Years 4,5,6
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Unit of Work
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The Election: Local Government Teaching and Learning Unit

  • Civics and Citizenship
  • Humanites and Social Sciences

The Election

Lesson three – double lesson

In this lesson, students will take part in a vote to elect their council members. Returning officers will facilitate and tally the votes and, once complete, the students will meet their elected members.

How Do You Vote in Local Government?



Year 4 

AC9HS4K08 – the roles of local government and how members of the community use and contribute to local services 

AC9HS4S05 – draw conclusions based on analysis of information 

AC9HS4S06 – propose actions or responses to an issue or challenge that consider possible effects of actions 

AC9HS4S07 – present descriptions and explanations, using ideas from sources and relevant subject-specific terms 

Year 5

AC9HS5K06 – the key values and features of Australia’s democracy, including elections, and the roles and responsibilities of elected representatives 

AC9HS5K07 – how citizens (members of communities) with shared beliefs and values work together to achieve a civic goal 

AC9HS5S05 – develop evidence-based conclusions 

AC9HS5S06 – propose actions or responses to issues or challenges and use criteria to assess the possible effects 

AC9HS5S07 – present descriptions and explanations, drawing ideas, findings and viewpoints from sources, and using relevant terms and conventions 

Year 6

AC9HS6K07 – the roles and responsibilities of the 3 levels of government in Australia 

AC9HS6S05 – develop evidence-based conclusions 

AC9HS6S06 – propose actions or responses to issues or challenges and use criteria to assess the possible effects 

AC9HS6S07 – present descriptions and explanations, drawing ideas, findings and viewpoints from sources, and using relevant terms and conventions 

Before the Lesson

There is some additional organising that needs to occur before this lesson:

  • Prepare the ballot papers for both the councillor and the mayor’s role by listing the names of the nominees for the role (returning officer’s job).
  • Print one of each of the ballot papers per student.
  • Ensure a class list is available for the returning officers to tick off.
  • Select a ballot box for collecting votes.
  • Ready the voting space according to the Voting space guidelines (returning officer’s job).
  • Provide a computer to use for the voting tally.


Begin today with some questions to get the class thinking about the voting process:

  • What do you know about voting in Australia?
  • Is there anything we do that is different from other countries?
  • There are rules around who can/can’t run in an election and who can/can’t vote. Why do you think that is?

Discuss the difference between postal voting and in-person voting and clarify that typically council elections are conducted through the post.

Watch the How do you vote in local government? video to explore the process and rules of elections further. Take time to answer any questions the students may have.

Activity One

Before voting begins, allow the candidates to introduce themselves, the role they are running for and the qualities that make them a suitable candidate.

Activity Two

The Election:

  1. All students, excluding returning officers, form a line outside of the classroom, ready to vote.
  2. Returning officers welcome students one by one to the voting space, marking their names from the class list to ensure no double-ups.
  3. The voters receive two voting slips, one for the candidates for mayor and one for candidates for councillor. When called upon, they enter the “booth”, mark down their preferences and then exit, placing both of their slips into the ballot box container.
  4. Once done, they return to their seats and continue with a quiet activity (such as their Personal statement) until the whole class has voted.
  5. Once all students have voted, the returning officers then place their own votes.
  6. The returning officers now count the votes and input them into the Election formula.
  7. While they do this, the class can work in small groups and brainstorm initiatives, issues and ideas to discuss in the upcoming council meeting or they can spend time completing their Personal statements.

Activity Three

Once the counting is complete, the returning officers provide the results to the CEO (teacher) who announces the names of the newly elected councillors and mayor.

The CEO (teacher) can now appoint the council staff roles out of the remaining students. This can be announced now or at the beginning of the next lesson. The CEO selects the:

  • Governance Officer
  • Manager of Finance
  • Manager of Infrastructure and Environment
  • Manager of Community Services
  • Manager of Planning and Compliance
  • Manager of Corporate


Reflect as a class on the process of the election. Was it different or similar to what they expected? Why?

This project has been supported by the Local Government Research and Development Scheme administered by the Local Government Association of SA.


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