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Lesson objective:

Every year, an estimated 12,600 horses that are bred for racing are killed before they ever see the racetrack. This is because only a few make the cut; the rest are considered wastage. Ex-racehorses usually suffer a similar fate when they are no longer deemed profitable. This lesson plan encourages students to think about the implications of breeding animals for entertainment and profit.

Year Level: Year 5   |   Duration: 1-1.5 hours   |   Revised on 3 November 2014

Subject area: ENGLISH

Learning Areas (ACARA National Curriculum):

  • ACELA1502 – Understand how to move beyond making bare assertions and take account of different perspectives and points of view.
  • ACELY1698 – Show how ideas and points of view in text are conveyed through the use of vocabulary, including idiomatic expressions, objective and subjective language, and that these can change according to context.
  • ACELY1699 – Clarify understanding of content as it unfolds in formal and informal situations, connecting ideas to students’ own experiences and present and justify a point of view.
  • ACELY1700 – Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations for defined audiences and purposes incorporating accurate and sequenced content and multimodal elements.

Brief lesson outline:

In this lesson, students will be divided into four groups: the traditionalists, the stakeholders, the activists and the racehorses. Each group will be given the same research summary and will prepare a five minute role play to defend their designated interest before the Melbourne Cup. Afterwards, each group will present to the class. Students will then reflect on the issues covered by filling in the corresponding worksheet. Students should be encouraged to remain respectful, considerate and patient, and to confidently and creatively voice their opinions for the purpose of informing others around them.


Prior Knowledge:


Humane education objectives:

  • Students will learn to critically assess the moral implications of breeding animals on a large scale
  • Students will learn to question and challenge industry practices that may be unethical
  • Students will learn the importance and effectiveness of remaining respectful and considerate to different opinions

Learning outcomes:

  • Students will learn to prepare and execute arguments in a creative form
  • Students will develop skills in critical thinking and verbal/physical expression


1. INTRODUCTION (5-10 minutes)

1.1 Split the class up into four groups: the traditionalists, the stakeholders, the activists and the racehorses

1.2 Before the activity begins, explain the following definitions: traditionalists are people who believe it is important to stick with the old ways; stakeholders are people who have an interest (usually financial) in a particular business; activists are people who take action in order to achieve a political or social goal.

2. BODY (25-30 minutes)

2.1 Give each group the ‘Research Report’ (available online) to select pieces of information that will help their cause. Each group should write three or four main points and prepare a role playing presentation to convey these points. Students will imagine this to be happening the day before the Melbourne Cup

2.2 Consult with each individual group to ensure students are on the right track. Students can role play a television news segment, an interview for the local newspaper, a boycott of a Melbourne Cup fashion show, daily life in the stables – anything!

3. CONCLUSION (20 minutes)

3.1 Each group will be given 5 minutes to present their group idea.

4. REFLECTION (10-15 minutes)

4.1 Ask individual students to fill in the Talking the Tracks worksheet, reflecting on each group’s presentation and their thoughts and feelings about them.

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