Dismantling Stereotypes

By Claire Pattle and Kirsten Raath

We believe that if we transform the way we teach, we will transform the way our students learn. Using real-world problems in our teaching ensures that students are equipped with skills, knowledge and an understanding of the world they will one day face.

We believe that formal assessment is 'old school' and that students should be provided with response choices so that they have a voice and an opinion resulting in better understanding, effort and engagement in the learning process. 

This is why we believe in PBL! 

The vision

The vision

With this Project-based learning task we wanted to get the students to think innovatively and collaborate to solve the real world problem of stereotyping. While doing this we wanted them to learn new skills in English and Digital Literacy such as effective presentations and website creation.  

Students had to identify a stereotype or stereotypes that they wanted to break down and then identify how they could do so, by creating a final product. There were no limitations as to what they could create. They presented their website and final product to their parents at a showcase evening. There were checks and balances embedded as they progressed. Along the way they also wrote a poem, designed a survey and analysed the data, read their setwork, had a debate and wrote a critique. They also developed their soft skills of empathy, collaboration and introspection.

Curriculum standards

The vision
Curriculum standards

This learning facilitated the development of the following skills identified in CAPS:


  • Listening and Speaking
  • Reading and Viewing
  • Writing and Presenting

Life Orientation:

  • Development of the self in society
  • Health, social and environmental responsibility
  • Constitutional rights and responsibilities

Learning journey

The vision


The project ran for 5 weeks (roughly 20 hours of contact time).


Student activities

The vision
Student activities





We began the PBL with a design thinking workshop where learners had to create a toy for a toddler. We used this to springboard into a discussion of how the learners adhered to stereotypical ideas when creating the toys. This led to discussions on stereotyping and identity formation and then into the learners' creation of their websites and final product. While busy with this, in class, the learners were also reading a novel, chosen from a list, that dealt with stereotypes and had to complete a task based on this.


Click HERE to view some of the learners' design thinking creations



Google Forms survey to better understand the problem


Survey data analysis to inform product creation decision.

Fishbowl debate

Identity Silhouettes

Bitmoji creations

Self-paced, differentiated learning through a HyperDoc: Identity, Stereotypes & Discrimination

Sketchnoting to demonstrate understanding of the novel

App prototyping in Keynote

Student reflections with Flipgrid

Creation of an NGO

Final Product


After the showcase evening was over, pupils engaged in some feedback from their peers. They completed a Google Form where they gave feedback on their group members and they completed one on themselves too.


Parents, friends, and family were invited to attend a ‘Showcase with the Stars’ evening where the Grade 8s showcased their campaigns and products. The NGOs these students created addressed discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexuality, economic status, personality types, and more. Their innovative solutions to prevent stereotyping ranged from blogs to social media campaigns to bracelets to clothing ranges to children's books to online courses to board games to support apps - all of which were displayed on the night.  With thanks to Parrot Interactive Products, the top 6 projects were displayed on large LED Interactive TV Screens.

Student reflections

The vision

What PARENTS had to say...

"I think all the kids did an amazing job and their level of teamwork and broad-based thinking was just admirable. It’s heartwarming seeing how passionate they were and their ideas were amazing.Their bravery in answering questions is admirable."

"I was blown away! The level of thinking and creativity at this young age was amazing. A few parents said how we wish we had this training at school. The ideas were brilliant. Content so relevant."

"Well researched and presented. Astounded at the level of presentation and confidence of the Grade 8s."


"I was so impressed with all the work the children presented. This PBL has really stretched our young ones minds and I believe that continued use of this method will equip them going forward to face the real life challenges of an ever-changing world."

Technology used

The vision
  • Google Classroom, Google Sites, Google Drive, Google Forms
  • iPads, Keynote
  • Parrot interactive white boards (Showcase display)
Technology used

What's next?

The vision

In Business Studies, the students are using their ideas from this project to market a business and their product, as well as, draw up a business plan and budget to produce the product. A few of the groups are also taking their projects further. One group has met with the diversity task team at our school to see how they could integrate some of their ideas and resources to transform school practices.

Closing thoughts

The vision

“If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”

- John Dewey


Want to learn more about PBL? Want to learn more about IBL? 

Hop over to LaunchPad and complete our SACE-accredited Power of Project-based Learning and Design Thinking in your Classroom courses. 

Or bring us to your school or join us online for our Extreme Project Makeover or Breaking Down the Silos workshops.