Strategies to manage change

Time to complete Strategies to manage change: 50 minutes

Year level: 4


Students explore the physical, social and emotional changes that occur throughout a person's life.

Learning focus

Physical and character aspects of a person that change or stay the same during their lifetime.

Key understandings

  • People grow, change and develop.

  • Bodies grow, change and develop at their own rate and at different times to others.

  • There are some aspects of physical, social and emotional changes that occur throughout a person's life that they have no control over.

  • There are some aspects of physical, social and emotional changes that occur throughout a person's life that they can control.

  • Some aspects of our identity change during our lifetime, some stay the same.

  • Some changes are inevitable.


  • A series of photographs of a person as a baby, toddler, young child and older child/teenager
  • Internet access
  • A3 paper [one per student]

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

Health and physical education(P)

Personal, social and community health

This strand will develop students' knowledge, understanding and skills to support a positive sense of self, to effectively respond to life events and transitions and to engage in their learning. Effective communication, decision-making and goal-setting skills are integral to this strand as they help to establish and maintain relationships in family, school, peer group and community settings, support healthy and safer behaviours, and enable advocacy. Students will source and examine a range of health information, products, services and policies, and evaluate their impact on individual and community health and safety.

Mental health and wellbeing

Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.

Before you get started

  • This activity is an introduction to puberty. It is appropriate for students to know and be able to name external parts of the body including the names for external sexual parts, e.g. penis, vulva, breast, testicles and buttocks (or bottom). Ensure students learn and use the correct names of the body parts.

  • Age-appropriate education involves teaching students the correct names for, and functions of, their body parts and teaches them to care for, respect, and protect their bodies. Knowing these names enables children to communicate clearly if they need to get help, and in particular in cases of abuse or injury.

  • The classroom teacher should send a letter home to parents/caregivers providing an overview of the learning sequence their child will be participating in. It is recommended to include a copy of, or a downloadable PDF link to, the free parent resource developed by the Western Australian Department of Health: Talk soon. Talk often. A Guide For Parents Talking to their Kids About Sex.

Learning activities

Whole Class

Students are provided with an opportunity to discover the physical, emotional and social changes that happen to a person over time.

  1. Present the students with an image of a baby. Invite them to guess the child's age, size and gender.

    • Present an image of the same child at a more advanced age and ask the students to describe how the child has changed from one picture to the next.

    • Continue to present the images of the child as they advance in age and discuss the obvious physical changes.

    • Have students make predictions of how the child will continue to change into the future.

  1. Show the following examples of how people change over time:

  1. Use the brainstorm teaching strategy to list the physical changes that occur for a person over a lifetime.

  2. Discuss the things that are needed for these physical changes to develop in a healthy way (e.g. care from family, love, personal hygiene, healthy food, sufficient exercise, healthy environments).

  3. Discuss the places where young people learn about physical changes that their bodies will undertake as they get older. For example, from parents, brothers and sisters, other family members, TV, books, internet, religious institutions. Ask which ones might be good sources of correct information? Why?

  4. Repeat the activity for emotional and social changes and discuss similar prerequisites for healthy development of emotional and social change. Talk about how, when we are very young, adults care for us and make all the decisions. But as we grow older, we can decide things too.

  5. Ask:

    • Do we have control over our physical changes? If so, which ones? Which physical changes don’t we have control over?

    • Do we have control over our emotional changes?

    • What can help us control our emotional changes in a positive way? (e.g. thinking positive thoughts about self and others, positive self-talk, having someone to talk to about uncomfortable feelings, having and being a good friend.)  

    • Do we have control over our social changes? (e.g. changes in friendships/ birth of new siblings/ separation of parents). If so, which ones? Which social changes do we often have little control over?

Independent or Small Group

Students consider physical, emotional and social changes that have occurred in their lives over the last 5 years and into the future. Students also compare and contrast their personal changes with the changes of other students in the class to assist in the understanding that everybody changes at different rates and times.

  1. Have the students consider physical, emotional and social changes that have occurred in their lives over the last 5 years. Invite students to share their observations.

    • Students may be able to make observations about others if they have been friends or classmates during earlier years of schooling (use protective interrupting when required).

  1. Give the opportunity for students to consider physical, emotional and social changes that might occur in the next five years and encourage them to share their suggestions.

    • Discuss how some changes are inevitable and will happen to everybody at different rates and times.

    • Introduce the idea that each student will experience changes associated with puberty as they progress through adolescence and develop towards adulthood but that they will do so at their own rate. Stress that there is little that can be done to slow or speed up puberty.

  1. On an A3 sheet of paper, have students draw pictures of themselves at four years old, nine years old and 14 years old. 

    • Have students make notes or lists of how they have changed physically, emotionally and socially changes from age four to nine and then anticipate the same types of changes from age nine to age 14 years. 

    • Have the students identify aspects they believe will remain constant throughout these years and their lives. (The five-year intervals could be increased or reduced at the teacher's discretion or specific ages could be identified.)


  1. Invite different students to share their predictions for the different ages.

  2. Ask:

    • Which changes do you have most control over – physical, emotional or social?

    • Which changes are beyond your control?

    • How does this make you feel?

    • Which changes do you consider to be good ones?

    • Which changes do you consider to be difficult ones?

    • Which aspects of yourself might require a deliberate effort to change?

    • Are there any differences in changes for boys and girls?

    • What is easy or challenging about changes for girls/boys?

    • Are there any changes listed that probably won’t happen?

    • Have you noticed that many people share the same feelings about different aspects of growing up?

    • Why might we use the words difficult or challenging instead of bad to describe some changes? (Some changes are difficult, or challenging, but they can turn out to be positive)