World Solar Challenge: Free STEM resources for secondary teachers

The Bridgestone World Solar Challenge (BWSC) begins on the 8th of October. The event has been going since 1987. Every two years, “teams from leading international universities and technical institutes, together with private entrepreneurs and even high schools, come together “Down Under” to test and promote the ultimate synergy of nature, motion and innovation” (source). Why in Australia? Well there are two very obvious things we have, sunlight, and a […]

Fire Boy and Water Girl: Free strategy game

Fire Boy and Water Girl is a fun game for two players or one player. Players need to help  Fire Boy and Water Girl find an exit through multiple puzzling levels. Fire Boy must avoid the water and Water Girl must avoid the hot lava.  Players will need to think ahead and plan their way through each puzzling room in order to get them both safely to the exit. Reading […]

STEM Challenges for Reception (K) to Year 6

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM),  is based on the philosophy of teaching the four disciplines using an integrated approach, a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications, rather than as separate discrete subjects.  Why integrate subjects? Well I think, integration is needed in order to guide students’ way of thinking about our our current and future environmental and social issues. We need to reach beyond the idea of students […]

The Design Process: Student example and assessment rubric

Part of the Design Technologies curriculum for primary students is very similar to that of the SACSA (South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability)  Framework, for those who can remember using this, in that it generally has a ‘design, make and appraise’ approach with the addition of ‘critically examine’ before the design process. I’ve created a list of design steps and an assessment rubric which can be modified easily to cater […]

How to write a Design Technologies assessment rubric

A rubric for assessment, usually in the form of a matrix or grid, is a tool used to interpret and grade students’ work against criteria and standards. With the Australian curriculum, we have the Achievement Standard and the Content Descriptors which provide teachers with the criteria and standards of which to assess. So where do you begin? I like to begin with my student learning outcome and work my way backwards. That is, […]

Strategies to get kids to start thinking

There are 3 main points to this blog post: (1) Failure is OK, (2) Think outside the square and (3) Persist. These are then followed by some practical teaching ideas. We need to teach our students how to think and this can be achieved. One of the first concepts I think teachers need to teach students is that failure is OK. They need to understand that failure is part of […]

Hello Ruby: Adventures in computational thinking

“The kids of today, they tap, swipe and pinch their way through the world, but unless we give them tools to build with computers we are raising consumers, not creators” (Linda Liukas, TED Talk). I’ve recently purchased a great little picture book for my school,  called ‘Hello Ruby’ by Linda Liukas. The book was  not written to teach coding as it doesn’t teach specific programming languages. It was written to […]

STEM: ABC Splash Resources

ABC Splash has a wide range of STEM resources. You can search via year level, Reception to Year 10, or you can search via topic. The STEM topic categories include: coding, robotics, nanotechnology, design solutions, engineering, construction, Makerspaces, careers and STEM news. Types of resources include videos, discussions, Digibooks, teacher ideas, games, articles, audio and links. The videos are great as most of them have suggestions of things to think […]

EdTech SA JVillis Digital Technologies R-Y6 Resources Presentation

I am presenting today and tomorrow at the EdTechSA conference. Below is a copy of my presentation (before slight edits were made last night) and underneath the presentation, you can download a copy of my Australian Curriculum Reception to Year 6 Digital Technologies Scope and Sequence. Sharing is caring, but I do ask that you do not upload my resource to any other website, of course you can link to […]

Y6- Secondary Lego Unplugged Coding and Data Activity

Earlier this year, I attended a conference, we were seated in rows and certain rows were asked to turn around and introduce themselves  to the person sitting behind them, alternate rows didn’t turn around.  My first reaction was, ‘Oh no’, I am an introvert and these types of activities are normally well out of my comfort zone. Taking a deep breath I did so, then we were told that we […]