About mrsvellacott

My name is Jennifer Vellacott. I am a mother of four living in country Victoria. I have loved watching and helping my own children learn. I recently decided to become a primary teacher and am in my final year of study. It's my way of continuing to be involved in the exciting process of children's learning, and it provides me with a valid reason to keep buying children's books - which I love - long after my own children are too old for them.

Teaching the Australian Curriculum: Technologies?

For those who have been following my Curation creation over the past few months, you will now have access to some really great resources for teaching the Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Rest assured, I will be putting together new boards for other aspects of the curriculum as soon as time allows, and will let you know here. In the meantime, I have added a fun Design Brief Activity that I put together with two lovely ladies: Helen and Tammy. It addresses the Design Technologies strand. We’d love you to make use of it, so here it is… go ahead!
Click here : Design brief – DB & TP with rubric  to open it, and it’s yours to use.

DB cover

 

 

 

LittleBits – Lego for the next generation

If you love Lego as much as our household does, you may be very excited by LittleBits, as introduced in this TED talk by creator, Ayah Bdeir. 

littlebits2

In addition to being loads of fun, using these LittleBits would be a great (if perhaps initially expensive) way for teachers to implement Australian Curriculum: Technologies for Yr 5/6 Design & Tech K&U:

Investigate how forces or electrical energy can control movement, sound or light in a designed product or system (ACTDEK020)

This product could be used by students to explore electrical circuits and requires no prior expertise. Engaging and authentic, and lots of fun!

Make the car go the distance.

It’s amazing the things one can discover just by taking something apart. Putting it back together can be an issue, though. Looking at how electric circuits work can be a reverse engineering investigation, but eventually you will want to put things together and see the power of a circuit. Here’s a lesson which allows students to investigate, design and build – all with the aim of achieving a goal.

motor

Come and see this and other great ideas for implementing the Australian Curriculum: Technologies in Primary school on my Pinterest board.

 

Classroom compassThis article outlines the stages of the design process, and addresses progression of expected abilities and understandings, with examples for various age groups. A must read if you’re wanting to better understand the Australian Curriculum: Design and Technologies.
Find it on my curation .

 

Let there be light.

The Australian Curriculum: Technologies descriptor ACTDEK020 states that students should:

Investigate how forces or electrical energy can control movement, sound or light in a designed product or system” and a suggestion (elaboration) for achieving this is producing models using materials, tools and equipment to show how to control movement, sound or light in structures…”

When it comes to controlling light, one man springs to mind for his simple and yet life-changing invention, which involves the re-direction of light through a simple system: Alfredo Moser.

Alfredo Moser light

 

An introduction to this man’s invention, and the impact it has had on so many, would be a great hook for a lesson focusing on this descriptor.

Wind & Water: making use of the elements

Understanding how forces work and the way in which certain properties of different materials can be utilized essential components of learning in the Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Investigating the way in which  waterwheels and windmills work, and the properties of materials used to construct them, opens students’ eyes to possibilities for future innovation. I’m providing some lesson plans on my Australian Curriculum: Pinterest board which will be useful for teachers aiming to unpack these concepts and provoke further investigation.

watermill windmill

Try, try, try again.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

 Technology is a purposeful activity driven by human needs and desires that arise in a particular context. Addressing needs inspires people to investigate, to design, to build and to evaluate. Often, from there, the process returns to a point where redesigning and modification takes place. Things don’t always work out the first time. What was it Thomas Edison famously said? ““I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” ” 

 

My latest pin on my Australian Curriculum: Technologies board  is a lesson which allows students to work through the processes involved in the purposeful activity of technology, and reach not only understandings of the workings of a solar water heater, but also a product that works.

water heater

Building Bridges

Whether you’re solving a problem or meeting a need, a good design is essential to making sure you meet your aim. When it comes to building bridges this is especially true. I’m adding a couple of resources to my Pinterest board this week that address both designing and creating, and they both use the exciting medium of a Webquest to do it.
* If you’re not sure what a Webquest is, take a look at this post I wrote about them previously.

bridge1 bridge2 bridge3 bridge4 bridge5 bridge6

Eggcellent learning

Children and mess. I don’t know about you, but these two things go together, to my mind, like peas and carrots (Thanks Forrest). So when I spied these ideas for lessons which involve dropping eggs, I just knew that they would be winners when it came to the kids involved. I don’t mind a bit of messy fun either, so if you’re game, check out these ideas for investigating: ways to use different materials to protect the egg, using different containers for protection, using forces (try a parachute?) to slow the egg’s fall or cushioning the fall of the eggs with appropriate materials. Whatever you choose to do, the links to the Australian Curriculum: Technologies are evident. Check out my Pinterest board for relevant descriptors from the Australian Curriculum, and for other teaching ideas.

egg drop

egg in tennis ball

bubble wrapped eggs

rubber band eggEgg-Drop2

Design a boat

As a child I was fascinated by this book. scuffy-the-tugboat

I wanted a little boat of my own to take out on the river. A boat that could have adventures, and finally return to me.

This lesson plan by Jane Earle allows students to design and build their own boats, and learn about movement and the properties of building materials as they do it.

Pop by and look at my Pinterest board to link to this plan, and other great resources for Technologies.

boat