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*


Solar Cookers

Subject: Design Technologies

Year level: 5 & 6

Strand: Knowledge and understanding – Sub strand: Technologies and society

How people address competing considerations, including sustainability when designing products, services and environments for current and future use (ACTDEK019)

Strand: Processes and production skills – Sub strand: Creating solutions by: Designing

Design, modify, follow and represent both diagrammatically, and in written text, alternative solutions using a range of techniques, appropriate technical terms and technology.


Cross-curriculum Priorities:


General Capabilities:



Critical and creative thinking

Personal and social capability

Ethical understanding

Links to other learning areas: Science –

Physical Sciences – Light from a source forms shadows and can be absorbed, reflected and refracted (ACSSU080)

How to use this idea in the classroom:

Literacy: Design a brochure or advertisement outlining the benefits of solar power compared with other non-renewable types of energy. Describe how to construct a solar oven, what is needed and outline some pros and cons of the use of them.

ICT: Use the ABC splash website and solar oven activity in order to test out different designs and materials that could be used in the construction of their own solar oven.

Design and Technology: Using digital technologies, students will research different solar oven designs. From this research, students will use a range of recycled materials to design and build their own oven. Once these ovens are complete, they will be tested on a sunny day to cook a snack.

Science: Students will investigate how they can use different materials in order to manipulate the sun’s rays.

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.


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




Poultry Hub




Subject: Design and Technologies

Year Level: Year3-4

Strand: Design and Technologies Knowledge and Understanding

Sub strand: Investigate food and fibre production and food technologies used in modern and traditional societies (ACTDEK012)


  • exploring tools, equipment and procedures to improve plant and animal production, for example when growing vegetables in the school garden and producing plant and animal environments such as a greenhouse, animal housing, safe bird shelters
  • describing ideal conditions for successful plant and animal production including how climate and soils affect production and availability of foods, for example Aboriginal seasons and food availability

Link to the resource:

Cross curriculum priorities and general capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Literacy, Intercultural Understanding, Numeracy, Sustainability and Personal and Social Capability

Links to other learning areas: English, Science and Geography 

About the resource:

Poultry Hub is an informational resource package that is designed for both teachers and students in either a primary or secondary setting. The Teachers Resource Kit contains a range of worksheets, presentations, suggested experiments, videos, books and further resources that can be accessed online.

This highly educational resource links directly to a number of year levels and specific sub strands in the Australian Curriculum. The information provided in the resource kit promotes and stimulates individual thinking that allows the each student to develop their own informed opinion regarding a number of topics explored, for example: the types of eggs they would purchase at the supermarket.

How to use this resource/ An activity using this resource:
Explore the theme ‘Journey of the egg: Farm to shop’ that allows the students to discover how eggs are produced, processed and packaged and then placed in supermarkets for customers to purchase. This activity will allow students to learn the steps of each process that contributes to the overall production process. Select from the resource kit the book “The Story of Eggs”, which takes students onto Australian egg farms where they are able to learn more about the process of farming chickens, as well as the equipment and tools used to package eggs. The Egg Resource Kit includes a number of sequential ready-to-use lesson plans, activities and resource sheets.

Design and Technologies: Food processing

Title: Food Processing


(“Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Teaching the Food System,” 2010)

Subject: Design and Technologies

Strand: Design and Technologies knowledge and understanding

Link to website:

Year levels: 5 and 6

Description: This is a resource for teachers about food-processing methods,the reasons food is processed and concerns regarding food processing (“Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Teaching the Food System,” 2010). It includes a 2 hour lesson plan, background reading, vocabulary definitions, slides and student handouts. Topics and learning activities include: the degrees of food processing; the reasons food is processed; the steps involved in the manufacturing of processed foods; and food safety, worker justice, environmental and health concerns in the food-processing industry. The lesson plan includes an overview, essential questions, learning objectives, materials, learning activities, reflection and references.

An example of a lesson from this resource: Students will explore the steps involved in manufacturing many processed food including orange juice and chicken nuggets. The students will learn why and how foods are processed and examine the dietary, health, justice, economic and environmental concerns associated with certain parts of the industry (“Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Teaching the Food System,” 2010).

An included half an hour film on farming:

Australian Curriculum links:

  • Investigate how and why food and fibre are produced in managed environments (ACTDEK021) (“Australian Curriculum: Design and Technologies,” 2015)
  • Investigate the role of food preparation in maintaining good health and the importance of food safety and hygiene (ACTDEK022)

  • This is a useful resource for the year 6 economics and business curriculum: The effect that consumer and financial decisions can have on the individual, the broader community and the environment (ACHEK010) (“Australian Curriculum: Economics and Business,” 2015)


Australian Curriculum: Design and Technologies. (2015). Available from

Australian Curriculum: Economics and Business. (2015). Available from

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Teaching the Food System. (2010). Available from