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Teachers: Citizenship: Commonwealth

Last Updated: Wednesday November 03 2004 18:52 GMT

The Commonwealth - people and places

Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
The Commonwealth and its role

Kim Stephenson: Officer for the Commonwealth Institute's Education Team. The institute's collection is now housed at the British Empire & Commonwealth Museum (BECM).


The Commonwealth is an example of a global community that students may not be aware they are part of.

Students investigate their own Commonwealth connections and answer a quiz.

Learning aims

  • Learn what the Commonwealth is, its values and function
  • Reflect upon personal connections with the Commonwealth


    1 - 30%
    2 - never
    3 - true
    4 - false (e.g. Mozambique was settled by the Portugese)
    5 - not in it
    6 - reach agreement
    7 - they break the rules
    8 - true
    9 - don't have to have it
    10 - 60%

    Media presentation

    Main activity

    Ask students to bring in photos of relatives they have living in other Commonwealth countries or places they have visited or have a connection with. Stick these onto a world map.

    How much of the class have Commonwealth connections?

    Students can write questions to interview parents, grandparents or members of the community who were born in a different Commonwealth country. NB: The four nations of the UK compete separately in the Commonwealth Games.

    They could make a class book to record these experiences.

    Extension activity

    Make a link with a school in another Commonwealth country.

    Students could exchange photos and stories.

    For further help and examples of school links visit the World Links team at the British Council on the right hand side of this page.


    Recap on the main teaching points and students present the findings from their Commonwealth interviews.

    Teachers' background.

    The XVIII Commonwealth Games will be held from15th July to 26th August 2006 in Melbourne.

    The Commonwealth is made from 54 independent countries.

    The Head of the Commonwealth is HM Queen Elizabeth II.

    Headquarters are at Marlborough House in London.

    1.7 billion people in the Commonwealth (29.8% of the world's population) About half of this population are less than 25 years old.

    The member with the biggest population is India (one billion) and the smallest are Nauru and Tuvalu in the Pacific ocean (11,000 people each).

    The richest are Australia, Canada, Singapore and the UK.

    Some of the poorest are Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Tanzania.

    Commonwealth countries work together to make their economies stronger, to improve their systems of government and to improve the skills of their people.

    The Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) takes place every two years.

    The next CHOGM is scheduled to take place in Malta. The summit will take place in the country's capital, Valletta, on 25-27 November 2005.

  • Curriculum relevence

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