School/ Child Care/ Community Group Resources


Please ensure that you have appropriately followed Risk Management procedures before using any of these ideas.

The information below is also available in a printer friendly format: Curriculum Resource 1 (281 kb PDF) and Curriculum Resource 2 (1.6 mb PDF) Pancake Day Curriculum (297 kb PDF)

In the weeks prior to your school event, you might like to educate your students about the work of UnitingCare and the purpose of Pancake Day. By doing this, students will;

  • develop a richer empathy for less fortunate people.
  • develop a more meaningful understanding of community outreach services.
  • be inspired by the power of bringing people together to work for a better community.
  • be challenged to think about their future and the future of people in need.

English Literacy
English Language
Essential Learnings/Central Themed Activities
History/ Geography

English Literacy National Curriculum

These activities have been created to be taught as individual lessons in the lead up to, or during, Pancake Day. They can be used in conjunction with other resources, and have been based on Literacy activities your year level should be familiar with. The activities correspond to the Australian Curriculum Version 5.1.

Year Level

Activity Name



Circle Time




Students are to share one thing you enjoyed about Pancake Day and one new thing you learned. (ACELY1647)


Write one sentence to describe Pancake Day and illustrate.

Year 1

Recipe Writing

Students can create a recipe using words and diagrams. (ACELY1661)

Year 2

Back-to-back chat

Students will sit outside with a partner, back-to-back. Tell your partner one positive thing you discovered about Uniting Care and one thing which you found interesting. Ask them their opinion about your ideas, then give your partner a turn at sharing their opinions.

Year 3

Helping Hands

Place students in small groups to brainstorm some ways they could help Uniting Care. Regroup as a whole class, and decide on one way the class could help support their work, using turn taking and addressing the class by using public speaking skills. (ACELA1476)

Year 4

News Reporters

Students are to work with a partner and interview them about a time they felt left out. Together, plan a way to help include other people in games or a similar situation.

(ACELY 1687)

Year 5

Mind Map

Read some information about Pancake Day (resources on website) as a class. Model a mind map and allow students to copy down ideas. Write ‘Pancake Day’ in the middle, with subheadings such as ‘Uniting Care’, ‘Helping’ and ‘Shrove Tuesday’ surrounding it.

Students are then to come up with their own ideas and connect them to the mind map. Then they are to take a different colour pen and write about some of their experiences about each of the things brainstormed.


Year 6

Budget Debate

Debating Topic: That all people can live comfortably within a budget.

A debate about budgeting – standard debating framework applies (Affirmative and Negative teams of 3). Students to research this topic and participate in the debate.


Year 7

Multimedia Presentation

Use Windows Movie Maker, Microsoft Story or iMovie to show the students’ understanding of poverty in Australia. Work in small groups or individually. Students are then to use this information as a call to action – e.g. supporting the work of UnitingCare or similar charities, being a friend to those in need etc.


Year 8

Essay Competition

Students are to write a 150 word essay based on one of the following topics:

-The Poverty Problem

-How I want to change the world

-Charities change lives

Run a competition to be judged by a panel on Pancake Day. Essays should be awarded for creativity, problem solving and academic merit.

Year 9

Newspaper Hunt

Collect some articles about poverty, homelessness and social justice issues from the newspaper.

Students are to read and analyse the text. Have the students glue the article to an A3 piece of paper. Then they are to add their own ideas and comments along the text, looking for bias, the author’s emotions and the message being conveyed.


Year 10

Television Survey

Organise for students to watch 3 sitcoms about how families in poverty live to be compared and contrast on a table. Students are to present their findings as a short PowerPoint presentation.


English Language National Curriculum

Year Level

Activity Name



Word Wall

As a whole class, brainstorm some words about Pancake Day. Write the words on cards, and place on wall. Students can copy a few words and illustrate. (ACELA1437)

Year 1

Pancake Recipe

As a whole class, read a pancake recipe together, focussing on the structure of the text. Discuss the purpose of procedure text, then split the class into small groups to write and draw a recipe. (ACELA1447)

Year 2

Penny Picture

Students draw some picture of Penny Pancake. Then have them choose a partner write some words to go with the picture.  The partners will afterwards about what they wrote and how they felt about it. (ACELA1469)

Year 3


After your Pancake Day event, brainstorm some words to describe the pancakes. Each student is given a evaluative word to write down on card. Use it in up to 3 sentences, draw a picture to illustrate the word, and then line up all the cards as a class from most forceful to least forceful.


Year 4

Pancake Recipe

Give students cards at random with either “for kids”, “for teenagers” or “for adults” written on them. Then explain they will be writing a procedure text for pancakes for their target audience. Students are then  to make comparisons with reference to the complexity and technicality of the procedure.



Essential Learning/ Central themed activities

Some central themed activities you might like to consider and/or adapt for your year level which link in to the Essential Learnings of ‘Interdependence’ and ‘Thinking’ from the SACSA Framework include;

  • discussions and activities exploring feelings.
  • exploring the meaning of empathy.
  • differentiating and explaining the difference between poverty and wealth.
  • examining the practical aspects of poverty including influencing factors e.g. poor education, diet and nutrition, employment, social inclusion/exclusion, outside perceptions etc.
  • comparing and contrasting poverty in Australia with poverty in third world countries.
  • researching UnitingCare organisations and the services they provide to help people in need.
  • developing ideas for the future to help alleviate poverty and disadvantage.
  • publishing a special school newsletter edition that highlights UnitingCare and your Pancake Day event.

Activities which may lead on from the central theme/s

Early Learning to Year 2

  • Make a feelings face using a paper plate.
  • Make a UnitingCare chef hat using 
  • Make Penny Pancake finger puppets 
  • Make Cut-out Paper People to show working together 
  • Discuss and graph favourite food toppings. You might like to incorporate learnings associated with the Right Bite curriculum.
  • Make invitations to send to parents/family members the children wish to invite to your event.
  • Talk about the history of Pancake Day. 
  • Organise for your school canteen or morning snack to host themed lunch days to enscourage students to sample different flat breads from around the world e.g. Pita bread, Turkish bread, Tortillas, Indian Chappitas. 

Primary School (Year 3 - 5)

  • UnitingCare .
  • Group role play depicting exclusion.
  • Organise a practical exercise (shopping on a budget, paying rent, Centrelink based incomes) which could involve a visit to the local shopping centre, collecting catalogues that price items to encourage students to think about what constitutes as a ‘life neccesity’ and how they might live without them. What impact would this have on their life?
  • Write a story telling how Penny Pancake could help people in need in your local community.

Middle School (Year 6 - 9)

  • Ask students to organise a UnitingCare Pancake Day event.
  • Research what the media tells us about poverty. Is it accurate? Does it fairly portray people in poverty? Compare the implications of poverty in first world to thrid world countries.
  • Create a poster to advertise UnitingCare services and programs (class competition).
  • Write a story from the perspective of a homeless person.

Senior School (Year 10 -12)

  • Write an imaginative narrative about the day in the life of a young child living in poverty in Australia.
  • Discuss how the media can influence public opinion about an issue. Collect newslpaper clippings about the issue of poverty in Australia and social issues that are the result of poverty. Compare and contrast different media points of view. Write a counter argument to an article on social issues.
  • Hold a class debate - does poverty exist in Australia? If it does, is it absolute or relative?
  • Set up an annual award for students who positively contribute to the community.
  • Organise a partnership with another school nearby that has different socio-economic issues.
  • Visit a local community or welfare organisation which could include a tour or work experience. Use the UnitingCare directory to help you find your closest UnitingCare organisation.



You will need: a sheet of paper large enough for everyone at Messy Church to put a hand print on (eg A2 size), 2 – 3 different coloured paints, 1 -2 paintbrushes per paint colour, trays for paints, paper towels (or hand washing facility)

On a large sheet of paper, write in the middle, ‘Together, we make a difference.’ Individuals paint one of their hands and make a hand print on the poster around the writing. Hand prints may overlap, colours may mix.

Talk about: How might our hands be used to help others? Discuss different ways we use our hands to work together, serve others, make a difference in people’s lives. For example, give a hug, carry something together, bake a meal, tidy a garden. Consider how the handprints mixing together is like us working together. We can see signs of beauty, creativity and newness when we work together.

Card making

You will need: light card in various colours and sizes (no bigger than A4), textas or pens, stickers, other various materials eg decorative hole punches, crepe paper, pictures, glue, Bible verses that encourage (could be printed on stickers/labels or printed on paper to cut and glue on)

Make a card to give to someone to encourage them.

Talk about:The word encouragement means en = add and courage. When we encourage someone we are ‘adding’ courage to them. How can we encourage people? What are encouraging words and actions? How does being encouraged make a difference to you and others? Can you think of any other Bible verses that encourage?

Donation tin/box

You will need: light cardboard with a box template outline, scissors, tape, textas OR money tins, paper labels with printed UnitingCare or Pancake Day logos, glue or tape, textas, scissors

Decorate the template/label with messages and pictures about the organisation/purpose you will be fundraising for eg UnitingCare. For the box: cut out the template, fold and tape it together into a box. For the tin: cut out the label, glue onto tin.

Talk about: the organisation you are fundraising for and have information about them for people to take home and find out more. Talk about how each of our 5c or $1 can together make a difference for that organisation or project. Discuss how that organisation or project will make a difference in people’s lives.

Recipe books

You will need: light card, staplers, textas, assortment of recipes (Ask team members to type up or photocopy their favourite recipes. Photocopy or print one recipe per page. Pages need to be the same size eg all A4 or all A5. Provide multiple copies of each recipe for people to choose from. Recipes could either be of your regular Messy Church meals or variations on pancakes or recipes that all being with P eg pizza, pancake, pastas or potato recipes.)

Choose up to 5 recipes that you like the look of and two pieces of light card. Gather them into a booklet with the light card for the front and back covers. Staple them all together (down side or across top) to create a booklet. Decorate the cover eg My Recipe Book or Favourite Recipes or Messy Recipes. You could write your Messy Church grace on one of the pages.

Talk about: food we can cook for others, times when people might be encouraged with a gift of food, foods we are thankful for, food that is easy to share (pizza cos comes in pieces or brussel sprouts cos don’t like them) and food that is difficult to share (pizza cos it’s yummy or a grape cos it’s small).

Penny Pancake Puppets

You will need: copied onto light card the Penny Pancake Puppet pattern (see Appendix 2), coloured pencils, scissors, a Stanley knife and cutting board

Penny Pancake is the mascot for UnitingCare Pancake Day.

To make a puppet use the template:

  • Use coloured pencils to colour the face.
  • Cut out the face and base, following the heavy line around the outside of the pattern.
  • An adult cuts along the dotted line under Penny’s chin with a Stanley knife.
  • Insert two fingers through the slit as Penny’s legs and make her dance.

Talk about: Lent and Shrove Tuesday and why we make pancakes at this time. See information in the history section of this document.


  • A4 white paper
  • Option 1: Coloured textas & pencils
  • Option 2: Coloured paper, scissors, glue sticks
  • Laminator & pouches or visit a stationery supplier or work place that has a laminating service (e.g. local school)

Option 1

Kids write the meaning of helping others or being active in the community

(depending on age) and then decorate with lots of colourful drawings.

Option 2

Kids use coloured paper to cut out shapes to make up a picture about helping others. This looks  very effective if the picture is made up of one colour in a variety of different shades, and then the main focus of the picture is white.

If you have access to a laminator, laminate the place mats so that they can use them during the week to remind them about how they can help others.



You will need: two people!

Invent your own handshake with at least three different actions done in a particular order eg hand slide, fist pump, finger hold, pinkie link, wrist shake, high five...

Talk about: Handshakes are used to greet people, how else can we greet one another? Eg say hello, a kiss on cheek. How might a friendly greeting make a difference to someone’s life? Who can we greet?

Pancake making

You will need: your favourite pancake mix/recipe and ingredients to make enough for everyone in your group, measuring spoons and cups, an electric frying pan, slide, mixing bowl, spoon, plate with paper towel, small plates or serviettes, butter knives and an assortment of pancake toppings.

Have parents and children practise mathematics skills by measuring and adding/subtracting measurements to make the batter.

Learn about safety in the kitchen while cooking the pancakes.  Have children count how many people will be eating and figure out how many pancakes will be needed (multiplication).

Follow the recipe to make your pancake batter. Cook a pancake and add a topping. Enjoy yourself  or give to someone else. Provide gluten and/or dairy free pancake mixes if necessary. Be careful with children around the frying pan.

Talk about: how the different ingredients don’t make much on their own but when mixed together make pancakes. Compare how we can make a better/more effective difference when we work together than when on our own or in competition. Can you think of examples of working together being better? Eg we each bring different skills some welcome, some play, some make, some bake.

Listen and obey obstacle course

You will need: items to make an obstacle course eg chairs, ropes, cones, balls, balance beams, bikes, cushions, balloons ...  a set of instructions, small prizes

One person (or leader) calls out the instructions for someone else to follow and obey. If done correctly, then gain a prize eg a sticker or pen.

Talk about: whether it is easy to listen and obey, who else we (should) listen to and obey eg parents, teachers, police officers and what the consequences are of not listening or not obeying.



 Where did Pancake Day come from?

Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the period Christians call ‘Lent’ – the 40 days leading up to Easter when Christians remember the time Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. The word Shrove comes from the Old English word, Shrive - to confess one’s sins. Shrove Tuesday is a day where one confesses their sins and asks God for absolution.  Though it is named in English, the day before Lent being a time of fasting is an ancient custom, perhaps going all the way back to the earliest Christians. 

Historically during the time of Lent, people gave up luxury items including foods such as butter and eggs. This led to the tradition of making pancakes on the day before Lent to use up the butter and eggs.  Shrove Tuesday and pancakes became perfect partners!  Today, although people tend to give up less vital dietary ingredients such as chocolate, coffee or soft drink; pancakes are still eaten around the world.

Perhaps the best-known Shrove Tuesday celebration is the Pancake Day Race at Olney in Buckinghamshire, England, which has been held since 1445.  So the story goes, hearing the church bells ring out for the service, a townswoman fled her house fearful of being late as it was important to attend the Shriving service before the start of Lent (a time to confess sins before Ash Wednesday). She ran the distance down the High Street to make it to the parish church - still clutching her frying pan and wearing an apron.

Now, the event is still commemorated hundreds of years later in the Olney pancake race. The Olney residents (women) compete in traditional apron, cap, and holding a frying pan with a real pancake. They must toss their pancake once at the start (outside The Bull Inn) and once at the finish by the church. The race starts at 11.55am. The Olney High Street is shut, and spectators line the route from the Market Place all the way to Olney's St Peter and St Paul Church.

For the fastest Olney runner, there's a prize - but there are prizes too for the oldest participant and the one who raises the most for charity.  The town of Liberal, Kansas in the USA also runs a race over the same distance on the same day, and the best of Liberal compete with the best of Olney for the fastest time.

Another Pancake Day legend is that a few hundred years ago, at London's Westminster School, a verger from the Abbey led a procession of boys into the schoolyard for the Annual Pancake Grease. The school's cook tossed a huge pancake over a 5m-high bar. The boys scrambled for a piece and the one who obtained the largest piece received a cash prize.

The pancake, itself, has a very long history and featured in cookery books as far back as 1439. The tradition of tossing or flipping them is almost as old: "And every man and maide doe take their turne, And tosse their Pancakes up for feare they burne." (Pasquil's Palin, 1619).

The ingredients for pancakes can be seen to symbolise four points of significance at this time of year:
Eggs ~ Creation
Flour ~ The staff of life
Salt ~ Wholesomeness
Milk ~ Purity

Pancake Day Around the World

Shrove Tuesday is celebrated in many different ways around the world; the Brazilians samba in Rio and the people of New Orleans throw their most famous party of the year - Mardi Gras (literally "Fat Tuesday" in French).  In England the day is also called Pancake Tuesday.  It is also known as Carnival (from the Latin for "farewell to the flesh"), and Fasnacht (the Germanic "night of the fast").

Pancake Day is a time of celebration and generous hospitality. In some cultures, it is traditional to eat as much as possible on Shrove Tuesday ... up to 12 times a day!

In Province, there is a superstition that if you hold a coin in your left hand while you toss a pancake you'll be rich.

In Brie, it is traditional to give the first pancake to the hen that laid the eggs for the pancake.

And it is always regarded as bad luck if a pancake falls on the floor mid-toss.  It is said that Napoleon, who with Josephine liked to cook and eat pancakes, blamed the failure of his Russian campaign on one he had dropped years before at Malmaison.  



UnitingCare stories

You will need: someone from a UnitingCare organisations, for example a chaplain or a volunteer, who can share about the work of UnitingCare, some cushions or comfy chairs to sit on, coloured paper strips, textas and staplers or tape.  There are also some UnitingCare Christmas stories available in a Word document.  Just call the Pancake Day team to request it.

Hear stories about UnitingCare or your local UnitingCare organisation. What difference are they making in people’s lives? Write a message on a paper strip to encourage your local UnitingCare organisation and those they work with. Loop your strip with another to make a paper chain.

Talk about: ways you could work with UnitingCare to make a difference

Explore Pancake Day

  • Group discussion works well in groups of 3-20 children.
  • A good discussion develops when the discussion leader keeps the group on track with questions and allows healthy discussion to form - even if it is not directly following the question plan.
  • The aim of a discussion is not to answer questions or respond correctly but rather to create a comfortable environment for meaningful conversation.
  • The leader needs to present questions and thought concepts in a way that encourages group interactation.
  • All opinions, comments and thoughts should be valued and respected by all group members. Group inclusion may be new to some children who are familiar with “closed questions” and “answering the teacher” style of learning.
  • Where appropriate, questions can be directed at individuals, but remember to give them time to think. Children who often don’t say much during discussions don’t because they need time to think first and therefore don’t put their hand up quickly.

General discussion questions

What can you tell me about why we have Pancake Day?  

What are some of the things that you have that others may not?

What is the most important thing in your life? Why is it so important?

In what ways could we help others?

The Good Samaritan reflection

Story:  The Good Samaritan by Andrew McDonough. You can also use this story from another children’s book, however this one is a bit of fun and has great illustrations! In all of Andrew’s books he has a guide of how to talk to children about the meaning of the story and where it came from.

Talk to the children about how UnitingCare has used Pancake Day to help people in need. You may want to give them some examples of what UnitingCare does.

Discussion questions

Who do you think are people who you find easy to be nice to?

Why are these people easy to like and help?

Who do you think are people who you find difficult to be nice to?

Why are these people difficult to like and help?

Who can you try to be nicer to and to help more?

I wonder if Jesus was walking along that road what he would do?

What do you think Jesus was trying to tell the person who asked who his neighbour was?

What could you give up to help others, like the Good Samaritan did?


Discuss the similarities between UnitingCare and the Good Samaritan with the children. You may also like to talk about how they can be like the Good Samaritan.