Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Meet Ollie. He’s a genius inventor. Or at least, he wants to be. That’s if his inventions actually worked. Instead of getting him into trouble.

But, one day, something miraculous happens and Ollie discovers a pair of glasses that allow him to see the power of unwanted items and transform them into incredible inventions – that actually work.

This hilarious book from well known Australian entertainer Jimmy Rees (Jimmy Giggle on Giggle and Hoot) is all about creative thinking and caring for the environment.

In this lesson, you’ll become an inventor just like Ollie, designing your own inventions using old, unused and unwanted items from around your house, while thinking about how much we send to landfills that could be reused or repurposed using forums such as Gumtree.

This activity can be easily presented in the classroom, through remote learning, or worked through independently by students.

Ideal for: Upper primary.

Time required: 60 minutes

This lesson has been developed in collaboration with Planet Ark as part of Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week.

The development of this lesson is made possible through a partnership between Planet Ark and Gumtree Australia.

How to use this resource

Important: When buying or selling on Gumtree as all users need to be over the age of 18. Please don’t access the Gumtree website without first checking with your parents or carers.

Remote learning 

Step 1. Provide the ‘Ollie and the Spectral Spectacles’ pdf and the Invention Worksheet to students.

Step 2. Use Teacher Worksheet below to provide lesson directions.

On-site learning 

Step 1. Provide the ‘Ollie and the Spectral Spectacles’ pdf on students’ independent devices.

Step 2: Print physical copies of the Invention Worksheet to students.

Step 3. Use Teacher Worksheet below to provide lesson directions.

[email protected]

Step 1. Download the ‘Ollie and the Spectral Spectacles’ pdf and the Invention Worksheet.

Step 2. Download and print out the Student Worksheet and work through it yourself!


Lesson & Curriculum Details

Community EngagementCreative ThinkingDigital LiteracyEntrepreneurshipEthical UnderstandingGlobal CitizenshipInitiativeLeadership

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5/6 Design and Technologies

  • Generate, develop and communicate design ideas and processes for audiences using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (ACTDEP025)

Year 5 English

  • Create literary texts using realistic and fantasy settings and characters that draw on the worlds represented in texts students have experienced (ACELT1612)
  • Identify and explain characteristic text structures and language features used in imaginative, informative and persuasive texts to meet the purpose of the text (ACELY1701)

Year 6 English

  • Make connections between students’ own experiences and those of characters and events represented in texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1613)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1714)
  • Use a range of software, including word processing programs, learning new functions as required to create texts (ACELY1717)

Syllabus outcomes: ST3-5WT, EN3-7C, EN3-5B, EN3-8D, EN3-2A

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

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Relevant parts of Year 5 & 6 Design and Technologies achievement standards: Students describe competing considerations in the design of products, services and environments, taking into account sustainability. They describe how design and technologies contribute to meeting present and future needs. Students explain how the features of technologies impact on designed solutions for each of the prescribed technologies contexts.

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.

When reading, they encounter and decode unfamiliar words using phonic, grammatical, semantic and contextual knowledge. They analyse and explain literal and implied information from a variety of texts. They describe how events, characters and settings in texts are depicted and explain their own responses to them. They listen and ask questions to clarify content.

Students create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts for different purposes and audiences. They make presentations which include multimodal elements for defined purposes. They contribute actively to class and group discussions, taking into account other perspectives. When writing, they demonstrate understanding of grammar using a variety of sentence types. 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 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. They select and use evidence from a text to explain their response to it. They listen to discussions, clarifying content and challenging others’ ideas.

Students understand how language features and language patterns can be used for emphasis. They show how specific details can be used to support a point of view. They explain how their choices of language features and images are used.

Students create detailed texts elaborating on key ideas for a range of purposes and audiences. They make presentations and contribute actively to class and group discussions, using a variety of strategies for effect.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – read out a section of text, facilitate class discussion and provide assistance in the creative process.

Resources Required

Topic: National Recycling Week, Sustainability, Waste.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: National Recycling Week – Primary

Keywords: sustainability, recycling, design, inventing, Gumtree, National Recycling Week, Planet Ark, remote learning. Reuse, Circular economy, technology, and entrepreneur.

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…

  • … design, describe and advertise an invention from everyday objects that are broken or outdated
  • … design, market and cost their invention.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … describe why a circular economy is better than a linear economy
  • .… communicate the meaning behind ‘Ollie and the Spectral Spectacles’.

Teaching Sequence

Work through this resource material in the following sequence:

20 minutes – Part A: Reading ‘Ollie and the Spectral Spectacles’
30 minutes – Part B: Inventing to prevent landfill
10 minutes – Reflection

Part A: Reading ‘Ollie and the Spectral Spectacles’

Step 1. Students read Ollie and Spectral Spectacles for about ten minutes. It does not matter how far they get through the text.

Provisions for learning support - Students who require additional literacy support can watch author Jimmy Rees read the text:

Ollie and the Spectral Spectacles Book Reading by Jimmy Rees (

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Inventing to prevent landfill

Part A: Reading ‘Ollie and the Spectral Spectacles’

Step 1. Read Ollie and Spectral Spectacles.

Or, you could watch author Jimmy Rees read it:

Ollie and the Spectral Spectacles Book Reading by Jimmy Rees (

Step 2: Re-read the following section from the text (Chapter 8, pg.16):

Edward wasn’t sure what to expect, but he didn’t expect…this.

Sitting on the lawn were three large objects that seemed familiar but he couldn’t place where he knew them from.

There was a surfboard with a sail jutting out of the top and a pedestal fan secured behind the sail. There was a bass guitar with a portable speaker attached to the body. And what looked to be…just a lovely chest of drawers. 

“Check these out, Dad. This one is the Auto Windsurfer 5000. It creates its own wind current to give you automatic motion! This one is the Portable Bassmaster. A bass guitar with an amplifier built in so you can have a concert wherever

- or - to view worksheets

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