Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum

Staying healthy

Year level: 5-6

Students explore factors that affect people's health in different parts of the world. They learn about the importance of access to adequate healthcare and education, clean water and sanitation to reduce the impact of malaria and diarrhoeal diseases. They investigate projects that have improved people's health.

Regular blood tests provide a survey of the number of people who have the malaria parasite in their blood system, in Solomon Islands.

Regular blood tests provide a survey of the number of people who have the malaria parasite in their blood system, in Solomon Islands. Photo by Peter Thomas/Rotarians Against Malaria

Social justice and human rights, Sustainable futures

Australian Curriculum links

Learning areas


Year 5

Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to solve problems that directly affect peoples’ lives (ACSHE083)

Year 6

The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)


Year 5

Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704)

Year 6

Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)


Year 5

The influence people have on the human characteristics of places and the management of spaces within them (ACHGK029)

Develop geographical questions to investigate and plan an inquiry (ACHGS033)

Year 6

The various connections Australia has with other countries and how these connections change people and places (ACHGK035)

Evaluate sources for their usefulness and represent data in different forms, for example, maps, plans, graphs, tables, sketches and diagrams (ACHGS042) 


Year 5

Describe and interpret different data sets in context (ACMSP120)

Year 6

Make connections between equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages (ACMNA131)

General capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Ethical behaviour
  • Intercultural understanding.

Cross-curriculum priorities

Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia

Activity 1: Staying healthy in different places

Students reflect on activities and healthcare services that help them stay healthy. They view a video about the delivery of healthcare to remote villages in Papua New Guinea and contrast it with their own experience.

Brainstorm things that help you grow and be healthy.

Create a collage of pictures and words showing the people, products and actions that help keep you healthy.

Dramatise, in small groups, what happens when one of the following situations occurs (show how or why it happened, how people are affected, and what is done to fix it and prevent it from happening again):

  • You injure yourself badly.
  • There is an outbreak of disease in the community.
  • Water is contaminated.
  • Health workers want to help people live healthier lives.

View the video MDG 4: Reduce child mortality, relating to the delivery of healthcare in villages in remote Papua New Guinea.

Discuss: How do the activities shown help improve people's health?

Draw a Venn diagram showing the similarities and differences between healthcare in your community and in the remote villages of Papua New Guinea.

Create a poster or multimedia presentation about staying healthy in different places.

Activity 2: Malaria

Students investigate why malaria is a global health issue, and develop and demonstrate knowledge of the symptoms, treatment and preventative measures to deal with this disease.

Brainstorm and act out ideas about being bitten by mosquitoes. Think about factors such as where you are, what a bite feels like, and what you do if you are bitten. 

Read the case study Combating malaria in Solomon Islands.

Answer the following questions:

  • What is malaria?
  • What does it feel like when you have malaria?
  • What can you do to prevent malaria?

Work in groups to explore different aspects of prevention and make a presentation to the class.

Imagine you are visiting Solomon Islands.

Write a postcard about your experience with malaria. For example, you might describe what you have done to avoid malaria or describe someone you have met who has malaria.


Investigate countries that are affected by malaria. You could start by looking at the map at

Think about what the countries have in common. For example, consider factors such as climate and economy. Why might people in these countries have difficulty preventing and treating malaria?

You might like to create your own version of a malaria map with notes added. 

Activity 3: Oral rehydration solution

Students investigate why diarrhoeal diseases cause many deaths each year, with young children particularly at risk. They learn how oral rehydration therapy, which uses a simple solution of sugar and salt, helps overcome dehydration and possible death from diarrhoea.


  • a collection of dried items such as large and small dried-out sponges, pieces of paper towel that have dried after being wet, dried fruit, a plant that needs watering
  • sugar, salt and water to make oral rehydration solution.

Describe the dried items that you have collected.


  • What do you know about dehydration?
  • Why is it dangerous for a person to become dehydrated?
  • Why might dehydration be more serious for a child than for an adult?
  • What kinds of health problems might cause dehydration?

    Some useful facts to consider are:
    • The human body is about 70% water.
    • Water lost through bodily functions needs to be replaced within a couple of days.
    • Diarrhoeal diseases increase the rate of water loss and cause many deaths each year.

Read 'Water and sanitation' in the Introduction to the Health global issue and ‘The right to water and sanitation’ in the Introduction to the Water and sanitation global issue.


  • What causes diarrhoea?
  • What do you do if you have diarrhoea?
  • What might happen if you could not visit a doctor or obtain medicine?

Read about oral rehydration solutions at

Follow the instructions to make oral rehydration solution (6 teaspoons of sugar and ½ teaspoon of salt mixed into 1 litre of clean water).

Taste the solution.


  • How does oral rehydration solution work? (To observe and understand the process of osmosis, put a drop of water on a paper towel and watch it spread across the paper. Another method is to put some dye in a glass of water with a freshly cut flower in it. Watch the dye move up the stem.)
  • Why is the solution a simple and effective way of addressing dehydration caused by diarrhoea?

Create a flow chart outlining how to make oral rehydration solution and how it can save lives.

Activity 4: Handwashing for hygiene

Students learn about the importance of handwashing to avoid the spread of disease and explore the technology and health benefits of a Tippy-tap, a simple device designed to encourage handwashing in areas with limited water supplies.


  • water-based paint
  • materials to make a Tippy-tap:
    • 3 L milk container
    • 4 long sticks (approx 1.2 m)
    • 2 shorter sticks (approx 90 cm)
    • string
    • screwdriver

Paint two or three children's hands with a water-based paint.

Ask the whole class to walk around and shake hands with each other for a couple of minutes.

Examine everyone's hands to see how many now have paint on them.

Explain that this paint represents germs picked up after going to the toilet.


  • How easily do germs spread?
  • How could you stop germs spreading to food?
  • What equipment would you need to stop germs spreading?
  • What might happen if you did not have clean water and soap?

Investigate Tippy-taps. You can learn what they are and how to make one at

Construct and install your own Tippy-tap.

Discuss or describe:

  • What makes a Tippy-tap work?
  • What angle does it need to be suspended at to contain the maximum amount of water?
  • Why would it be healthier to use a Tippy-tap than a bowl of water?
  • What problems might you encounter installing and using a Tippy-tap?
  • Why might the Tippy-tap be known as 'appropriate technology'?

Create and present a short play in which a village leader explains to other villagers what Tippy-taps are and why they are important for good health.

Activity 5: Dying for want of basic needs to be met

Students explore how factors including education and income, as well as access to safe water and adequate sanitation and healthcare, can help protect the lives of young children.

Examine the table below.

Answer the following questions:

  • In which country do babies have the best chance of surviving to their fifth birthday?
  • In which country do babies have the least chance of surviving to their fifth birthday?
 Under-5 mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)Percentage of population below the national poverty lineUse of oral rehydration solution (%)Access to sanitation (%)Access to safe water (%)Literacy rate of women (%)
Papua New Guinea9337.54439..
Sri Lanka2425..917989.1
Sources: United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report,; *ACOSS, Australia Fair: International Comparisons, 2007

Order the countries for each column of data.

Complete the following statements by selecting ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ from each.

  • Countries with higher rates of people living below the poverty line have higher/lower rates of under-5 mortality.
  • Countries with higher rates of sanitation have higher/lower rates of under-5 mortality.
  • Countries with higher rates of access to safe water have higher/lower rates of under-5 mortality.
  • Countries with higher women's literacy rates have higher/lower rates of under-5 mortality.


  • What factors contribute most to under-5 mortality rates?
  • How are these factors linked?

This data could be put into an Excel spreadsheet for graphing and other visual representations.

Create a role-play that shows how access to water and sanitation, health, education and income can help protect the lives of young children.

Use what you have learnt about factors that are important for good health to design a board game called ‘Better health for all’ or create a user-friendly health education pamphlet.

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Regular blood tests provide a survey of the number of people who have the malaria parasite in their blood system, in Solomon Islands.
Photo by Peter Thomas/Rotarians Against Malaria
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Regular blood tests provide a survey of the number of people who have the malaria parasite in their blood system, in Solomon Islands. Photo by Peter Thomas/Rotarians Against Malaria