Lesson Ideas for Teachers

Making multicultural Australia

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KLA/Subject: HSIE

Stage: Stage 3

What's for Lunch?


  • CUS3.2 Describes different cultural influences and their contribution to Australian identities


A video excerpt and photograph from Making Multicultural Australia are used during these two lessons to stimulate discussion on the variety of food students eat and how this may vary between cultures. Factors contributing to food difference are explored. Worksheets are included to support classroom and homework activities.

Material to Download

Worksheet: What's for lunch - Homework

Worksheet: What's for lunch - Worksheet

Archival Images: Serving snags and satay

Documentary Excerpts: Food for thought - Rabbit on the Moon (segment)

Suggested Activities


  • Brainstorm with the class:
    1. What do students in the class eat for lunch at school?
    2. What do students in the class eat for lunch on weekends/holidays?
  • Discuss with the class: What similarities/differences are there between the two and why might there be some differences?

    Lead a general class discussion of lunches and the variety that exist, exploring questions such as:
    • Do students in the class usually have hot or cold lunches? Why?
    • In what weather are students more likely to want hot food?
    • Does the canteen sell hot food?
    • Do other children eat lunch at school (our school/Australia/overseas)?
    • If yes, do all take lunch from home?
    • What type of food do students like best for lunch?
    • What type of food, if any, do they bring that might be unusual to other students? (Point out that someone could feel embarrassed about their lunch being different to other students’ lunches.)
  • View Download and show students the documentary excerpt 'Food for thought - Rabbit on the Moon'.

  • Group Discussion Divide the class into groups of four. Download and distribute to groups the worksheet 'What's for lunch' and ask students to discuss the documentary excerpt in relation to the questions listed on the worksheet. Ask groups to record answers for later reporting.

  • Reporting Ask groups to share with the class what they discussed.

  • Conclusion Lunches vary within/across/between schools and within/between cultures.

  • Homework Download and distribute the worksheet 'What's for lunch -Homework' to students and brief them on the homework activity:

    Students are to ask three people what they have eaten for lunch each day for the last week and where (work, home, BBQ etc). Students then record the information on the worksheet provided.


  • Group Sharing Divide the class into groups of four and ask groups to discuss the results of their homework. Ask groups to note if there were there any patterns e.g. How did what was eaten at home compare with what was eaten outside home?

  • Brainstorm with the class: What is a BBQ?
    Why might ‘the BBQ’ be seen as an Australian institution?

  • View and Group Discussion Download the archival image, 'Serving snags and satay'. Ask groups to view the archival image and discuss:
    • Have students tried satay and sausages?
    • What type of food do they associate satay/sausages with?
    • When and where students have had BBQs and what was eaten.
  • Reporting Ask groups to report back to the class on their findings.
    Note that BBQs take many forms and include seafood, vegetables, sausages, chicken, kebabs, satay, etc.

  • Conclude Link back to previous lesson. Most people eat lunch but what they eat for lunch varies for many reasons. In Australia, we have a lot of sunshine and the BBQ is a popular lunch/dinner option. What people eat at a BBQ can vary a lot.

Preparation Checklist

You will need:

  • to download the documentary excerpt 'Food for thought - Rabbit on the Moon'. This can be viewed by students on computer terminals in small groups or projected to whole class. Alternatively, you may print it in hardcopy, preferably in colour.
  • to download and copy the worksheet, 'What's for lunch' for groups of four students.
  • to download and copy the archival image 'Serving snags and satay' for groups of four students.
  • to download and copy of the worksheet, What's for lunch - Homework' for each student.


Ask students to:

  • Investigate what foods are available in the school canteen. Does it cater for a range of backgrounds?
  • Investigate what students eat on special festival days.
  • Investigate restaurants in the local area. What types of cuisine are represented?

Related Resources


Lesson Notes

Teachers need to ensure a positive atmosphere where all students feel safe to talk about the food they and their family eat.

Discussion notes:

Note that factors that may affect what is eaten include the temperature, distance from home, canteen availability and selection, parents/caregivers working/not working outside home, school system, personal preference, other.

Students in some schools overseas are provided with hot meals. In some countries it is common for students to go home for lunch and then return to school. Some countries have schools that have two or more shifts so that morning students finish the school day before lunch and go home for lunch and afternoon students attend school after lunch.

Emphasise that there is a great variety of options for lunches, both locally and abroad, but the common thing is that people need to eat during the day.

Note that the assumption that one type of food is associated with a particular culture or place is a stereotype.

Date Added:

11 December 2004