Friendships play an important role in the lives of young people. Some friendships are important for feelings of connectedness and belonging, while others provide a support network. This lesson asks students to think about friendships and why they are important, and to learn to show gratitude to those friends they value.

Year level



60 minutes


In class activity

Online learning

SEL Competencies

Social awareness

Relationship skills

Learning intention

Students understand why friends are important and how to show gratitude for their friendships.

Key outcomes

By the end of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe why friends are important

  • identify why specific friends are important to them by practising gratitude.

Materials needed

  • Access to the article ‘Life with a chosen family: Andrew shares what his chosen family at Bankstown Poetry Slam means

  • Students’ workbooks

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Analyse the impact of changes and transitions, and devise strategies to support themselves and others through these changes (AC9HP8P02)

  • Examine the roles of respect, empathy, power and coercion in developing respectful relationships (AC9HP8P04)

  • Evaluate emotional responses in different situations to refine strategies for managing emotions (AC9HP10P06)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

    • Social awareness

    • Social management

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Examines and evaluates strategies to manage current and future challenges (PD4-1)

  • Applies and refines interpersonal skills to assist themselves and others to interact respectfully and promote inclusion in a variety of groups or contexts (PD4-10)

  • Critiques their ability to enact interpersonal skills to build and maintain respectful and inclusive relationships in a variety of groups or contexts (PD5-10)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Evaluate strategies to manage personal, physical and social changes that occur as they grow older (VCHPEP124)

  • Investigate the benefits of relationships and examine their impact on their own and others’ health and wellbeing (VCHPEP127)

  • Examine the impact of changes and transitions on relationships (VCHPEP143)

Show details

Activity 1

Class brainstorm: Why are friends important?

10 minutes

  1. Ask students to list reasons why friendships are important.

  2. Create a class list on the board where it can be left for the duration of the lesson.

Examples of why friendships are important include:

  • to have fun

  • to feel supported

  • to learn from

  • to provide a sense of belonging

  • to experience new things.

Activity 2

Video: 'Life with a chosen family'

10 minutes

  1. As a class, watch the video: ‘Life with a chosen family’.

  2. Ask students to try and identify additional reasons why friendships are important that are not already included in the class list.

  3. Add these reasons to the list.

  4. Discuss the concept of ‘chosen family’. What does this term mean? Can close friends support us like family?

Activity 3

Pair, share and record

20 minutes

  1. In pairs, ask students to discuss what having good friendships means to them and the role that friendships play in their life. They can use ideas from the video ‘Life with a chosen family’ and the class list to help them.

  2. Students record their ideas in their workbooks.

  3. Encourage students to expand their ideas and provide more details.

Examples could include:

  • Friendships provide a sense of belonging, and help them to develop confidence.

  • Friends provide security and comfort because they are going through similar things.

  • Friends are a source of information about the changes and challenges of the high-school years.

  • Friendships offer a chance to experiment with different values, roles, identities and ideas.

  • Friendships teach you how to get along with people of the opposite sex or to experience romantic relationships.

  • Friends offer a social group to do new things with.

Activity 4

Gratitude letter: Thank a friend

20 minutes

  1. Ask students to think of a person they consider to be a friend. It doesn’t have to be someone at school.

  2. Students write three dot points explaining why their chosen person is important to them.

  3. Students write a thank-you note to their friend, explaining why they are important to them. They can use their dot points to help them.

Note: Remind students of the benefits of gratitude, and of the importance of acknowledging the important people in our lives. Thanking them can help them feel valued and understand the important role they play in our life.


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