Yr 8 STEM planning

4 STEM term units. Teachers team-teach same unit; students rotate.

Food for Thought 10 weeks, 3 * 50 min lessons per week To foster an appreciation of safe, sustainable and successful food production

Project: create a new food product that is nutritious, produced from locally sustainable sources and can be easily and safely prepared. Design packaging for the product, including a nutrition label. Describe food handling and preparation to minimize foodborne illness. Design and produce advertising for a product launch.

Activities by week

  • 1 Introduction to the unit
  • 2 Research
  • 3 Nutrition and food security
  • 4 Microbiology
  • 5 Food Preparation (cooking)
  • 6 Food Packaging
  • 7 Food Packaging
  • 8 Food Advertising
  • 9 and 10 Reflection

 Home Sweet Home 10 weeks, 3 * 50 min lessons

With rising populations, we need homes that are sustainable, affordable and energy efficient.

Project: design and build a model of a small home that demonstrates principles of sustainability

Activities by week

  • 1 to 3 Introduction to sustainable housing and research using wiki, Design house using minecraft, Guest speaker
  • 4 to 6 Rotations: Solar cooker, infographics, data analysis, solar hot water system; light bulb out of soda bottle, make solar torch, 3D print house number in Tinkercad or SketchUp. LittleBits activity if time.
  • 7, 8 Build house in groups
  • 9, 10 Reflection: using digital software

Patterns of Life 10 weeks, 3 * 50 min lessons

Explore Mathematics as a means to describe aspects of our environment, as well as opportunities to plan and construct artistic models that are influenced by Maths in both physical and animated form.

Activities by week

  • 1 Explore Maths in nature, tessellations, tangram art, 3D modelling, e.g. toothpicks and marshmallows,
  • 2 Guided explorations of Maths in art and design: polyhedra, Golden Ratio, Mobius strip, Escher               etc.
  • 3 Scratch coding
  • 4 Represent coding for the animated piece diagrammatically or in pseudocode
  • 5 to 8 Develop the animated artwork in Scratch, peer review
  • 9 and 10 Present the artworks in a “gallery” and reflection

Trash Into Treasure 10 weeks, 3 * 50 min lessons Greenhouse gases and global warming

  • Carbon footprint
  • Landfill and waste reduction
  • Technology waste (e-waste) and implications  and solutions (e.g. Mobile Muster, Reverse Garbage in Woolloongabba runs workshops)
  • Waste management audit in a home or school context
  • Design engineering process
  • Sustainable fashion
  • Fashion nanotechnologies

Getting started in minecraftEDU in QLD

Getting a makerspace started

I was asked today: if you started today again, what would you do to start a makerspace?
I would start with origami (again). Buy craft stuff – to build bridges, toothpick towers, paper planes. catapults out of popsicle sticks etc.
I would buy Lego Mindstorms (expensive, but these have great potential and kids love them, because they can move (the kids and the robots)). (someone said they have used these robots with success that are cheaper http://meetedison.com/  )
I would do coding and minecraft. Go to code.org There are great fun tutorials here; step by step.
Also, try Scratch – it is free and great.
I would do CodeCombat (kids really like it and it teaches coding). I have resources for codecombat at: https://ahsmakerspace.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/code-combat-et-al/
Get minecraft edu set up and use it.
If you really want to do LED light stuff, try: https://ahsmakerspace.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/sticky-circuit-cards/
Would love to hear what others would say…

CodeCombat Backwoods Forest and Sarven Desert

“Backwoods Forest” more difficult than Kithgard Forest. Learn if/else, relational operations, object properties, and input handling.

CodeCombat Dungeons of Kithgard https://ahsmakerspace.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/code-combat-et-al/

Home, Sweet, Home

Draft STEM Unit, 2016, still being developed, 3 lessons per week, for 10 weeks, Year 8



Other units https://ahsmakerspace.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/yr-8-stem-planning/

Home Sweet Home Weeks 1 to 3       

1 lesson. Introduction. How can we house ourselves more sustain-ably?

  • Sustainable housing development, what is it? Brainstorm and look at definitions.
  • Why is housing sustainability so important?
  • Set up groups and allocate topics (see below)

4 lessons: Group work using wiki http://year8stem.wikispaces.com/   Groups research topics related to sustainable development.

  1. The small house movement
  2. Sustainable housing in other cultures
  3. Fossil fuels and housing
  4. Solar power, wind, battery, other energy sources
  5. Renewable vs non-renewable energy
  6. Housing and dignity of the human person
  7. Aesthetics of housing design
  8. Passive solar design
  9. Minimalist movement
  10. Recycled housing
  11. Housing carbon footprint
  12. Housing waste management
  13. Reducing ecological footprint
  14. “Off the grid” movement

Students read other groups’ work and make conclusions about minimum needs in a house (waterproof, light, power, security, privacy etc), see IKEA flatpack house, design aspects to include in their house to increase sustainability.

2 lessons: Guest speaker on sustainable housing design and/or QLD Museum kits on sustainable housing

2 lessons: Students design a model of a house in groups of 3 or 4, featuring sustainable housing design principles. (Max. size 60 by 60 cm base) Use minecraftEDU to design house https://ahsmakerspace.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/designing-a-sustainable-house-with-minecraft/ Make list of materials needed and start collecting. House will be made from recycled materials e.g. cardboard. Design thinking activity http://www.cooperhewitt.org/2011/09/09/ready-set-design/

Weeks 4 to 6


Weeks 7, 8   Build model of house in groups of 4 that shows sustainable principles (base max. 60 by 60 cm) made out of recycled materials. Highlight aspects of house that are sustainable e.g. using signage, labels. https://ahsmakerspace.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/ideas-for-making-models-of-sustainable-home/

Weeks 9, 10 Use choice of program e.g. Scratch, powtoon, moviemaker, to reflect on what has been learnt in the unit, and choices that can be made now and in the future regarding housing sustainability.


Code Combat: Dungeon of Kithgard

(Needs Chrome best or Safari browser.)


Learning to code resources