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Introduction

Units of work involving our environment enable your students to immediately apply their learning in the real world giving them greater motivation and opportunities to excel. 

Curriculum materials are designed to meet a wide range of educational needs throughout Australia including:

1.     Australian Curriculum

2.     Other State curricula

3.     Latest innovations in learning and teaching practice eg Principles of Learning and Teaching (PoLT)

4.     The e5 instructional model – engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate

5.     The curriculum component of AuSSI – the Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative

6.     Education for a Sustainable Future, Australian Government

You will find everything you need to teach a curriculum unit on energy for grades 9 and 10 in the teacher Curriculum section of the website.  Student research materials can be found under Student Toolbox in the top menu bar along with self directed activities and various tools.

Find what you need by selecting the year levels and topic.  Otherwise use the built in search engine.

All units of work developed integrate most areas of learning including English, Science, Geography and Mathematics. ICT, Civics and Citizenship etc.

Every week Cool Australia will further build the Student Toolbox sections of the website culminating in hundreds of incredible learning resources. Please keep referring back to these areas.

We always appreciate both student and teacher feedback.  If you find anything that requires minor revision please contacts us.

Inquiry learning

A model of Inquiry learning has been chosen to design the Cool Australia units of work as it can be used to incorporate and accommodate all the various educational changes and innovations to curriculum and teaching practice that have occurred over the past ten years.  It is also recommended by The Australian Government’s current document Education for a Sustainable Future, 2005

Cool Australia’s inquiry learning approach has been sub-divided into Prior learning, Tuning in, Finding out, Drawing conclusions, Finding solutions, Considering social action and Reflection and evaluation.

Prior learning

Prior learning activities enable students to value what they already know about a topic.  While they establish what students already know, they also help the teacher to identify some of their misconceptions.  Prior learning activities can be used as the start of the assessment process.

Tuning in

A tuning in activity helps students to define and focus on the issues they will be dealing with in the unit of work.

Finding out

Students will need to obtain more information about the issues they are going to investigate.  They can identify questions of interest and research these either in small groups or on their own.  Once information is gathered, it can be shared using chosen communication methods e.g. short presentations.

Students can continue finding out by completing a range of investigations, including gathering data.  They use appropriate methods to present and communicate what they have found out.

Drawing conclusions

Students are provided with activities that help them further develop their ideas and opinions. T hey describe issues from different perspectives.  They identify, examine and justify different points of view.

Considering social action

Students are given opportunities to apply their learning in real world situations, in the classroom, school, home or the local community.

Reflection and assessment

Reflection time provides students with an opportunity to value what they have learnt and the learning processes in which they have been involved.

Evaluation or assessment tasks during the unit of work will need to conclude. 

Student actions

Units of work involving our environment enable your students to immediately apply their learning in the real world, so they have greater motivation and opportunities to excel.  They become empowered as they discover their ability to create positive change for a sustainable future.

In designing the units of work, Cool Australia has identified the age appropriate actions for students so that as they grow older, they accept greater and more rewarding challenges. Students can progressively develop into community leaders and when they leave school have a wide range of skills and self confidence in creating positive changes around them. 

Foundations years: Students learn to be responsible for their actions and belongings

Years 1 and 2: Students take responsibility for their classroom

Years 3 and 4: Students start taking greater responsibility for environmental tasks around their school

Years 5 and 6: Students assist in creating change in their school and local communities 

Years 7 and 8: Students instigate and plan environmental projects and campaigns in their schools and local community

Year 9 and 10: Students take initiatives in sustainability projects in their school and local community. 

In this unit on Energy, Year 9and 10 students are provided with action-based activities that will enable them to:

  • Students take an active role in the community debating different ways to best conserve and increase biodiversity with a focus on ecosystem diversity.
  • They work with community biodiversity related groups in creative ways to promote and extend the groups’ current work by developing communication projects.
  • They also debate broader Australian and international issues concerning the conservation of biodiversity.

Assessment and curriculum links

Assessment

Assessment background: Education systems have high expectations concerning assessment.  Many schools will have very prescriptive assessment policies.  Having assessment processes in place throughout a unit of work and involving students in their assessment, will assist teachers to meet these expectations.  The current overarching understanding of assessment is:

  • Assessment for learning will help teachers respond to students’ learning needs during the unit of work.
  • Assessment as learning occurs when students monitor their own progress and make learning choices.
  • Assessment of learning occurs when teachers use evidence of what students have achieved. Teachers are often obliged to measure this against Learning Outcomes or Standards.

To assist teachers, activities have been identified to assist with assessment.  Teachers will first need to decide what aspects of their curriculum they wish to assess.  This will be determined by their State’s official curriculum policies and documents.  This in time may be superseded by an Australian Curriculum.

Teachers who work with Cool Australia often use the following process to develop their assessment:

1.     Once the unit of work has been chosen, choose which learning outcomes, standards etc. that are going to be assessed.  Often this is around five outcomes, standards etc for the entire unit..

2.     Link the appropriate activities throughout this unit with the areas to be assessed.

3.     Decide how are students being assessed during their learning

4.     When students are developing learning goals, and then link the goals to the assessment.

5.     Decide how individual student’s learning goals will be assessed

6.     Modify activities where needed so they are a neat fit with your assessment needs.

7.     As the unit develops, choose self-assessment tools with which students are familiar for self-assessments.

8.     Inform students at the start of the unit about their assessment requirements.


Assessment ideas

A unit of work on an environmental topic will provide a range of tasks suitable for assessment.  Identify the tasks that best assist with the learning outcomes/standards etc you wish to assess. 

Tow list of assessment ideas have been develop as follows:

1.     General – could apply to any unit of work on our environment using an inquiry approach

2.     More specifically – identifies activities in this unit of work that has tasks suitable for assessment.

General

  • Use a prior learning activity as a self assessment tool by asking students to review how their understandings and misconceptions have changed over the course of the unit.
  • When doing research activities such as cool question, students are able to choose and modify questions of interest to research.  They can critically analyse and validate relevant material to answer the questions.
  • When students produce informative texts they can support their material with evidence, diagrams and graphs.
  • Students present their research information or findings justifying the potential effectiveness of the media chosen for specific audiences.
  • They incorporate data and expand on mathematical concepts such as mean and median to explain environmental issues and solutions.
  • Use the ‘Considering social action activities’ to demonstrate students can apply the things they have learnt.

More specifically.

  • Students demonstrate how the concept of biodiversity applies to their local community.
  • Their report after doing their big issue includes all three aspects of biodiversity when explaining the issue.
  • Students are able to work to a brief to produce communication projects for their community.