Overcoming challenges

Transition from primary to secondary school involves a period of rapid change that is challenging for both students and their families. It’s a time of celebration and excitement, but it can also be quite worrying and stressful for students and their families if they are not adequately prepared. This lesson encourages students to contemplate all the challenges they may face, in order to better prepare for them. We will also consider where students can seek help for each challenge or what they could do in the situation.

Year Level



20 minutes


  • In class activity

SEL Competencies

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Relationship skills

Learning Intention

Students learn about challenges they might experience when starting at secondary school and potential strategies for overcoming these challenges.

Key Outcomes

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

  • understand the challenges they may face when starting secondary school
  • identify where they can seek help or what they could do in response to each challenge they may face.

Group brainstorm: Challenges 10 min

  1. Explain to students that today’s activity will focus on understanding challenges they might face when starting high school.
  2. Ask students to write in their notebooks their answers to the brainstorm question, ‘What challenges might we face when starting high school?’
  3. Prompt students with challenges they might face when starting at a new school (e.g. making friends, new routines, new teachers).
  4. Split students into their groups, and hand out butcher’s’ paper and a coloured marker per group.
  5. In groups, students discuss their answers and write them on the butcher’s paper.
  6. After a couple of minutes, ask groups to share some of their challenges with the class.