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Konichiwa Mate!

Konichiwa, Mate!

Unit Summary

What does it mean to be Australian? What do people from other countries think of Australia? Would they enjoy visiting Australia? Why? Why not?

In this unit of work students begin to analyse how cultures and values differ and why. They look at aspects of Australia which could interest people from other countries, and start to discover the world’s many varied cultures, and how much there is potentially to understand and learn. In this unit the students’ deeper investigation focuses on Japan.

Students research and compare Japanese and Australian culture, and analyse what tourist attractions and destinations may appeal to a Japanese student. They create 2 appropriate itineraries and justify the choices made in their creation. Teachers encourage students to revisit the Curriculum Framing Questions throughout the unit to guide research and discussion, and to sustain the purpose of the activities.

Curriculum-Framing Questions

  • Essential Question
    Who lives and travels in our world?
  • Unit Questions
    What is special about Australia?
    What in our lives reflects our culture?
    Why do people visit Australia?
    How can I use what I value to plan an entertaining and informative itinerary within a reasonable budget?
    How do we ascertain/accommodate the interests of other people?
  • Content Questions
    What is culture?
    What places within Australia have cultural or historical significance?
    What are a travel itinerary and a reasonable budget?
    Which activities, attractions and destinations will appeal to people from other countries and cultures? Why?
    Where can I obtain the necessary information for my travel itinerary?

Assessment Processes

View how assessment is used in this unit plan. These assessments help students and teachers set understandable goals, monitor student progress, provide feedback, assess thinking, performance and products and reflect on learning throughout the activities.

Prerequisite Skills

Students’ Prior Knowledge

  • ICT skills in Microsoft Excel* (essential)
  • ICT skills in Microsoft Word* and PowerPoint* (desired)
  • Interpreting information from a variety of formats (e.g. timetables, travel brochures, websites)
  • Mapping skills
  • Understanding and appreciating the interests of a person from another culture
  • Awareness of cultural differences and similarities
  • Using a variety of mathematical skills (e.g. using 24 hour time)
  • Persuasive writing
  • Popular tourist destinations in Queensland and Australia

Teachers’ Professional Learning

  • ICT Professional Development in: Microsoft Excel*
  • Word processed tables
  • Hyper linking
  • Digital Photos
  • Scanning
  • Internet (e.g. saving pictures of tourist attractions, accommodation information, etc.)
  • Publication and website software
  • Multimedia Presentation Software
  • Professional Learning Team with:
  • LOTE teacher
  • ICT teacher
  • Japanese Guest speaker
  • Year 6 and 7 students attending Japanese Trip
  • Professional reading:
  • Productive Pedagogies (e.g. Intellectual Quality, Connectedness, Recognition of Difference)
  • Use of Higher Thinking Skills (e.g. Y chart, T chart, Venn Diagrams, etc.)

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Whole class

  • Whole class discussions
  • Typical Australian (e.g. stereotypes)
  • Stimulus pictures “When Cultures Meet” cartoons – progress discussion about cultures
  • Y Chart to brainstorm types of foods in Australia and Japan
  • Comparison of Japanese and Australian cultures using a Venn Diagram
  • Complete Philosophical discussion on questions of culture and stereotypes
  • LOTE lessons continue introducing students to Japanese culture
  • Japanese Guest speaker
  • ICT lessons – Microsoft Excel*, Microsoft Word* and Microsoft PowerPoint*
  • Persuasive text writing
  • Excursion to Koala Park
  • Concept map about culture and use this information to complete ‘Cultural Iceberg’

Small groupoup

  • Building awareness of culture.
  • Maths activities on 24-hour time scale & coordinate, interpreting graphs, budgeting, etc.


  • Research into popular tourist destinations in local area and throughout Australia.
  • Pair and share of persuasive justifications for travel itineraries.


  • Constructing T Chart listing facts and opinions for Australian and Japanese youth activities.
  • Writing a personal profile.
  • Building and writing a profile of Japanese exchange student.
  • Writing a local travel itinerary (1 to 2 days).
  • Writing a national travel itinerary (7 to 8 days).
  • Construct a spreadsheet.
  • Write a persuasive justification stating why one travel itinerary is better.

Self Paced Learning

Provide Microsoft PowerPoints* and a student checklist for students to be able to pace their own learning

Teaching and Learning Activities

Introducing the Unit

Teachers use the curriculum framing questions to encourage students to explore their identity. Teachers identify learning activities to help students understand the Australian culture for example:

  • Teachers ask students to draw a picture of a typical Australian man or woman and attach some adjectives to describe their drawing. Suggestions collected by teacher and organized using a word chart. Teacher asks students “What is culture?” and “What is a stereotype?
  • Class philosophical discussion on questions of culture and stereotypes. Children identify their own cultural heritage based on their parent/grand-parent country of origin. Teacher poses the question “What in our lives reflects our culture?” Students respond to this question through creating a blog about their daily life and the Australian culture.  
  • Stimulus pictures and “When Cultures Meet” cartoons can be used to progress discussion about cultures.
  • Students bring a tin can to school to complete “Can of Aussie Icons” activity. Children design a can label to describe and “sell” a product that encapsulated all the ingredients that make up a common representation of Australia.
  • Teacher asks students again “What in our lives reflects our culture?” Students participate in a brainstorming activity that calls for suggestions about types of food we have seen over time. Can it reflect our culture? Suggestions organized in Y Chart.
  • Students view popular images of youth activities through Australian sports and music. Students contribute to a T Chart listing facts and opinions.
  • Adding to the previous blog the students revisit the question “What in our lives reflects our culture?
  • Students create a multimedia presentation of their personal profile (PPT 188KB) including general information, their favourite food, interests and hobbies, where they go to school, where they live including a description of their house and their family.
  • In pairs or groups the students will review other students’ multimedia presentations and provide written or verbal feedback.
  • Teacher poses the question “How can we ascertain the interests of other people from other cultures?

In collaboration with the LOTE (Language Other Than English) teacher at your school, identify learning activities to help students understand the Japanese culture and identity for example:

Begin by asking the students “What do we know about the Japanese culture?”

  • The LOTE teacher provides students with cultural information about Japan (conversational Japanese).
  • Use a map of the world to colour in the countries of Australia and Japan to identify a geographical position and investigate an economic relationship by drawing lines to indicate import/export commodities.
  • Participate in a research activity about types of food in Japan. Can it reflect the culture? Suggestions organized in Y Chart. Students bring a cushion and placemat to school to participate in a typical Japanese meal using chop sticks. Students compare types of food in Japan to types of food in Australia. Students reflect on what they like/dislike about both types of food and styles of eating.
  • Research popular images of youth activities including Japanese sports and music. Students contribute to a T Chart listing facts and opinions.
  • Optional: If possible have a Japanese person create a blog about the daily life and culture in Japan and share the blog on Australian life and culture.
  • Listen to a guest speaker from a local Japanese cultural association to share daily routine, hobbies & cultural experiences. Students reflect on presentation, and how Japanese values are reflected in their lifestyle.
  • Complete concept map about culture and then use this information to complete a culture iceberg (JPG 272KB) considering what can be seen culturally and what underpins this with regard to values etc. For more information on this type of activity and graphic organiser refer to: unity in diversity*.
  • Create a multimedia presentation on Japanese culture (PPT 509KB) to share with the class.
  • Students work in pairs to review others’ work and provide feedback.
  • Invent the character of an exchange student from Japan. Children consider name, age, gender, city of origin, family names, work, interests, background, etc and share through creating amultimedia presentation (PPT 186KB).

Students revisit both blogs and consider the similarities and differences between the daily life of a Japanese student and their own, and why Japanese children may find certain aspects of our culture and lifestyle interesting. The teacher leads discussions on the comparison of Australian and Japanese cultures through the students:

  • Identifying common Japanese brand names that can be found in their daily experiences – cars, electrical equipment, etc. Advertisements can be cut out and pasted on a class chart.
  • Comparing the Can of Aussie Icons and the Culture Iceberg of Japan.
  • Comparing the Y Chart listings on the type of food identified in each culture.
  • Comparing the T Chart listings on popular images of youth activities for Australian and Japanese including sports and music.
  • Creating a Venn diagram comparing the cultures of Japan and Australia finding commonalities and differences. The Y and T charts previously created will scaffold this Venn Diagram activity.

Students research tourist attractions and destinations in Australia.

Teacher prepares support materials (PPT 549KB) to scaffold student research.

Students investigate popular tourist attractions by:

  • Writing a day itinerary to a tourist attraction and participating in an excursion. Students observe tourists and their behaviours in relation to the attraction they are interacting with. Teacher asks students to reflect during their visit on “Why do people visit Australia?
  • Identifying the unique attractions on offer in regional, State or Australia wide areas that would be of interest to a Japanese exchange student. Students cut & paste pictures or write the name of the attraction on a large map of Australia. Students consider the question “What is special about Australia?

Students investigate popular tourist destinations by:

  • Brainstorming: teacher poses the question “What places within Australia have cultural or historical significance?
  • Collecting tourist brochures to gather information about the attractions on offer in different towns and cities in Australia. They consider the descriptive and persuasive language within the text of the brochures. Students use pictures for itineraries.
  • Teacher presents 6 possible tourist venues and directs a whole class lesson using criteria to rate the appropriateness of local tourist venue selections: uniqueness, age appropriate, culture appropriate, cost, transport ease, personal interest. Students return to the content question “Which activities, attractions and destinations will appeal to people from other countries, and why?” Students rate each criteria (1 to 5) relating it to their exchange student’s profile.
  • Students should be matched with a peer tutor if having difficulty matching tourist venues to student profiles.
  • Research rubrics (DOC 38KB) can be created to assist in assessing student work.
  • Students will compile a publication to describe and promote their tourist attraction and destination. Examples could include a brochure (PDF 224KB) or postcard (PDF 123KB).
  • Students compile their multimedia presentation (PPT 176KB) of their local attractions and national destinations and present it to the class.
  • All presentations are burnt to CD and placed in the Class Tourist Information Library.

Students compile a local and national itinerary for people travelling from Japan to Australia.

  • Prior to this stage of the unit, teachers may create support materials (PPT 648KB) to guide students through the process and purpose of their research and activities.
  • Teacher poses the question “Where can we obtain further necessary information for a travel itinerary?” Students discuss sources of travel and accommodation information.
  • Students view teacher presentation (PPT 648KB) which covers all components of project.

Students participate in the following learning activities.

  • Engage in explicit and focused mathematics lessons to cover all numeracy skills required for the completion of all aspects of the travel itineraries: 24 hour time (scheduling, timelines), measurement (distance, travel time, speed), mathematical formula for Microsoft Excel, scale & coordinates for mapping, money (exchange rates), budgeting constraints interpreting graphs.
  • Participate in ongoing directed lesson with the Key Teacher ICT’s in computer lab in constructing an itinerary budget using Excel spreadsheets – activity, details, quantity, cost per item, total cost.
  • Students will consider “What is a travel itinerary and a reasonable budget?” They may return at later times to this question as they gather more information to support their itinerary and budget, and need to compare prices and options.
  • Look at examples of travel itineraries collected from travel agents and/or actual personal examples.
  • Become familiar with and use as a guide a schedule of travelling times within Queensland and within Australia (by plane, train, bus and car)
  • Will undertake a selection process for their local and nationwide itinerary venues. Students reflect on which activities and attractions/destinations may appeal to their travellers. They may also consider if it is appropriate to use knowledge of their own needs and values at times when planning the itinerary. Are some needs and interests universal? Students will also consider the question “How can we accommodate the needs and interests of people from other countries?” They will consider the personal interest profile of their traveller and rate different categories - city vs country, adventure vs culture, depth vs breadth.
  • Students present their itinerary proposal to teacher for approval and conference. The local itinerary is to reflect 2 days travelling from Brisbane by car, bus or train.
  • Discuss the structure of the itinerary format. Students should include destination, arrival & departure timing, schedule - time (24 hour), transport – company name, accommodation, activities, cultural/recreational experiences, costs.
  • Compile and write their itinerary for the local and/or national tour using Word and/or Word table formatting.
  • Create a website (PDF 352.6KB) or multimedia presentation about their local and/or national itinerary.
  • In pairs students review each other’s work and provide feedback.
  • Teacher and students discuss whether the research and thinking has enabled them to compile an entertaining and informative itinerary for their Japanese exchange student. Teacher encourages students to expand and justify their responses.

Persuasive Writing

Students revisit and use persuasive writing genres to compare their local and national itineraries and make a recommendation giving a brief justification in terms of what they were designed to achieve. Students use the research and thinking they have done throughout the unit to justify why they developed their particular local and national itineraries for their Japanese exchange student, and what influenced their choices.class=bodytext>

Students will evaluate the Rich Task using a PMI.

Students celebrate their learning by inviting parents and the school community to a Travel Expo.

Accommodations for Diverse Needs

Students with special needs

  • Modified requirements – local travel itinerary (1 day) based on excursion to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.
  • Itinerary constructed with extra resources from SEU teacher aides.
  • Students receive extended working time and templates for activities.
  • Provide self paced learning materials eg: Microsoft PowerPoint’s* of step-by-step instructions or a student checklist in a sequential order to follow.

English as a second language (ESL) students

  • ESL teacher provides extra assistance and adapted program
  • Peer assistance

Gifted students

  • Provide with self-paced or extension learning activities.


Shannon Bryant and Kate Jones participated in the Intel Teach Program, which resulted in this idea for a classroom project. A team of teachers expanded the plan into the example you see here.

© The State of Queensland (Department of Education and the Arts) 2006.

* Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Konichiwa Mate!'

At a Glance

Year: Level 6
Subjects: Literacy, Numeracy, Studies of Society & Environment, Languages Other Than English, ICT
Time Needed: 11 week period with teacher preparation time