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Year Level: Years 5-6 | Duration: 45 minutes | Revised July 2015

Lesson objective:

Little thought is given to the sacrifices made in order for us to have a glass of milk. The sheer scale of commercial milk production in Australia has led to practices that often compromise the welfare of the animals involved. In order the produce milk, a dairy cow is required to be pregnant or lactating and ‘bobby calves’, who are considered as surplus to the farmer’s needs, are separated from their mothers shortly after birth to be transported for slaughter at around 5 days old. This lesson focuses on having students consider the complex process involved in milk production and the ethical problems surrounding it.


Learning areas (ACARA National Curriculum):

  • ACHEK002 – Types of resources (natural, human, capital) and the ways societies use them in order to satisfy the needs and wants of present and future generations.
  • ACHEK003 – Influence on consumer choices and methods that can be used to help make informed personal consumer and financial choices.
  • ACHES006 – Identify alternate responses to an issue or event, and consider the advantages and disadvantages of preferring one to others.

Note: The Economics and Business curriculum is awaiting final endorsement as of 24 March 2014.

Subject area: ENGLISH

Learning areas (ACARA National Curriculum)

  • ACELY1714 – Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience.

Brief lesson outline:

As a class, students will talk about the processes involved in producing milk in Australia. Students will discuss what they think to be the problems involved with this process and will be prompted to consider potential solutions and alternatives. Students will then examine a mock advertisement for cow’s milk and will be asked to create a more informative advertisement that gives consumers the level of information they believe is required.

Accompanying resources/learning materials:


Coloured pencils

Prior Knowledge:


Learning outcomes:

  • Students will understand some of the problems that arise from using animals in mass production. They will be encouraged to think of solutions and alternatives to these problems.
  • Students will appreciate the importance of consumer awareness and demonstrate this through designing an informative advertisement.


1. INTRODUCTION (15 minutes)

1.1 Discuss the milk production system in Australia. Prompt questions like “Where does milk come from?”, “Why do cows produce milk?”, “Why do you think humans drink cow’s milk?” 

1.2 Brainstorm on the board some solutions to the problems brought up earlier. Answers may range from drinking less milk or finding alternative sources of calcium. Discuss how these solutions may be achieved (e.g. having more informative advertising so that people can understand how milk is produced and make choices based on this.)

2. BODY (20 minutes)

2.1 Ask students to look at the mock advertisement for cow’s milk on their work sheet. Students will design their own advertisement for cow’s milk according to how much information they think consumers should know. They can design this from the perspective of a dairy farmer, an activist or a seller of a milk alternative product.


3.1 Ask which students would like to share their advertisement with the class. Discuss why it is important for shoppers to know more about how their food is produced.

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