This comprehensive resource was developed by a group of Bachelor of Education (Primary) students studying under Dr Glenn Finger at Griffith University. Dr Peter Albion at the University of Southern Queensland provided access to this resource. The resource booklet contains sixty five different design challenge teaching ideas for primary students, which have been linked to Queensland’s 2003 Technology Curriculum. Cross-curricular learnings, activities, assessment ideas, and contextual details have also been included.
I believe the diverse range of design challenges could be used to develop units of work that support the DRAFT Australian Technology Curriculum (2013). There are also quite a few design challenges that would support the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability. Amongst others, these include “What a load of Rubbish! The Eco Depot,” “Sustainable and Renewable Energy,” “Energy Saver School,” “Recycled Water,” “Sustainable Outback House,” “Kitchen Garden,” “Eco Friendly Home,” and “Rubbish Receptacle.”
Waste Matters is a Global Education resource which was developed to help teachers introduce students to the concept of waste. The unit consists of a sequence of four lessons that prompt students to investigate waste in their daily lives, to explore waste creation and management at community level, to consider the role of organisations in waste management, and to develop and implement strategies for reducing waste.
This unit has been designed for students in year three and four. The resource has been linked to the Science and English key learning areas of the Australian curriculum, and to the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability. With some minor adjustments, this resource could be used to support learning in the Design and Technologies subject of the DRAFT Australian Technology curriculum (2013). The applicable content descriptors are: 4.2, 4.5 and 4.6. When implementing, I would modify the last activity by having students further investigate one of the brainstormed solutions before they respond. The students could then generate and communicate their design ideas and decisions to the class using digital technologies.
Please note: I located this resource on Scootle, which has a wide range of quality resources that are linked to the Australian Curriculum. Scootle can be located at http://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/login.action
An initiative of Engineers Australia, and now in its tenth successful year, EngQuest provides an exciting way for students to participate in free, fun, educational engineering activities involving mathematics, science and technology.
Emily Middleton's insight:
The EngQuest website contains interesting ‘hands on’ engineering activities for primary and middle school students. While registration is required to access the educational resource material, it is available at no cost to Australian schools. This site contains resources in the form of teaching instructions, background information, student activity sheets, lesson ideas and projects.
While the website notes that each resource has direct links to the Australian Curriculum Science and Mathematics learning areas, where appropriate, I also believe that many of the resources could be used to support learning in the Technology curriculum and could relate to ACARA’s cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability.
A perusal through the photo gallery has enabled me to identify a number of projects that would pertain to Sustainability and support some of the content descriptors noted in the Design and Technologies subject of the DRAFT Australian Technology Curriculum (2013). These projects include: Rebuild a community, Construct a solar cooker, Construct a catchment, Construct a water wheel, and Construct a model house.
A project such as the one called “Construct a model house” could be used by mid to upper primary students to create a house that uses sustainable materials and energy sources. Such a project could potentially support content descriptors 4.1, 4.2, 4.5, 4.6 and 4.7 for students in year three and four; 6.1, 6.2, 6.6, 6.7, 6.8 for students in year five and six; and 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.7, 8.8 and 8.9 for students in year seven.
This video was taken from the Australian Seabird Rescue website. This resource was designed to educate people about the large volumes of plastic waste that is accumulated in oceans, and the effect this is having on marine life.
I would use this video as a resource within a broader unit of work that focuses on examining a range of materials and the impact of their use on local, regional and global environments. Obviously, the material being examined in this clip is plastic. I believe this topic would be suitable for primary school students in years five and six.
While this resource would prompt teachers and students to reflect on the steps needed to preserve environments and work towards creating sustainable futures, this resource could also be used to support the development of knowledge and understanding in the Design and Technologies subject of the Australian Technology curriculum (2013).
When used in conjunction with other relevant learning experiences, I believe this video would assist teachers with the content noted in descriptors 6.1 and 6.2.
Discover where our food comes from and how it gets to our table. Explore farming practices and the processes involved in...
Emily Middleton's insight:
The ABC Splash website has hundreds of valuable teaching resources that are linked to the Australian Curriculum. For the purpose of this collection, I focus on the “From paddock to plate” unit. The theme of this resource is food and by engaging in the learning experiences, students discover how food is produced and explore the steps involved in harvesting, processing and transporting the food to their homes.
This resource is suitable for students in the early primary years, from foundation to year two. Although this unit has links to the Science key learning area, with a few modifications or additions to the learning experiences and assessment, the Technology curriculum and the cross-curriculum area of Sustainability could easily be supported.
The specific knowledge and understanding descriptors from the Design and Technologies subject of the DRAFT Australian Technology Curriculum (2013), that I consider most relevant are 2.1 and 2.3. The processes and production skills that I would most likely create learning and assessment experiences for are outlined in content descriptor 2.5.
Future Sparks is a fun and empowering look at climate and a future with clean energy, aimed at 8 to 13 year olds.
Emily Middleton's insight:
The Future Sparks website focuses on educating and inspiring students with the knowledge and skills to plan for a clean energy future. While this website has videos, games and lesson plans for students between grades three and eight, I focus specifically on the section of the site known as “Inspiration” for the purpose of this collection. I believe this section of the website is particularly relevant to Sustainability and Technology, and I would use this resource to engage and stimulate the creativity of my students.
While all the examples in this section have merit, I would try to focus on examples that are relevant to the perceived interests of my students. One such example would be the “sOccket” ball which is an invention of a ball that generates light. When discussing this invention I would show my students the associated clip, which can be found at
I believe that the ideas found in this section of the site would assist to inspire students to generate and develop design ideas for technological devices that use sustainable energy. I believe the associated learning experiences are indicative of content descriptors 4.6, 6.7, 8.8 and 4.1, 6.1 and 8.1 of the Design and Technologies subject of the DRAFT Australian Technology Curriculum (2013).
These “Footprint Flicks How-To Videos” were located on the Sustainable Gardening Australia website. While there are sixteen available episodes, I focus specifically on the first two, known as “Lord of the Bins” part 1 & 2, for the purpose of this curation.
These clips outline the important link between sustainable gardening and compost. They detail the benefits of composting and describe the methods involved in creating effective compost.
These short clips could be used to support student learning during a unit of work on sustainable food production through gardening. They could also stimulate some interesting learning experiences. After viewing, students could:
Further investigate the materials needed to design and construct a compost bin and heap.
Create a list of things to add and omit from compost heaps.
Design and make a model of a compost bin that meets a particular design brief or challenge.
Modify their design ideas to enhance and improve sustainability.
Communicate their design ideas to the class.
When used in conjunction with relevant learning experiences, these clips relate to certain sections of the Design and Technologies subject of the DRAFT Australian Technology Curriculum (2013). The applicable sections of the knowledge and understanding strand are 6.2 and 6.3. The applicable sections of the processes and production skills strand are 6.6 and 6.7.
In addition to supporting various elements of the Design and Technologies subject of the Technology curriculum, I believe these resources effectively support the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability.
This action-based film was created for Future Shots – the 2009 Sustainability Film Challenge for Young Victorians. The film explores what the term 'sustainability' means in a few different contexts, from economics to ecology and politics. This is a positive film that puts responsibility for sustainability in the hands of everyone – no matter how big or small their contribution.
Emily Middleton's insight:
The Future Shots website hosts a variety of films relating to Sustainability. The film called "Today's Power Strategy! Sustainability!" was created by students at Courtney Gardens Primary School and was designed for students in mid to upper primary school. It could be used to stimulate discussions on the link between Technological design and Sustainability. It could also be used to support learning in a unit of work that requires students to collaboratively create a film that:
1. Explains the concept of sustainability.
2. Shows an example of a technological device they have created that uses sustainable energy. (This device would be created after they have explored and investigated materials, tools, systems and techniques to produce their designed solution).
3. Communicates and evaluates their design ideas and processes, using relevant terminology, where appropriate.
This kind of learning and assessment experience would address components of the Arts key learning area, the general capability of ICTs, and the Design and Technology subject of the DRAFT Australian Curriculum (2013). Relevant content descriptors from the Technology curriculum could include: 4.2, 4.5, 4.6 and 4.7; 6.2, 6.6, 6.7 and 6.8; 8.3, 8.7, 8.8 and 8.9.
NASA.gov brings you images, videos and interactive features from the unique perspective of America’s space agency.
Emily Middleton's insight:
The NASA website has an assortment of quality resources that support learning across a range of key learning areas. NASA eClips Educator Guides are one such resource, and these guides demonstrate how NASA video clips can be used to enhance learning. In addition to video links, the guides include objectives, background information and inquiry based lesson instructions based on the 5E’s model.
For the purpose of this curated collection, I focus specifically on the Educator Guide called Our World: Designing a Shower Clock. This guide was sourced from the grades K-5 (Our World) section of the webpage. Although this resource has been designed for American schools, I believe it addresses components of the DRAFT Australian Technology (2013) curriculum and supports the cross-curriculum area of Sustainability.
I would use this resource with students in years five and six. The content descriptors I consider most applicable stem from the Design and Technologies subject, and are: 6.1, 6.7 and 6.8. By engaging in these lessons, students familiarise themselves with the design process and they collaboratively design, measure, build, test and modify a shower clock. This challenge would complement a unit or series of lessons on water conservation and recycling. It could also be used to support learning about renewable and non-renewable resources.
Cool Australia is educating young Australians for a sustainable future.
Emily Middleton's insight:
The Cool Australia website has many excellent resources that relate to sustainability and environmental issues. These resources are aimed at students and teachers, and include unit and lesson plans; videos; interactive worksheets; pictures; fact sheets; articles; and news items. Topics include but are not limited to, energy; biodiversity; waste; water; climate change; and sustainability. While supporting ACARA’s cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability, many of the resources have also been linked to the Australian Curriculum. While the Technology curriculum has not yet been included, I believe that this curriculum will likely be linked to many of these resources in the near future.
The unit described as Energy grade 5 & 6 is a prime example of a resource that could support the Technology curriculum. I believe that with a few minor adjustments, content descriptors 6.1, 6.2, 6.6 and 6.7 of the Design and Technologies subject of the DRAFT Australian Technology Curriculum (2013), could be addressed. This unit also supports the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability.
The AuSSi ACT website has an abundance of quality resources and information that assists schools to implement strategies to create and promote sustainable futures. The units of work, resource links and case study examples provide valuable information on topics such as energy; waste; water; biodiversity and climate change.
The ten week unit plans are suited for students from prep to year ten. While these units are currently linked to the ACT Curriculum, they could quite easily be aligned with the Australian Curriculum.
Teachers wanting to address sections of the Australian Technology Curriculum through the implementation of these resources will need to modify some sections of the units to ensure that the learning and assessment experiences are indicative of the content they wish to cover. I anticipate that this would be a relatively simple process.
Behind the News is a high-energy, fun way for upper primary and secondary students to learn about current issues and events in their world.
Emily Middleton's insight:
The Behind the News section of the ABC website has a vast assortment of video clips and lesson ideas on current educational topics. For the purpose of this collection I focus on a resource from the Clean and Green topic. The resource pertains to plastic recycling and consists of two parts: a short video and a lesson plan sequence called “Plastic Fantastic.”
As per the lesson outline, after viewing the clip, the students are required to summarise the content; define recycling; investigate recycled materials; and design, make and appraise an object from recycled materials. I believe these learning experiences are relevant to the Technology learning area and to the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability. To enhance student learning, I would develop a design brief that stems from the lesson sequence, as students need to be able to develop designed solutions in response to design briefs.
I would use these resources to support learning in the Design and Technologies subject of the DRAFT Australian Technology Curriculum (2013). I consider content descriptors 6.1, 6.6 and 6.7 for students in years five and six; and content descriptors 8.1, 8.7 and 8.8 for students in years seven and eight; to be most applicable to the content and learning experiences outlined.
Overall I consider these resources a valuable addition to the Technology and Sustainability learning areas of upper primary school classrooms.
CarbonKids is a program for schools committed to tackling climate change.
Emily Middleton's insight:
These units were located on the CSIRO website. While the CarbonKids program consists of fourteen different units, I focus on the “Sustainable Energy for All” unit for this curated collection.
The unit prompts students to investigate the sustainability of modern energy resources and to consider sustainable ways of meeting future energy demands. At forty pages, this resource is very comprehensive. It details the main ideas, key understandings, focus questions, and key literacy terms. It also includes a sample unit sequence with activities, further ideas and support materials.
While this unit clearly links to the cross-curricular priority of Sustainability, teachers would need to ensure that the unit reflects the Technology descriptors they wanted to attend to. I believe with some modifications, content descriptors 6.1, 6.2, 6.6, 6.7 and 6.8 from the Design and Technologies subject of the DRAFT Australian Technology Curriculum (2013), could be addressed. The resource could also potentially cover descriptors in the year seven and eight band.
Although I’m impressed by the whole unit, I particularly like the learning experience that requires students to create a solar oven. Instead of having the students following a sequence of instructions however, I would modify this activity so that students were responding to a design brief. They could then be asked to investigate different types of solar ovens; develop plans; select and use appropriate materials; create their ovens; and communicate their ideas and processes, using relevant terminology.
The Nursery and Garden Industry Australia website hosts a number of excellent teaching resources in the Kidsgrow area. For the purpose of this curated collection I focus on the learning activities noted in the “Munch and Crunch" garden.
The theme of this resource is sustainable food production through gardening, and this is a popular topic as edible gardens feature in many contemporary Australian schools.
While this unit could be used to support many outcomes across a very broad range of key learning areas, I believe that it very effectively supports a number of outcomes noted in the Design and Technologies subject of the DRAFT Australian Technology Curriculum (2013). I also believe that the learning experiences strongly connect to the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability and would provide an authentic context for student learning.
Although this resource could be modified to suit different year levels, I believe that it is well suited to students in years five and six. The content descriptors I find most relevant are 6.1 and 6.3. With the addition of relevant assessment tasks that are aligned to the learning experiences, there is little doubt that some of the content descriptors linked to processes and production skills, such as 6.5, 6.6 and 6.7, could be included.
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