Quick summary: In this lesson, students take part in an eco-design challenge to repurpose objects that were destined for recycling or landfill. The STEM focus is creating a ‘useful’ item out of ‘useless junk’. This lesson encourages your students to stretch their imaginations with endless potential design possibilities. Students will experience design in a hands-on way and be challenged to think quickly to boost innovative thinking.
We’ve taken elements of this lesson and adapted them for remote learning. You can find this activity here.
- Students will develop and build a design object
- Students will create a useful item from useless items
- Students can identify and trouble-shoot challenges
- Students will understand the design process
- Students can offer and apply a variety of solutions.
21st century skills:
Australian Curriculum Mapping
Years 5 & 6 Design and Technologies:
- Investigate characteristics and properties of a range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment and evaluate the impact of their use (ACTDEK023)
- Critique needs or opportunities for designing, and investigate materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to achieve intended designed solutions (ACTDEP024)
- Generate, develop and communicate design ideas and processes for audiences using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (ACTDEP025)
- Select appropriate materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques and apply safe procedures to make designed solutions (ACTDEP026)
Syllabus outcomes: ST3-13MW, ST3-5WT
General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capabilities.
Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.
Relevant parts of Years 5 & 6 achievement standards:
Students explain how the features of technologies impact on designed solutions for each of the prescribed technologies contexts.
Students create design solutions for each of the prescribed technologies contexts suitable for identified needs or opportunities.
They combine design ideas and communicate these to audiences using graphical representation techniques and technical terms.
Students select and use appropriate technologies and techniques correctly and safely to produce designed solutions.
Topic: STEM/STEAM, Creative Thinking, Sustainability, Waste.
Unit of work: STEM Challenges — Primary
Time required: 90 mins.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium to High. Teachers are to set the experience and guide the children during the STEM session. The role of the teacher switches to a co-facilitator assisting groups in the design phase and asserting safe practices in the build phase.
- Student Worksheets – one copy per student.
- A range of junk drawer items or items that can be repurposed or are intended for recycling.
Related Professional Development: Practical Steps for STEM Inquiry
Keywords: STEM, STEAM, challenge, eco-design, creativity, re-purpose, re-imagine, design, build, engineering, industrial design, recycling.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.