Using the PrimaryConnections Science Program to Teach Technology

Using the PrimaryConnections Science Program to Teach Technology

Learning Area

Design and Technology

Year Level



Technologies Contexts


Engineering principles and systems

Forces, and the properties of materials, affect the behaviour of a product or system (ACTDEK011)

This is from the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) however the equivalent for the Australian curriculum can be found online.

Link to the Resource

Hard Copy ($42):

Online resource available on Scootle for free; however, you will need to create an account:

To watch PrimaryConnections in action within the classroom click here and it will take you to their YouTube channel:

Cross Curricular Priorities

Critical and creative thinking (CCT), Personal and social capability (PSC)

Links to Other Learning Areas

Science, Literacy, Mathematics

Some Background on the Creators

The Australian Academy of Science has linked science with literacy through the innovative program that is PrimaryConnections. The many lesson ideas and units created through PrimaryConnections use an inquiry-based approach to develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in both science and literacy; however, many of the lessons can be adapted to suit teaching different aspects of the curriculum. To find out more, please visit the PrimaryConnections website at

Using this Resource

Whilst this resource is set to a quite specific year level and section of the curriculum, it is very easy to implement in the classroom. The program is an eight week course that is designed to cover an entire section of the year four chemistry curriculum. However; looking deeper into the content and tasks required of the students, it is actually a program that coincides very closely with the technologies curriculum. The program is essential lesson plans that include diagnostic, formative and summative assessments; with sequential lessons that build on each other with every activity. The entire program is extremely hands on, with each child being placed into groups and assigned a role, which is linked to improving personal and social capabilities. It caters for visual, audible and kinaesthetic learners. Much of the work is already done for you, it just needs to be adapted to have more of a technology focus if you so desire. If year four is not your year, PrimaryConnections offer science programs for every year level K-12, all of which have ideas on how to teach lessons based on technology. It is just up to you to adapt the program accordingly!

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.

Class Dojo

Year: Lower to upper primary

What is this? Class Dojo is a app that aids with behaviour management, as it helps monitor and guide student behaviour. It can be used by both the teacher and the students. It enables students to become responsible for their own actions, reactions and behaviours and can also help develop students’ ability to self regulate. This app can help create a sense of belonging in the classroom as students are shown as a whole class and can even be broken down into groups. This app can be used for more than just behaviour management however, as it can be used as a timer, as an attendance record, track homework and it has an instant messaging system to be used to keep in contact with parents. Parents can ask queries and seek responses from the teacher, and they can even be updated through the class blog. All students have the ability to post on the class blog but posts require teacher approval. In this way students are able to have access to their dojo from home, and the site even provides custom QR codes for students to scan in order to reach their dojo. As of last year, teachers are now able to use the site to send other teachers resources, which keeps the resources in one easily accessible account. The site also provides an introduction video for students and a letter to parents explaining how the app works. Not only is this a wonderful app that is beginning to be used in many schools, but it is also 100% free, making it easy for whole schools to adapt due to the lack of cost.

Here are some praise and examples for how other teachers use this app: 

Image result for class dojo avatars girlsHow this app aids with behaviour management: In this app, the teacher enters their class list into the app. Each student is represented with a customise-able monster avatar. The teacher can give individual or groups of students points and select a specific reason why from a list of observable behaviours (eg. listening, participation). Points can also be deducted from students. The app can either be displayed on an interactive whiteboard so that all students can view it, or can be operated from a computer, iPad or iPhone. This makes the app portable and provides access from where ever the teacher may take the students within the school. To make the app most effective, teachers should negotiate with their students a list of desirable behaviours that they can achieve points for. This way all students are aware of what behaviours they should demonstrate and creates a sense of accountability. Students can also be broken up into groups (either as desk groups or even spelling/maths groups, etc.) and can give group points. The points can be reset whenever the teacher chooses, for example at the end of each day or week. What the teacher chooses to do with the points is completely up to them. They can provide students with individual rewards or can even decide to give out whole class rewards. Reward systems and needed points can be tweaked to suit the year level.

Image result for class dojo rewards whole class



Application in classrooms via the use of the curriculum: I have seen this app effectively implemented in a range year levels, such as year 2/3 split class and even a year 5 class. However I will relate this to the year 4 curriculum.

Year 4 curriculum (SCASA)

Subject: Technologies

Strand: Digital Technologies

Sub-Strand: Knowledge and Understanding/Digital Systems

Content Descriptor: Digital systems and peripheral devices are used for different purposes and can store and transmit different types of data (ACTDIK007)

This content descriptor was chosen because aspects of the app directly relate to this. The app enables teachers to track, mark and keep record of student homework. Students each have their own individual accounts, which students can use to upload their homework and assessment pieces. The uploaded work is presented as a portfolio, and allows parent and peer access.


Class dojo. (n.d.). Retrieved from

School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA). (n.d.). Retrieved from


Related image

Year: Middle to upper primary

What is it? Kahoot! is an online quiz game, in which students can either play individually or as teams from multiple devices. The teacher creates an account and can create customised quizzes relating to the content the class has been learning. The teacher projects the quiz onto the interactive whiteboard. This allows students to view the questions, as questions are only view-able from the teacher account. Each game has a unique pin-code, and the students log into the game using the pin-code. The quizzes are a multi-choice platform, where students answer questions via selecting the correct answer (represented by both colours and symbols) from their device. Students score points for accuracy of their answer and for the fastness in which they answer. It is a great resource to use to test students’ knowledge as a summative task while incorporating ICT. Images and videos can also be added to the questions.  At the end of each answer, students are provided with a graph of results, showing how many people chose what answer. These results remain completely anonymous to the students.

Image result for kahoot

Image result for kahootTeacher Link:

Student Link: 

Application in classrooms via the use of the curriculum: I believe that this app would be most effective for students in middle to upper primary, but could possibly be modified for use in year 2. We will be looking at year 3-4.

Subject: Technologies

Strand: Digital Technologies

Sub-Strand: Digital Technologies Processes and Production Skills

Content Descriptor: Plan, create and communicate ideas and information independently and with others, applying agreed ethical and social protocols (ACTDIP013)

This content descriptor was chosen because aspects of the website can relate to this. Students canhelp plan and create quizzes with teacher help and test their peers.

Lego Boost – A hands on approach to coding in the classroom!

Digital Technologies

Design and Technology

Sub-strand: Design and technologies process and production skills

Bands: 3 to 7



Boost is Lego’s latest introduction of Lego robotics to 2017. Boost is a step up from Lego’s Mindstorms and WeDo 2.0 robotics kits, introducing movement to Lego. Boost gives students the opportunity to engage in the active learning process, whereby students construct their own learning. Boost is not only fun, but it’s also educational. Using the software available on the Lego Boost website, teachers can tailor learning experiences which are relevant, hands on and fun, while learning the fundamentals of coding and computational thinking.


Boost has over 60 different coding activities available. Teachers can select the activity they would like to incorporate into their learning experience from the Boost App, available for most Android and Apple devices. Coding with Lego is easy, students demonstrate their problem solving skills and ability to think critically by programming their Lego Boost creation to suit the learning task. Boost Lego has special bricks including a motor and sensors, which gauge surrounding colours and distance from objects in its path.


LEGO Boost isn’t available until August 2017, however children and adults are bursting to try this new technology!

Content Descriptors

Year 3 to Year 4

  • Generate, develop, and communicate design ideas and decisions using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (ACTDEP015)
  • Select and use materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques and use safe work practices to make designed solutions (ACTDEP016)
  • Plan a sequence of production steps when making designed solutions individually and collaboratively (ACTDEP018)

Year 5 to Year 6

  • 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)
  • Develop project plans that include consideration of resources when making designed solutions individually and collaboratively (ACTDEP028)

Year 7 to Year 8

  • Critique needs or opportunities for designing and investigate, analyse and select from a range of materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to develop design ideas (ACTDEP035)
  • Select and justify choices of materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques to effectively and safely make designed solutions (ACTDEP037)
  • Use project management processes when working individually and collaboratively to coordinate production of designed solutions (ACTDEP039

General capabilities 

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking
  • Personal and Social capability
  • Information and Communication Technology


Further Information

Lego Boost CNN Report

LEGO Boost Official Website

LEGO WeDo Official website

Bits and Bricks

Youtube – Boost LEGO in Education

Youtube – WeDo LEGO in Education

Lego Computer Coding Activities



By Emily Richardson

QR codes and Plickers


What is Plickers?

Plickers is a tool that can be used by students and teachers to gather real-time data.  Teachers can use Plickers  for diagnostic, formative and summative assessment. Plickers can be used for assessment, as a voting tool (for example deciding what sport students want to play for morning fitness) or in any learning area.

Plickers is linked to an app on the iPad or tablet. Students have a QR code and a series of questions to answer, depending on what they think the answer is determines which way they hold their QR code up. The teacher then scans the room with an iPad or tablet picking up all the students answers.

When I used Plickers in the classroom I displayed the questions and answers on the Interactive Whiteboard, that way the students could read and answer the questions. Once they had answered the question we could compare the data, we could look at a graph to see how many students got the answer correct or incorrect and we could compare percentages. Displaying the information on the Interactive Whiteboard allowed all the students to see if there QR codes had been scanned or not (their name would turn from red to green).

Plickers can be incorporated into all learning areas in different ways. I found incorporating it into mathematics was a great way for for me to assess students understandings, from there I could determine what needed to be taught in more depth and what students understood. Plickers was a great way for all students to participate because it was hands on, interactive and the answers were private.

Useful information for teachers

  • Pictures can be added to the questions
  • Only 4 options/ answers can be added
  • Plickers allows teacher to focus on teaching rather then preparing
  • It is free to sign up and the QR codes are provided


  • Year 3 and Year 4
  • Year 5 and Year 6

Below I have given you the Australian Curriculum details for Year 3 and Year 4.

Subject: Digital Technologies

Strand: Digital technologies knowledge and understandings and digital technologies process and production skills

Curriculum Links

Digital Technologies

  • Recognise different types of data and explore how the same data can be represented in different ways (ACTDIK008)
  • Collect, access and present different types of data using simple software to create information and solve problems (ACTDIP009)
  • Plan, create and communicate ideas and information independently and with others, applying agreed ethical and social protocols (ACTDIP013)

General Capabilities

  • Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Capabilities
  • Numeracy
  • Literacy
  • Critical and Creative thinking

To get started and for more information about Plickers click the link below

Coding for all ages


Subject: Digital Technologies

Year level: Year 3

Strand: Digital Technologies process and production skills

Substrand: Digital Implementations

Use visually represented sequenced steps (algorithms), including steps with decisions made by the user (branching) (ACTDIP011)

General Capabilities

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

What is Code?

Code is a website that allows people of all ages to complete computer science activities. Hour of Code allows students to access tutorials and learn how computer science works. Code Studio can be set up by a teacher so students can work their way through tasks and further their understandings of computer science. These tasks are great for students because they target the students needs (students can work at their own pace through the levels) and it also includes interest of theirs so it keeps them actively engaged in the learning. The code website can be used on laptops, iPads and tablets therefore students have the ability to easily click and drag the appropriate instruction where necessary, making the website extremely interactive. The Code website manages to incorporate games and movies into coding; examples of these include Minecraft, Star Wars and Frozen. Coding is a great way for students to build and use their problem solving skills.

For more information about this website and to start coding yourself click the link below 

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



Bring the classroom to the farm!




Year level:

K – 4



Design and Technologies


Sub strand:

Knowledge and Understanding


Link to the resource:

PDF Document – A Teacher’s Guide GeorgetheFarmer_teacher0915 

Application link –


Cross Curriculum Priorities:



General Capabilities:

Literacy; Critical and creative thinking; ICT’s capabilities


Links to other learning areas:

English: Literature: Examining Literature




English: Literature: Creating Literature



Science: Science Understanding: Biological sciences




A classroom activity using this resource:

Students will explore stories and songs about George the Farmer to find out what George and his wife, Ruby, produce on their farm and how their produce is made into foods and products we buy at the shops. This is an amazing resource that really brings the farm to the classroom! Many students from the city don’t always realize just where their food comes from. This unit of work is structured around the six steps of Crockett’s 21st Century Fluencies. which makes it a highly structured and theoretically based learning experience. The free PDF package available for download is very comprehensive and detailed in it’s delivery. It is very easy to understand and has a whole range of activities for students to complete. There is also a fun and interactive application which includes lively story narration, animations, sing along songs, all of  which are intended to improve students’ hand eye coordination, increase their reading comprehension and allow them to learn about farming practices.  This application is available to download on any mobile, device or operating system. I have provided a link to the PDF document and application for your convenience. There is also a hard copy book available. The activities in both resources allows students to create their own book or e-book.

PDF Document – A Teacher’s Guide GeorgetheFarmer_teacher0915 

Application link –

I have also included a review from two reputable sources:

Sydney Morning Herald:






RM Williams Outback Magazine:







A Teacher’s Guide: FREE

Application: $4.49


How to use this resource:

I  recommend you begin by opening your preferred browser and go to where you can download the Teacher’s Guide. If using the application follow your mobile, device or operating system instructions. The webpage is fantastic because you do not have to create a log in account. This makes using the learning program much simpler and straight forward! The PDF document is printer friendly and can be saved on your computer for future reference.


Crockett, L. & Jukes, I. & Churches, A. (2011) Literacy is not enough. 21st Century Fluency Project Inc

RM WIlliams Magazine. Re: Review of George the Farmer [Blog comment]. Retrieved from

Sydney Morning Herald. Re: Review of George the Farmer [Blog comment]. Retrieved from

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: