1.9: Similarities and differences

Lesson overview

Theme:Being comfortable with difference
Age Group:Year 1
Learning Area:History

Content descriptor

Students communicate an understanding of change and continuity in family life using appropriate historical terms.

Teachers notes

  1. This activity may be conducted over several sessions.
  2. The purpose of this activity is for students to note the similarities between people from around the world, make generalisations based on these and then observe the variations or differences within these categories.
  3. Teachers should draw students’ attention to similarities and differences both between and within cultural groups. It should be noted that there are more differences within cultural groups than between cultural groups.


Pictures of people from around the world, pictures of homes from around the world, butcher’s paper, large sheets of paper and coloured pencils, crayons or textas.


  1. Ask students to invite a parent or relative in to explain to the class or share something that is culturally different e.g. a traditional garment or musical instrument, accessory, medallion or they could demonstrate how to prepare a cultural dish.
  2. As a library research or internet search activity, ask students to find pictures which show people both within Australia and around the world in diverse situations or engaged in a variety of activities.
  3. As a class or individually, ask students to categorise each of the pictures into broad areas e.g. pictures of people studying; working; eating; wearing different clothes; jobs at home.
  4. As a class, guide students in making generalisations about people around the world. e.g. people around the world wear clothes; people around the world live in ‘houses’. List the generalisations on the board or on butcher’s paper.
  5. Divide students into small groups and give each group a different generalisation to illustrate. e.g. people around the world live in homes could be illustrated by a variety of architectural styles of housing; people around the world wear clothes could be illustrated by people wearing different clothing.
  6. Ask each group to report back to the class on each of their generalisations and the variations they have discovered.
  7. Display projects in the classroom or the library.