Plant Tycoon: How to replace a real life garden with a virtual one.

Plant Tycoon: How to replace a real life garden with a virtual one.

Learning Area

Design and Technology

Year Level

Although this game is targeting the curriculum for the younger years; unless you are experienced with playing the game I suggest it be used by years 3/4 to revisit the concepts learned in earlier years.


Technologies Contexts


Food and fibre production – Plants and animals used for production have basic needs, such as food/nutrients, water, space, protection (ACTDEK003)

From from the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA).

Link to the Resource

Can be purchased online for $10 through Big Fish Games; however, once it is purchased once it can be downloaded as many times as needed!

General Capabilities

Information and communication technology (ICT) capability and Critical and Creative Thinking.

Links to Other Learning Areas

Science, Literacy

Using this Resource

Plant Tycoon is perfect for classrooms that want to teach the values of planting a garden but simply do not have the space or resources. The game allows students to create their own garden in a virtual world. They can water and fertilise their plants while also making sure they are getting enough sun. Plant Tycoon also allows the students to experiment with cross-pollination – seeing how the DNA of plants can combine in a simple way and make new creations come to life. Although creating a physical class garden would be ideal, not every class can do this. Plant Tycoon allows the younger years to learn about the basic needs of plants and the production of growing different types in real time which is different to other garden-based virtual realities. It also incorporates the learning of sustainability and economics with plant production; displaying to the students how plants need to be bought and sold to increase revenue. This resource is cheap and its real-time running makes it feel more true-to-life. It is relaxing, challenging and students can create at their own pace.

A Quick Video

Below is a video of some in-game action. Don’t be deterred if it looks too complex – it is much simpler than it looks! From 0:00-1:20 the game shows how  ‘people’ purchase the plants. This video is just to display how interactive the game is and how many different plants can be created; but as the teacher it is possible to restrict the game play to just growing the plants if you so desire.

Investigating Food and Fibres – Primezone

Investigating Food and Fibres – Primezone

Investigating Food and Fibres by Primezone is a unit of work resource. 

Resource Location:

Cost: Free!

Resource description This unit encourages students to investigate how foods and fibres are produced. It includes sections on foods and fibres we use; how food and fibre are obtained; their production systems; and technologies and processes used to assist in their production and the contributions they make to societies. As the unit progresses, the emphasis shifts to investigating how the family and cultural group students belong to produce different foods or fibre. Students interview a member of their family to obtain this information and in turn share recipes, ingredients, methods and equipment suggested by the families with the class.

Year levels: 3 and 4

Design and Technologies Strand: Design and Technologies – Knowledge and Understanding –

ACARA Content Descriptor: Investigate food and fibre production and food technologies used in modern and traditional societies ACTDEK012

SCSA – Food and fibre production

Types of food and fibre produced in different environments, cultures or time periods, including the equipment used to produce or prepare them (ACTDEK012)

Cross Curriculum Priorities – Sustainability

OI.2: All life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their wellbeing and survival.

OI.3: Sustainable patterns of living rely on the interdependence of healthy social, economic and ecological systems.

Using the unit

The unit can be used in a number of ways. It will be of most benefit to teachers who wish to implement a sustained sequence of activities following the inquiry stages identified in the About the approach section of this unit and content descriptions in Years 3 and 4 in Design and Technologies as stated in the Australian Curriculum.

Selecting activities

At each stage several activities are suggested from which you are encouraged to select the most appropriate for your purposes. Not all activities in each stage of the unit need to be used. Alternatively, you may add to or complement the suggested activities with ideas of your own. It is suggested that teachers create a hyperlinked unit. Organise the digital resources for your class’s use on a website or wiki or provide them on your interactive whiteboard.

Additional information

The flexibility of this resource facilittes the teachers ability to target the learning to her class and differentiated abilities within the class. Although the resource is specifically designed for the one SCSA, ACARA outcome it is noted that it can be adapted for use in other year levels. Furthermore, the resource is easily adapted to include the Digital Technologies curriculum.

For example,
Year 3 – Digital Technologies

Knowledge and Understanding:

Different types of data can be represented in different ways (ACTDIK008)

Processes and production skills


Collect and present different types of data using simple software to create useful information (ACTDIP009)

Create and communicate ideas and information safely (ACTDIP013)

Investigating and defining

Create a sequence of steps to solve a given task


Develop and communicate ideas using labelled drawings and appropriate technical terms



Paddock to Plate – The Journey of Food

Paddock to Plate: Where does my food come from resource 

This inquiry based resource to food and fibre production and food technologies allows students to investigate the journey of food production in Australia and all over the world. Students understand where their food comes from, how it is processed via farming contexts and how producers/ consumers respond to and influence each other in supply and demand of today’s growing society. This resource provides teachers with a step-by-step learning outcome and activity booklet, questioning and responding power point package and farm to factory printable flashcards. The final presentation will require students to present their own paddock to pate journey using Prezi, power point or any digital resource. Students then reflect on how sustainable their process was, and discuss how they can create a more sustainable food process.

Target year level: Year 3-4

Learning area: Technologies

Strand: Technologies/Design and technologies

Content Description: Design and Technologies Plan a sequence of production steps when making designed solutions individually and collaboratively (ACTDE018)
English Listen to and contribute to conversations and discussions to share information and ideas and negotiate in collaborative situations (ACELY 1676)

Learning Outcomes:

  • Explore the journey of paddock to plate and the food production industry.
  • Investigate the role of past and present production and food technologies.
  • Learn about the different roles of individuals in the food production industry.
  • Develop an understanding of the sequence of production and processing steps.
  • Consider the difference between short and long food journeys and different foods.
  • Create more sustainable and productive paddock to plate journeys for food items.

Teaching strategies used in resource:

  • Think, pair and share
  • Class brainstorm
  • Class discussion
  • Student reflection
  • Classroom games (Quiz chef)

Resource includes:

Resource snapshots

Teacher resource booklet

Power point resource snapshot 

Flash cards resource

Digital resources to accompany Paddock to Plate resource


You can find the whole resource readily available online here:



Jessica Mann – A Healthy Lifestyle is a Good Lifestyle


Subject: Technologies

Year Level: Year 5

Strand: Digital Technologies – Processes and Production Skills

Sub-Strand: Collecting, Managing and Analysing Data – Collect, store and present different types of data for a specific purpose using software (ACTDIP016)

Accessing the App:

Cross-Curriculum Priorities:

  • Sustainability

General Capabilities:

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Links to Other Learning Areas:

  • English
  • Numeracy
  • Health and Physical Education

How can an app lead us to a Healthier Future?

Bupa and The George Institute have created the app ‘FoodSwitch’. This app is used to help people find the healthiest brand for a desired food item. It helps individuals and families make healthier choices by giving alternatives (or ‘switches’) for different items based on the quantities of sugar, saturated fat, salt and kilojoules. It helps to take away the overwhelming feeling of reading food labels to decide which is the healthiest food by comparing the foods for you after simply scanning the products barcode!

How does the FoodSwitch app work?

  1. Download the app from the App Store (iPhone/iPad) or from Google Play for FREE
  2. Once in the app, you can select the filter you would like. There is a generic FoodSwitch option as well as SaltSwitch, EnergySwitch, FatSwitch and SugarSwitch option. Each shows the healthier option (in a traffic light system or Health-Star rating way) listed first based on the nutritional value of the product scanned. GlutenSwitch is also a filter which shows gluten-free alternatives. *FILTER CAN BE CHANGED WHENEVER DESIRED

Image shows options of the filters on the FoodSwitch app

  1. After selecting a filter, under the scan button, you can scan any food products barcode. Alternatives are then given to this product (the different nutritional values are shown in a traffic light system or by the Health-Star ratings)

Image shows how products nutritional value is shown in a traffic light system. Seen below are healthy alternatives for the product scanned (healthiest at the top).

  1. As many items as desired can be scanned and all appear under the ‘Recents’ button
  2. Underneath the scanned product, alternative brands are listed  with healthier choices to ‘switch’ the scanned product with being listed at the top

FoodSwitch Benefits for Students:

  • Improves design thinking. Students are required to create an outcome (based on healthy food options) that will benefit people
  • Students are reading data (using mathematics knowledge)
  • Students can use it in a cooperative working group so learn how to work with others and take turns
  • Students can use the app at home to educate their own family on healthy food options
  • Students are learning a easy way to make healthy food options
  • Students understand how a healthy lifestyle is sustainable for their lives as an app as simple as this can be used to provide healthy alternatives

Classroom Activity using FoodSwitch:

This is an engaging way for students to increase their digital technologies knowledge while learning about healthy food alternatives. FoodSwitch can be used by students of all ages to promote healthy eating. This app encourages students to compare data and base judgements on this data. Younger students can use this app to simply compare the different nutritional areas of food products and decide which are healthier alternatives. Older students can use this app in conjunction with a case study. They can have information about a ‘family’ and use this app to scan different food products and decide which would be most beneficial and improve their ‘families’ health in necessary areas. This app can be used in individual, partner and group work settings and works with any tablet or iPad. Students can use knowledge they learn through this app to educate their own family about healthy eating and healthy food alternatives.

Further information:

Accessed on:

*This app requires access to wifi*


Online Charts

 Online Charts

Subject: Digital Technologies

Year Level: 6

Strand: Processes and Production Skills

Sub Strand: Acquire, store and validate different types of data and use a range of commonly available software to interpret and visualise data in context to create information (ACTDIP016)

Link to the Resource:

Cross Curriculum Priorities and General Capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Numeracy

Links to other areas: Mathematics, Science, HASS

Classroom activity using this resource: Online Charts is a website designed to create charts which can be printed, emailed or saved as an image. As a registered user it can also be saved online for future editing. Students are able to choose from a wide variety of charts, including;

Although primary students are not required to create the more difficult charts, by using this website enables differentiation and exposes the gifted and talented students to extended learning.

There are numerous activities that can be done using this resource, whether it be with a science, mathematics or HASS focus. The following example could be used when teaching the Science Inquiry Skill of Planning and Conducting; observe, measure and record data with accuracy using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS104).

                                                                    What Makes Mold Grow More Rapidly?

Students will create bread specimens using bread, mold spores and sealable sandwich bags. These will be placed in three different environments and data of growth of mold will be recorded at the same time each day throughout the experiment. Growth is measured using a transparent plastic grid sheet (10mm x 10mm squares). The recording should be done until there are significant measurable results.

Students will record the data on paper during the experiment and then using Online Charts create the appropriate charts  at the conclusion of the experiment. Photos should also be taken throughout and then added to the final display of data.

Future experiments could also be done by changing some of the variables, for instance, keep the temperature the same but use different types of bread, add moisture to the slices, or put different amounts of sugar or lemon juice onto the slices. Ensuring that only one thing is varied at a time.

Please refer to Martin Shuttleworth’s website for detailed instructions on the experiment items and method Variations may need to be made to Shuttleworth’s experiment to suit the class, for example recording the growth of mold may need to be done every 3 days to cover the weekend break.

How to use this resource:

This resource is quite explanatory as you progress along, once clicking on “Design Your Chart” you are navigated through the website and prompted where to insert the required information. There are options to personalise your chart by changing colours and fonts etc. Upon completion of the chart you are able to print, save onto computer, email, or save online for future editing. Within the website there is also a Help section for FAQs and a Contact Us option.

Below is a short tutorial created by Michael McIlwraith in which he talks step by step through an example of creating a pie chart. Please note that some of the information he refers to may not be relevant as he is delivering this tutorial to adult learners undertaking a particular unit of study.

Junior Landcare! Creating a Food Garden…

Subject: Design and Technologies

Year level: Grade 3+

Strand: Knowledge and Understanding, Process and Production Skills

Substrand: Food and Fibre Production

Content Descriptor Example: Types of food and fibre produced in different environments, cultures or time periods, including the equipment used to produce or prepare them (ACTDEK012). Past performance, and current and future needs are considered when designing sustainable food and fibre systems for products (ACTDEK021).

Cross-Curriculum Priorities:

  • Sustainability

General Capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social Capability
  • Ethical Understanding

Links to other learning areas

  • Health and Physical Education
  • Science
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Art

Click the picture above to open the ‘creating a food garden’ resource

Link to Junior Landcare website:

First Impressions

The Junior Landcare website provides teachers, students and parents with information about how to improve and look after the current and future environment. It is easy to read and navigate through the website. There are a heap of resources and links providing you with more ideas and inspiration. This resource is perfect for integrating Sustainability into the classroom and developing students ethical understanding. Landcare Australia also have a Youtube channel where there are a number of videos about Australia and the environment we live in. Perfect to guide student discussion developing knowledge and understanding.

What is Junior Landcare? 

Junior Landcare was created by Landcare Australia in 1998. This was created to encourage young people to play an active role in conserving current land to ensure a safe future environment. Junior Landcare encourages young people to be accountable for their actions and take responsibility of their future environment. Junior Landcare provide a range of days where students can volunteer and assist in creating a better future. The best thing about Junior Landcare, is that it links straight in with the curriculum. So you know that the students will benefit academically from the experience. The L.I.F.E website also provides event days where students can volunteer or you could create your own event to get people together. Discover more in the video below.

How you could use Junior Landcare in the Classroom

There are multiple resources on Junior Landcare that would be useful in the classroom. An activity that would provide multiple linked activities as well as benefit the actual school is to create a food garden. Creating a food garden involves multiple steps that can incorporate many other learning areas. Students would begin with investigating and defining when discussing potential ideas to create a food garden. Write all of their ideas down and discuss why some things might work better than others. Involve Mathematics by designing a to scale 2D drawing of a food garden including labels and technical terms. Now its time to produce and implement the design to create the food garden with the safe use of tools and equipment. Incorporate Science where students evaluate the growth of the food garden and ask questions like, ‘what could be done to improve the growth’. This will provide students with a collaborative and hands on experience. After the garden is created you can involve Art by drawing a birds eye view of the garden or involve English by writing a procedural text on how to create a food garden. There are so many possibilities with creating a food garden.


Gather extra helping hands! Engage with parents and the school ground keeper to see if they can help create the masterpiece.

Create a rotating roster for students to water and look after the garden. Otherwise you will spend half the afternoon everyday doing it yourself.

Something extra…

Download and have a read of the Teacher’s Resource Guide.

Check out this classroom blog where they have created their own food garden for inspiration and ideas.

Also have a look at Landcare Australia’s Youtube channel.

Other Resources from Junior Landcare

Building a Worm Farm

Creating a Frog Pond

Enhancing and Restoring Habitats

Growing Healthy Plants using Natural Pesticides


By Jessica Read



Junior Landcare. [2015]. Retrieved from

Landcare Australia. (2015, March 26). Junior landcare hits our tv screens [Video file]. Retrieved from

Landcare Australia. (2014, December 3). Landcare is for everyone [Video file]. Retrieved from

Landcare Australia. (2016, November 28). Love our Aussie land [Video file]. Retrieved from

School Curriculum and Standards Authority. [2014]. Design and Technologies. WA: Government of Western Australia. Retrieved from

Paddock to Plate: Get your hands on my food.

Subject: Design and Technologies

Year Level:3-4

Strand:Design and Technologies – Knowledge and understanding

Sub strand:Food and fibre production

Yesr 3 – Types of food and fibre produced in different environments, cultures or time periods, including the equipment used to produce or prepare them

Year 4 – Types of technologies used in food and fibre production or processing, including how they are used to help meet consumer needs

Link to the resource

Cross curriculum priorities and general capabilities

Critical and creative thinking (CCT),Personal and social capability (PSC),Information and Communication Technology (ICT),Literacy (LIT), Sustainability

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding
  • Intercultural understanding.

Links to other learning areas


Science – Science understandings – Chemical Science – A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat (ACSSU046)

Science – Science as a Human Endeavour – Nature and development of science – Science involves making predictions and describing patterns and relationships (ACSHE050)

A classroom activity using this resource

This is a well structured resource that allows the teacher to teach a lesson exploring the process of food from the paddock to the plate. It involved the students working through learning stations where they explore the ways in which food changes from the raw state to make it suitable for consumption. The stations offer different processes such as chemical changes in food or the processing of a food item. The stations are inquiry based and hands on allowing for addressing student misconceptions and creating thought and discussion to promote ideas.

How to use this resource

This useful learning resource includes the lesson plan, power-point and all the printable classroom support resources to match. It is very easy to follow and provides opportunities for extension activities and further research. It is clearly laid out with suggested assessment and student reflection sheets for reporting the groups findings back to the class. This lesson links well with the Science curriculum when investigating states of matter and the changes that occur.


Learn About Wool


Name: LEARN ABOUT WOOL~ From fibre to fashion 

Subject: Design and Technologies

Technologies Context -> Food and Fibre Production

Year Levels: 3-4

Link to Resource:

Australia’s wool industry provides the ideal opportunity for students across Years 3 and 4 to explore how sheep are managed sustainably to produce wool and how the properties of wool allow it to be used for a diverse range of everyday products.

Resource Description:
The LEARN ABOUT WOOL resources provide opportunities for Year 3 – 4 students to investigate where wool comes from, how wool is produced, the unique properties of wool and how these properties influence the use and behaviour of the wool-based end products. Students also use the Australian wool industry as the basis for investigating the world-class technologies and methods used in modern fibre production.

The curriculum-based resource packages (The Properties of Wool and Modern Wool Production) include a variety of interactive resources, including a downloadable PDF factsheet, websites, applications and age-appropriate video clips.


How to use these resources 

  • Students watch the videoclips on where wool comes from and how its processed

video clips

  • Factsheets on keys points are handed out (example shown below)

Example fact sheet

  • Students interact (see and feel) with real samples of raw and processed fibre, yarn and fabric which are included in the hard copy version of the Learn About Wool kit.

Covers differing properties of wool in various circumstances, and also provides videos such as ‘How my sweater came to be’ covering from the farm to production


Additional resources:

  • Magazine; The Australian Wool Innovation Limited has their own publication ‘Beyond the Bale’ which shows the varied use of Australian wool from Fashion to Football. Found at
  • App;The Wool Lab Interiors app’ ‘A guide to the most inspiring trends and to the best wool products, created by The Woolmark Company to inspire and inform textile professionals regarding the infinite potential of Merino wool.’




Resource: The Properties of Wool

Fact sheet: PDF link;

Strand: Design and Technologies Knowledge and Understanding

Substrand: Technologies context -> Engineering principles and systems

  • Investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of a product or system (ACTDEK011)

Learn about wool

Elaboration; Students explore and conduct investigation into the resources in order to understand the characteristics and properties of wool, which may affect the behaviour and performance of a product (eg flammability for children’s pyjamas, thermal properties for winter garments, breathability for sportswear etc)


Strand: Design and Technologies Knowledge and Understanding

Substrand: Technologies context -> Food and Fibre Production

  • Recognise/ investigate the contribution food and fibre production and food technologies make to modern and traditional societies (ACTDEK012)


Strand: Design and Technologies Processes and production skills

Substrand: Investigating & defining, designing, producing & implementing, evaluating, collaborating & managing

  • Opportunities to incorporate the full strand, depending on the classroom activity being undertaken. (ACTDEP014 – ACTDEP018)

wool fun facts


Resource:  Modern Wool Production

Fact sheet:

Strand: Design and Technologies; Knowledge and Understanding

Substrand: Technologies context -> Food and fibre production

  • Investigate food and fibre production and food technologies used in modern and traditional societies (ACTDEK012)

 Wool production

Strand: Design and Technologies; Processes and production skills

Substrand: Investigating & defining, designing, producing & implementing, evaluating, collaborating & managing

  • Opportunities to incorporate the full strand, depending on the classroom activity being undertaken. (ACTDEP014 – ACTDEP018)

 Wool posters


Cross Curricular Priorities:

Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia

General Capabilities:



Critical & Creative Thinking (CCT)

Intercultural Thinking (ICU)

Links to other Learning Areas:

Science (ACSSU074) (Years 1 – 8)

Geography (Years 1, 4, 5, 9)

History (Years 2, 4, 5)


Economics & business (Years 7, 9, 10)


From Paddock to Plate Schools Program

Subject:   Design and Technologies  images (1)

Year Level: 3-4 (can be used across all year levels)

Strand: Design and Technologies knowledge and understanding

Sub Strand: Food and Fibre Production

4.3 Recognise the contribution food and fibre production and food technologies make to modern and traditional societies

Link to Resource:

Description: Founded by Louise Fitzroy, From Paddock to Plate Schools Program was created to give children the opportunity to make more informed and healthy food choices. In this program students learn about the origins of the food they eat and the importance of supporting those who produce it. The program is an easy-to-use multi-media resource that focuses on a variety of foods, producers and agricultural hubs, each accompanied by corresponding worksheets and follow on activities for your students.

Click on the link below to hear Louise Fitzroy tell us more about the Schools Programs


Cross Curricular Priorities and General Capabilities: Literacy; Numeracy; Intercultural Understanding; Ethical Understanding; Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia

Links to other learning areas: Mathematics, Science, English, Health and Physical Education

 Suggested Classroom Activity for Resource:

This resource enables teachers to adapt the program to cater for differing year levels and abilities. A suggested activity could be focusing on one product per week of the eight part series (honey; eggs; wheat; cherries; fish; vegetables; milk; grass-fed beef). For example, the students watch the video about honey; learn about where it comes from and why it is important. After a class discussion they can complete the corresponding activities from the Paddock to Plate program. An extension of this would be using the featured product to make food for students to sell to the rest of the school. At the end of each week the students could create a stall to sell their produce and also provide information about the process it went through to become said product. Students can be broken into groups; taking turns each week to be in charge of a certain product. This resource allows for many cross-curricular links including Mathematics as the students learn to buy and sell with real money.

Watch the YouTube Video below:

 A great resource to get adults and children thinking about the produce they buy at the supermarket and how it got there; an insight into the journey of from paddock to plate.

3rd World Farmer

Resource: 3rd World Farmer

Description: 3rd World Farmer is an interactive game where you must make decisions on how best to manage a farm based in a third world country. The user must make decisions on how to best spend their money to build their farm with no knowledge of what disasters await. There are multiple strategies that can be used to yield the best return for your investment and there is no one right way to achieve success.

Subject: Technologies
Strand: Design and Technologies
Sub-Strand: Design and Technologies Processes and Production Skills

Negotiate criteria for success that include consideration of sustainability to evaluate design ideas, processes and solutions (ACTDEP027)
Year Levels: 5-6

Link to Resource:

Cross-Curriculum Priorities: Sustainability.

General Capabilities: Literacy, Numeracy, Information and Communication Technology Capabilities (ICT), Critical and Creating thinking, Personal and Social Capabilities Ethical Understandings and Intercultural Understandings.

Links to other Learning Areas: Mathematics, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Review: I believe this game could be used effectively in the classroom as it not only activates students critical thinking skills, it is also a platform to begin open ended discussions about ethical and intercultural problems within our global community. Students are also forced to make critical decisions with no knowledge of the eventual outcomes. This encourages students to reflect on any failures and informs their future thinking.

There is also a range of mathematics embedded throughout the game. This may appeal to gifted and talented students as mathematical understanding can be used to gain small advantages during the game. This game appears to have strong links to Facebook so teachers need to follow teaching standard 4.5 (Use ICT safely, responsibly and ethically) appropriately when using this resource.


References:,. (2015). Home – The Australian Curriculum v7.5. Retrieved 10 August 2015, from,. (2015). 3rd World Farmer: A simulation to make you think.. Retrieved 10 August 2015, from