Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This is a STEAM lesson, which adds the Arts to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). To find out more about STEAM and STEM click here. In this lesson, students are introduced to the concept of connecting with their end-users. They discuss the importance of empathising with end-users to developing a successful business or project and then discuss methods they can use to obtain information about the target audience for their project.

This lesson forms part of the Empathise phase of a Design Thinking unit focusing on robotics, but can be adapted to apply to any context in which students will be investigating the views and opinions of their school community.

This STEAM lesson demonstrates how science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics are interrelated. The lesson requires students to draw on and develop skills from all areas to complete their project.

Learning intention:

  • Students will investigate the knowledge and interests of others within their school community within the context of robotics.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingDigital LiteracyEntrepreneurshipProblem FindingProblem SolvingSocial SkillsTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5 and 6 Digital Technologies

  • Examine the main components of common digital systems and how they may connect together to form networks to transmit data (ACTDIK014)
  • Design, modify and follow simple algorithms involving sequences of steps, branching, and iteration (repetition) (ACTDIP019)
  • Implement digital solutions as simple visual programs involving branching, iteration (repetition), and user input (ACTDIP020)

Year 5 Mathematics

  • Pose questions and collect categorical or numerical data by observation or survey (ACMSP118)
  • Construct displays, including column graphs, dot plots and tables, appropriate for data type, with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMSP119)
  • Describe and interpret different data sets in context (ACMSP120)

Year 6 Mathematics

  • Interpret and compare a range of data displays, including side-by-side column graphs for two categorical variables (ACMSP147)
  • Interpret secondary data presented in digital media and elsewhere (ACMSP148)

Year 5 English

  • Understand that patterns of language interaction vary across social contexts and types of texts and that they help to signal social roles and relationships (ACELA1501)
  • Understand how to move beyond making bare assertions and take account of differing perspectives and points of view (ACELA1502)
  • Clarify understanding of content as it unfolds in formal and informal situations, connecting ideas to students’ own experiences and present and justify a point of view (ACELY1699)
  • Use interaction skills, for example paraphrasing, questioning and interpreting non-verbal cues and choose vocabulary and vocal effects appropriate for different audiences and purposes (ACELY1796)
  • Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations for defined audiences and purposes incorporating accurate and sequenced content and multimodal elements (ACELY1700)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704)
  • Use a range of software including word processing programs with fluency to construct, edit and publish written text, and select, edit and place visual, print and audio elements (ACELY1707)

Year 6 English

  • Understand that strategies for interaction become more complex and demanding as levels of formality and social distance increase (ACELA1516)
  • Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)
  • Use interaction skills, varying conventions of spoken interactions such as voice volume, tone, pitch and pace, according to group size, formality of interaction and needs and expertise of the audience (ACELY1816)
  • Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations, selecting and sequencing appropriate content and multimodal elements for defined audiences and purposes, making appropriate choices for modality and emphasis (ACELY1710)
  • Use a range of software, including word processing programs, learning new functions as required to create texts (ACELY1717)

Syllabus outcomes: MA3‑1WM, MA3‑3WM, ACMSP118, EN3-1A, EN3-2A, EN3-8D.

General capabilities: Literacy, Numeracy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Relevant parts of Year 5 and 6 Digital Technologies Achievement Standards: Students explain how the features of technologies influence design decisions and how digital systems are connected to form networks. Students describe a range of needs, opportunities or problems and define them in terms of functional requirements. They collect and validate data from a range of sources to assist in making judgements. Students generate and record design ideas for specified audiences using appropriate technical terms, and graphical and non-graphical representation techniques including algorithms. They plan, design, test, modify and create digital solutions that meet intended purposes including user interfaces and a visual program.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Mathematics Achievement Standards: Students pose questions to gather data, and construct data displays appropriate for the data.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Mathematics Achievement Standards: Students compare observed and expected frequencies. They interpret and compare a variety of data displays including those displays for two categorical variables. They interpret secondary data displayed in the media.

Relevant parts of Year 5 English Achievement Standards: Students listen and ask questions to clarify content. They make presentations which include multimodal elements for defined purposes. They contribute actively to class and group discussions, taking into account other perspectives. They select specific vocabulary and use accurate spelling and punctuation. They edit their work for cohesive structure and meaning.

Relevant parts of Year 6 English Achievement Standards: Students understand how the use of text structures can achieve particular effects. They listen to discussions, clarifying content and challenging others’ ideas. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, using a variety of strategies for effect. They use accurate spelling and punctuation for clarity and make and explain editorial choices based on criteria.

Topic: STEAM.

Unit of work: Learning Robotics – Years 5 & 6.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – there are a variety of elements of this lesson that students may require support with, including development of questions to suit specific stakeholder groups, development of surveys and scheduling of interviews.

Resources required: Device capable of presenting video to class. Sphero SPRK+ (or alternative programmable robot), minimum one per 3 students. Device capable of running Sphero Edu App, e.g. iPad, iPod Touch (or required software for your robot), one for each robot. Student Worksheet (one per student).


Keywords: empathise, survey, stakeholders, community, end-user, interview, market research, Sphero, SPRK+, digital technology, coding, programming, robot, robotics, STEAM, STEM.

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 intention:

  • Students will investigate the knowledge and interests of others within their school community within the context of robotics.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... identify different groups within their school community.
  • ... develop suitable strategies to gather information from each community group.
  • ... create resources to be used to gather information.
  • ... schedule meetings and presentations with community members.

Teacher content information:


Why should you teach robotics, you ask?
In his article Five reasons to teach robotics in schools, Leon Sterling suggests reasons to be:

  • Children find it fun.
  • It is an effective way to introduce programming.
  • Skills developed are useful to future employment.
  • It suits children with a range of abilities.
  • It demystifies complex technology.

These factors are also reiterated by the Digital Technologies Hub, developed to support Australia’s teachers to implement qua

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: If robots are involved in producing things all the way from our electronics to the food that we eat, shouldn't we all know more about how they work? 

1. Write down the end goal that the class has decided on below:

2. Record the 'How Might We...?' statement here:

3. How to Empathise with the Community

Work to create a list of people in the school community (community groups) who you could easily investigate about their feelings and understanding of robotics. Fill out the table below with ideas on who these community groups are and how you could find out what they see, do, think and feel. An example has been provided in the first row:

Community Group How to explore what they see... How to explore what they do... How to explore what they think... How to explore what they feel...
Foundation Students Look around their classrooms.
Ask them about if they have any robots at home.
Watch them play at recess.
Visit the classroom.
Survey the classes.
- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.