their clues and solve them on the way. Alternatively, you may organise a class bushwalk where teams go via different routes and return within a certain time-frame, with problems to solve along the way.
  2. Students identify and discuss what personal qualities they brought to the group.
  3. Create a class list of personal qualities.
  4. Discuss the statement – "Everyone offers something different and valuable".

Going further


The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook, Joshua Piven & David Borgenicht, Chronicle, San Francisco California 1999. (Fiction about being lost in the desert.)

Hatchet, Gary Paulsen, Piper/Macmillan Children’s, London, 1991. (Fiction about survival after plane crash.)

High and Haunted Island, Nan Chauncey, Oxford Uni Press, London, 1970. Two schoolgirls are stranded on the rocky shore of Port Davey, off the Tasmanian coast, in wartime.

Thanks to M. Thompson, S. Bevan and the students at Claremont Primary for assistance with this activity.