Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students analyse why author Bjorn Sturmberg chose the medium of a kid’s book fable to communicate an important message about renewable energy sources, the effectiveness and challenges of this medium, and how this medium impacted or altered the message.

Amy’s Balancing Act is a story about the clean energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables and energy storage. The story captures how this transition requires an openness to change and a shift in mindset: from fixating on rigid control to working flexibly with diverse technologies.

Subjects: English. 

Year Level: 5 & 6.

Topics: Climate Change, Sustainability, Energy.

Teaching Time: 120 minutes.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Climate Change Solutions.

21st-century skills: 

CommunicatingCreative ThinkingCritical Thinking  

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5 English:

  • Use metalanguage to describe the effects of ideas, text structures and language features on particular audiences (ACELT1795)
  • Create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings and characters that draw on the worlds represented in texts students have experienced (ACELT1612)

Year 6 English:

  • Analyse and evaluate similarities and differences in texts on similar topics, themes or plots (ACELT1614)
  • Create literary texts that adapt or combine aspects of texts students have experienced in innovative ways (ACELT1618)

Syllabus outcomes: EN3-1A, EN3-7C

Relevant parts of Year 5 English achievement standards: Students explain how text structures assist in understanding the text. They understand how language features, images and vocabulary influence interpretations of characters, settings and events. They analyse and explain literal and implied information from a variety of texts. 

Relevant parts of Year 6 English achievement standards: Students understand how the use of text structures can achieve particular effects. They analyse and explain how language features, images and vocabulary are used by different authors to represent ideas, characters and events. Students compare and analyse information in different and complex texts, explaining literal and implied meaning.

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability. 

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – Teachers guide students through the learning and support during independent work. 

Resources required:

  • A device capable of presenting a video to the class
  • Factsheet – Everything you need to know about energy – one copy per student
  • Text – Amy’s Balancing Act. You can find a physical copy of the book here. You can also access the book for educational purposes here, using the password SchoolAccess.
  • Writing materials.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will...

  • ... understand the effects of text structures and language features on audiences.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... describe the effectiveness and challenges of using the structure of a kid's picture book to affect audiences
  • ... explain renewable energy sources within the content of Amy's Balancing Act
  • ... create their own fables to demonstrate their mastery of using text structures to communicate messages to audiences.

Teacher content information:

The story of Amy and her animal friends is a story about the energy transition, from coal to clean energy technologies. It shows how this is essentially a challenge of letting go of the old and learning to work with a diverse team with individual strengths and weaknesses.

The book is unique in inspiring discussions of diversity, team work, the emotions of change, as well as the science of different energy technologies.

Dr Bjorn Sturmberg is a Research Leader

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