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National Hero

National Hero

Unit Summary

After 50 years of independence, Malaysia has advanced in many fields. Political stability, strong economic growth and social harmony are the achievements that Malaysians are proud of. The luxuries Malaysians enjoy today are because of the great leaders who have strived hard to develop the nation.

With the idea of studying about national leaders and their contributions, the students participate in the “Our National Hero” competition in the class. They undertake the task of conducting a research about their national leaders and identifying their national hero. They share with their peers a multimedia presentation about their national hero and also a flyer justifying their choice during the final competition showcasing ceremony.

Curriculum-Framing Questions

  • Essential Question:
    How can one live beyond one’s time?
  • Unit Question:
    What makes a leader great?
  • Content Questions:
    What took place prior to our National Independence?
    Which event(s) led to the formation of the three main political parties namely UMNO, MCA and MIC?
    Who were the leaders who have contributed to the formation of Malaya?
    Who were our former Prime Ministers and what is their title?

Assessment Processes

View how a variety of student-centered assessments are used in the Our National Hero Unit Plan. These assessments help students and teachers to set goals; monitor students’ progress; provide feedback; assess thinking, processes, performances and products and reflect on learning throughout the learning cycle.

Instructional Procedures

Teacher Preparation

  • Prepare a Timeline chart - Decide on the earliest and latest dates that will be included in the timeline and divide the space between them evenly. For example, if the timeline ranges from 1930-1980, allow 1” for every 5 years. Draw the line and mark the dates on it.
  • Print outs/pictures of Images of the national leaders.
  • Prepare teacher handout in the form of a flyer to inform students about the “Our National Hero” Competition.
  • Prepare a research log for students to write their research information.
  • Prepare the presentation planning template.
  • Prepare the flyer and presentation rubrics.
  • Prepare the Character Mapping sheet.

Introduction – Preparing a Timeline
Put up the Timeline chart on the classroom wall or bulletin board. Give a brief overview of the national history of Malaysia, covering the important milestones. As you explain, build up the Timeline chart by marking the important historical events against the respective dates.

Show the picture of a national leader and ask the students to identify the person and also discuss his/her contributions. Once the discussions are over, place the picture on the timeline chart, against the event where his/her contributions are important. Similarly, add the remaining pictures of the national leaders on the timeline chart.

As the timeline chart is filled, the students get an overview of the history of Malaysia and the contributions of the important national leaders.

Encourage the students to collect more information on the role of leaders in the formation of Malaysia. Encourage them to research with the following questions in mind.

  • What took place prior to our National Independence?
  • Which event(s) led to the formation of the three main political parties namely UMNO, MCA and MIC?
  • Who were the leaders who have contributed to the formation of Malaya?
  • Who were our former Prime Ministers and what is their title?

Provide students with a research checklist (doc) and a research log (doc) to guide them in searching for the necessary information. Inform students to conduct their research through the Internet as well as to refer to other resources. Provide students with a list of websites, which are relevant to the topic.

Once the students have researched and collected information on the history of Malaysia and the role of the leaders in the formation of Malaysia, pose the essential question: “How can one live beyond one’s time?” Encourage the students to reflect on this question keeping various fields in mind. As they discuss the essential question in the classroom, narrow down the discussion to the role of the leaders and their qualities and contributions which make them immortal. Ask students to ponder on the question for a while and then write down their thoughts in their journals.

Setting the Stage
Inform students about the “Our National Hero” competition. Divide students into groups of four. Make students sit in their groups. Distribute flyer containing information about the competition and explain thoroughly the process that the students will undergo to finish this project.

Pose the unit question “What makes a leader great?” Ask students to refer to their research logs and student journals to reflect on this question. They write down their thoughts in the student journal.

Provide time for students to select their two favourite national heroes based on their earlier research. Ask each group to justify their choices. Inform students that in the next lesson they will conduct research on these two leaders.

Take home: Orient students to read magazines, ask their parents and neighbours about these two leaders and their contributions. Tell students that after the research they will select one hero out of the two short-listed leaders.

Selecting the National Hero
Make students sit in their respective groups and discuss their research findings. Now, ask students to select one national Hero based on their findings. Give students time to discuss and finalise their choice. Provide Character Mapping (doc) sheet to students to facilitate in the finalising of their national hero. Sit with each group and mentor the groups if needed.

Ask students to spend time gathering more information about their national hero. Provide at least 1 Library session where students can refer to books on their national hero. Also, arrange for at least 2 research sessions in the computer lab for conducting in-depth research on their national hero.

Creating a Multimedia Presentation
Make students sit in their respective groups and discuss why they have selected that particular leader. Ask students to brainstorm and pinpoint some qualities of their leader, which they would like to inculcate. Ask students to note down their points in the journal.

Inform students that their next task is to create a multimedia presentation about their hero for the competition. Tell students that their presentation has to convince the audience and judges about their chosen hero. To help students plan their presentation, distribute the presentation planning template (ppt) to each group and explain the important information that needs to be included. Also share the presentation rubric (doc) and brief them on the assessment criteria of their presentation. Get students to work on the presentation. Guide each group and provide necessary support. Allocate a week for students to finish the presentation. Once the presentations are completed, ask the students to submit their presentations. Assess the presentations based on the presentation rubric.

Designing a Flyer
Inform students that they have to make flyers for the competition. The flyers will be distributed to the audience and the judges in the showcasing ceremony. Share the flyer rubric (doc) and discuss each criterion in detail. Allocate about 2 computer lab sessions for students to design their flyers. Conduct frequent meetings with each group to monitor and help them accordingly.

Showcasing Ceremony
Arrange for the school hall and the necessary equipments to be used for the showcasing ceremony. Conduct a dry run of the presentations so as to guide them on the content and presentation skills. Finalise the flyers and have them printed for the showcasing ceremony. Arrange for prizes for the top three winners and consolation prizes for all groups. Invite other teachers and students to attend the showcasing ceremony.

Brief the judges on the competition rules and distribute the competition evaluation sheets to the judges. During the showcasing ceremony, make students present their multimedia presentation (ppt) and distribute their flyers to the audience. After the presentations, have a meeting with the judges to decide upon the winners. Announce the results at the end of the competition and give away the prizes.

Concluding Activity
Discuss with students what they have learnt in this project. Focus the discussion on the contributions made by the various leaders and the impact they had on Malaysia. Stress that there is no such thing as a minor contribution and that every effort for progress is equally important.

Revisit the essential question: “How can one live beyond one’s time?” and have students refer to their journals and add points if needed. Have students ponder on the qualities and contributions that make a leader immortal. Make students write down their thoughts in an essay of about 100 words. 

Prerequisite Skills

  • Awareness about national heroes and qualities of a hero.
  • Fundamental skills of basic computer operations and ability to use word processing and presentation.

Differentiated Instruction

  • Resource Student
    Students can be given a portion of the project that will be better suited to their abilities. They will also be guided by their peers and teacher as they progress. Extra time could also be allocated for them to complete this project.
  • Gifted Student
    Gifted students will be given the opportunity to include additional information to their products like comparison of their national hero with another leader, writing down similarities and differences, adding more points to support their justification for choosing their hero as the best. These students will play the role as group leaders and help the resource students in their groups.


This project idea has been developed by Samanta Lim. A team of educators expanded the plan into the example you see here.

National Hero

At a Glance

Year/Form: Year 5
Subject(s): Local Studies
Topics: Our National History
Key Learnings: National leaders, Independence and Formation of Malaysia
Time Needed: 4 Weeks (10 periods of 40 minutes + 9 Lab sessions)