Starting secondary school is an exciting time for students to meet new people in a new environment. However, it can also be a challenging and anxious time. It is important that students find a group they are comfortable with and to which they feel they belong, to help them face the challenges of starting at a new school. Exploring ways to make new friends will help students to understand the importance of friendships.

Year level



20 minutes


In class activity

SEL Competencies

Social awareness

Relationship skills

Learning intention

Students learn why making new friendships is important, by exploring how to make new friends and practising making connections.

Key outcomes

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

  • explain why making new friends is important in helping them to settle into a new school

  • identity ways to make new friends

  • practise making new connections by finding things in common.

Materials needed

  • Whiteboard and markers

  • Post-It notes

  • Large piece of cardboard for a Post-It poster

  • Friendship bingo cards for each student

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)

Australian Curriculum: General Capabilities

  • Personal and Social Capability:

    • Self-awareness

    • Self-management

  • Critical and Creative Thinking:

  • Reflecting

  • Inquiring

NSW PDHPE Syllabus

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

Victorian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education

  • Investigate the impact of transition and change on identities (VCHPEP123)

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

Show details

Activity 1

Class brainstorm: Friendships

5 minutes

  1. On a whiteboard or in a central place, write the question, ‘Why are friendships important?’

  2. Ask students to list reasons and discuss as you go. Examples include:

    • to have fun

    • to feel supported

    • to learn from

    • to provide a sense of belonging

    • to experience new things

    • to face challenges together.

  3. Conclude the activity by explaining that starting secondary school is an opportunity for them to make new friends and to build on new and existing connections. Emphasise that it's important to find a group where they feel comfortable and to which they feel they belong, as this will help them to settle into school and face the challenges that are a part of making the transition.

Activity 2

Post-It think, pair, share: Making new friends

5 minutes

  1. Ask students to think of how they could make new friends when starting secondary school.

  2. Discuss a few simple examples to get them thinking. Examples include:

    • Introduce yourself.

    • Ask questions (e.g. ‘What school are you from?’).

    • Find common interests.

    • Join a social group or sports team.

    • Ask someone to sit with you at lunch or to hang out.

    • Offer to help someone.

  3. Give students 1 minute to record on Post-It notes (or equivalent) as many ideas as they can think of.

  4. Divide students into pairs. Students share and discuss the ideas from their Post-It notes.

  5. After a few minutes, ask students to place their Post-It notes (or equivalent) on a communal poster or space.

  6. Create groups of themes with the Post-It notes and discuss as a group.

Activity 3

Bingo: Find a friend

10 minutes

  1. Explain to students that one good way to make new friends is to find people they have things in common with.

  2. Provide students a pre-filled bingo square (3x3, 4x4) with a list of common characteristics or interests. Alternatively, invite students to draw a 3x3 square in their notebooks and write a list of common characteristics or interests. Examples include:

    • likes the same sport as you

    • has the same number of family members

    • has the same coloured eyes as you

    • likes the same subject as you

    • has the same favourite colour

    • name starts with the same letter as yours

    • has the same pet as you

    • was born in the same month as you

    • has broken a bone, or the same bone as you (if you have).

  3. Invite students to roam the room, talking to different peers and/or teachers to find people who match, and then write their name in the box. Encourage students to talk, rather than quick interactions which means they will win bingo.


No time displayed

Encourage students to continue making new connections to build their support network. Emphasise that it’s important to find a group you feel comfortable with and to which you feel you belong, as this will help you to settle into school, face the inevitable challenges with peer support and have fun with new friends.


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