During this lesson, students will examine eating disorders. They will discuss different disorders, the signs and symptoms of each disorder, and the professional help available.

Year level



60 minutes


In class activity

SEL Competencies

Social awareness

Responsible decision-making

Learning intention

Students can explain different eating disorders and where to access professional help.

Key outcomes

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

  • identify the different types of eating disorders, and suggest practical ways to support a friend with an eating disorder.

Materials needed

  • Student access to ReachOut.com

  • Whiteboard

Mapped to

Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

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

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Social management

  • Critical and Creative Thinking:

    • Reflecting

    • Inquiring

  • Digital Literacy:

    • Investigating

  • Intercultural Understanding:

    • Engaging with cultural and linguistic diversity

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

  • Assesses their own and others’ capacity to reflect on and respond positively to challenges (PD5-1)

  • Researches and appraises the effectiveness of health information and support services available in the community (PD5-2)

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Evaluate situations and propose appropriate emotional responses, and then reflect on possible outcomes of different responses to health and wellbeing (VCHPEP147)

  • Evaluate health information from a range of sources and apply to health decisions and situations (VCHPEP148)

Show details

Activity 1

Classroom activity: Exploring eating disorders

20 minutes

To feel more confident when teaching this lesson, we recommend you access:

Brainstorm: What are the warning signs of eating disorders?

  • In groups, students list as many behavioural, physical and psychological warning signs of eating disorders as they can think of.

Venn diagram: Different eating disorders

  • Draw a Venn diagram on the whiteboard. In the circles, write the names of the three types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

  • As a class, in the shared section of the Venn diagram, identify the similarities between the disorders – e.g. they are all food-related; they are all a mental health issue.

  • As a class, identify in each circle on the diagram the features that differentiate the disorders. This can include a definition.

Activity 2

Classroom discussion: Helping a friend

20 minutes

  1. Ask students to access one or all of the following articles:

  2. After reading the article(s), answer the following questions:

    • What are the behaviours you would expect to see in this friend?

    • What are some practical ways you can support your friend to seek help?

    • What should you do if your friend doesn’t want your help?

  3. Provide an opportunity for students to discuss their answers. Depending on the class, this may be best done in small groups.

Activity 3

Support service investigation

20 minutes

  1. Introduce students to the Butterfly Foundation.

  2. Students create a brochure about the Butterfly Foundation. Their brochure should include the following information:

    • what the Butterfly Foundation is

    • the support it offers

    • how to access it.


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