Select a topic across a two year cycle

Recommended any combination of three topics per year.
Choose a combination of units that suits your students and context.

Cycle one (Year 5)

Jan Jun Dec

Cycle two (Year 6)

Jan Jun Dec

Overview

This unit explores the user-centred design process through three different pathways that incorporate visual programming. Familiarise students with the design process and use of user stories to identify user needs. Next, choose one pathway that suits your students’ needs, school context and available resources.

By the end of Year 6 students develop and modify digital solutions, and define problems and evaluate solutions using user stories and design criteria.

Pathways 2 and 3 also include:

Students design algorithms involving complex branching and iteration and implement them as visual programs including variables.

  • follow the design process (empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test)
  • generate a design to solve an identified problem based on user needs and design criteria
  • test and evaluate the solution against user needs and design criteria.

For pathway 2 and 3

  • design a project that uses inputs and outputs in a 3D immersive environment or on a controllable virtual or physical device
  • create computer programs that involve sequencing, branching, iteration and variables.

Each pathway has a slightly different focus.

The main focus of the pathway ‘Design for all using Makey Makey’ is to enable students to develop and modify digital solutions, define problems and evaluate solutions using user stories and design criteria. It draws on basic programming knowledge but is not intended to fully meet the implementation aspects of the achievement standards for this level.

The pathway ‘Design a community space in 3D’ focuses on immersive 3D environments and enables students to develop and modify digital solutions, define problems and evaluate solutions using user stories and design criteria. It includes programming and can provide evidence towards the achievement standards related to implementation for this level.

The pathway ‘Design an automated solution’ enables students to develop and modify digital solutions, define problems and evaluate solutions using user stories and design criteria. It also requires students to draw on and develop relevant programming skills and processes that relate to the ‘Producing and implementing’ aspects of the achievement standards for this level.

Designing a digital solutionImage

Achievement standards

Digital Technologies: Years 5-6

By the end of Year 6 students develop and modify digital solutions, and define problems and evaluate solutions using user stories and design criteria.

Pathways 2 and 3 also include:

Students design algorithms involving complex branching and iteration and implement them as visual programs including variables.

Rubrics

Select the relevant rubric depending on the selected pathway for this topic.

Designing a solution incorporating Makey Makey

This rubric provides benchmarks for assessing different levels of:

  • knowledge of Makey Makey board components connected as a circuit and identifies conductible/non-conductible materials (Science)
  • defining problems, developing user stories and identifying design criteria
  • evaluating solutions using user stories and design criteria.

Design a community space in 3D

This rubric provides benchmarks for assessing different levels of complexity and proficiency in:

  • defining problems and evaluating solutions
  • using control structures, variables and user input in programming tasks. It emphasises the progression from basic sequences to more advanced programs with complex branching, iteration and the use of variables.

Design an automated solution

This rubric provides benchmarks for assessing different levels of complexity and proficiency in:

  • defining problems and evaluating solutions
  • using control structures, variables and user input in programming tasks. It emphasises the progression from basic sequences to more advanced programs with complex branching, iteration and the use of variables.

Rubric: Designing a solution incorporating Makey Makey

1 (limited) 2 (basic) 3 (proficient) 4 (advanced)
Knowledge of Makey Makey board and interface Science (Explains a circuit and conductible/ non-conductible materials.) identifies and describes the following parts: Scratch program or online interface, Makey Makey board, USB cord, Alligator clips, conductible/non-conductible materials assembles the parts in the correct manner to achieve a working circuit using at least one conductive material assembles the parts in the correct manner to achieve a working circuit and links desired on-screen events that are triggered on receiving the keystroke assembles the parts in the correct manner to achieve a working circuit, identifying conductible/non-conductible materials. Explains how the circuit works and demonstrates the key strokes to control the desired event
Generate designs incorporating a Makey Makey board and interface/Scratch program Define problems and develop user stories and identify design criteria. has not defined the problem or identified user needs in their design defines the problem, identifies the user needs and how their design meets those needs defines the problem, identifies user needs, develops a user story showing the goal to be accomplished and the reason for the goal clearly defines the problem and identifies user needs, develops a user story showing the goal to be accomplished and the reason for the goal. The design clearly shows how the user experience is improved and meets the user needs and design criteria
Create and evaluate digital solution Evaluate solutions using user stories and design criteria. uses an existing program and connects a Makey Makey board to create a working solution uses an existing program and connects a Makey Makey board to create a working solution based on user needs follows their design, which incorporates the user story, tests their solution to ensure it meets the user needs and makes changes as required. Uses an existing program such as a Scratch program follows their design, which incorporates the user story, tests their solution to ensure it meets the user needs and makes changes as required. Explains how the solution meets the user need and justifies the design choices. Modifies or creates their own interface such as a Scratch program

Rubric: Design a community space in 3D

1 (limited) 2 (basic) 3 (proficient) 4 (advanced)
Design and create a community space in Minecraft describes some basic elements of a community space describes elements of a community space and their purpose and organisation within the Minecraft environment describes and creates a thoughtful community space design that is functional and visually appealing, considers the needs and preferences of potential users describes and creates a thoughtful community space design that is functional and visually appealing, considers the needs and preferences of potential users. Explains reasons such as usability and aesthetics
Produce and implement visual programs (in Minecraft) with guidance, creates a program with basic sequential commands, such as moving or placing blocks in a logical order creates a program with sequential commands, uses conditional statements to control the flow of the program and adapts to various in-game situations or employs loops to repeat actions creates a program with user input in a sequence of logical steps that includes multiple decisions (complex branching) and iteration (repeat steps) creates a program with user input in a sequence of logical steps that includes multiple decisions (complex branching) and iteration (repeat steps). Includes variables to store and manipulate data, enhancing the program's functionality

Rubric: Design an automated solution

1 (limited) 2 (basic) 3 (proficient) 4 (advanced)
Design and create a digital solution using micro:bit with guidance, proposes a solution to a problem, but lacks clarity or practicality designs a solution that addresses the problem, showing some consideration for user needs designs a thoughtful and practical solution that effectively addresses the problem and considers user needs designs a thoughtful and practical solution that effectively addresses the problem and considers user needs. Explains design criteria for key functions in terms of the user
Produce and implement visual programs (micro:bit) with guidance, creates a program with basic sequential commands creates a program with sequential commands and uses conditional statements to control the flow of the program or employs loops to repeat actions creates a program with user input in a sequence of logical steps that includes multiple decisions (complex branching) and iteration (repeat steps) creates a program with user input in a sequence of logical steps that includes multiple decisions (complex branching) and iteration (repeat steps). Includes variables to store and manipulate data, enhancing the program's functionality

Unit sequence

This topic offers 3 pathways

Core Unit

User-focused design process

Students are introduced to the design process (empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test).
Learn More

User-focused design process

What is this about?

Students are introduced to the design process (empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test). This process begins with empathising with the users and identifying their needs. It involves creating user stories to inform design considerations. In the define phase, the problem or challenge is defined, identifying goals and any constraints that need to be address in the design. In the ideate phase, various solutions are generated through brainstorming. Next a prototype is developed which can be paper-based or simple digital mock ups. The test phase involves getting feedback from the user to gain insights on usability and effectiveness in meeting the design criteria.

Once students have developed familiarity and confidence with the design process and the use of user stories, they can be presented with a specific problem or challenge that requires designing a digital solution. These are presented as options in the three pathways for this unit.

Content descriptions

Define problems with given or co-developed design criteria and by creating user stories AC9TDI6P01

Design a user interface for a digital system AC9TDI6P03

Generate, modify, communicate and evaluate designs AC9TDI6P04

Evaluate existing and student solutions against the design criteria and user stories and their broader community impact AC9TDI6P06

 

This sequence enables students to:

  • define the problem and identify user needs
  • develop a user story showing the goal to be accomplished and the reason for the goal
  • generate a design to solve an identified problem based on user needs and design criteria
  • test and evaluate the solution against user needs and design criteria.

Supplementary information

The emphasis on empathising with users and understanding their needs is an important phase in designing solutions that really address users’ requirements. Creating user stories is an effective way to capture and communicate user needs, and it helps designers keep the users' perspectives at the forefront throughout the design process.

 

Resources to include

Resources to introduce

Resources to develop and consolidate learning

Further reading and professional learning

Design for all using Makey Makey

What is this about?

Students design a digital solution that solves a problem for a user with an identified need. As students design a digital solution, they can apply their understanding of how data is input and output by digital systems. Students empathise with the target audience, going through a process of ideation and then design. Creating enables students to test whether their design works as expected. Makey Makey is a simple circuit board that enables students to turn any conductible surface into an input device for their computer. Students can incorporate the Makey Makey board into their design.

Content descriptions

Define problems with given or co-developed design criteria and by creating user stories AC9TDI6P01

Design a user interface for a digital system AC9TDI6P03

Generate, modify, communicate and evaluate designs AC9TDI6P04

Evaluate existing and student solutions against the design criteria and user stories and their broader community impact AC9TDI6P06

This sequence enables students to:

  • define the problem and identify user needs
  • develop a user story, showing the goal to be accomplished and the reason for the goal
  • generate a design to solve an identified problem based on user needs and design criteria
  • test and evaluate the solution against user needs and design criteria.

Supplementary information

Input devices allow us to enter raw data into a computer. A digital system, such as a tablet or desktop computer, processes the data. It then produces outputs that are communicated using an output device. Input devices can be manual or automatic. Data such as text, images, sound and numbers are input into a digital system using a range of digital devices. The output is communicated using different components; for example, a speaker for sound. To enable data input, specific software may be required; for example, to gain audio and video input from a webcam, the digital system requires suitable software. This software is also used to output the webcam data to a screen. Users of digital systems need to have the ability to enter data into computers. Various peripheral devices have been created to fulfil this need and this process of invention continues.

The Makey Makey board will plug directly into the computer’s USB peripheral port and essentially behave like an input device. When specific keys are pressed the Makey Makey board can mimic those keystrokes. Students can explore and use different materials to test ways to provide an input that has a functional benefit for their user. For example, users with limited fine-motor control may benefit from a design that has larger, easier controls to use keyboard strokes – such as up, down, left and right arrows – to interact with a game. Makey Makey is an invention kit available for purchase that allows you to interact with a computer, using everyday objects as a replacement for inputs such as a keyboard or computer mouse. Activating a key means creating a closed circuit. For the circuit to work, electrons have to be able to flow from the Makey Makey input key to Makey Makey’s ground pin. So materials chosen as the input must conduct some level of electrical energy. This includes aluminium foil, a banana and even a circuit drawn in grey lead pencil.

Resources to include

Resources to introduce

Resources to develop and consolidate learning

Resources to extend and integrate learning

Professional learning

Design a community space in 3D

What is it about?

Designing, building and exploring virtual worlds that resemble the real world allows students to apply coding skills in a practical context. They can build structures, automate tasks and create contraptions drawing on, and developing, programming skills. Minecraft enables students to engage in an immersive virtual 3D environment and allows them to see the immediate results of their code. They can quickly iterate, test different approaches, and observe how changes affect their virtual world. This feedback loop promotes a hands-on learning experience and helps students grasp coding concepts. Using the context of designing a community space (which can incorporate green city or green building design), students define the problem, identifying user needs. They create user stories based on user needs. They create and test their digital solution against the user stories and design criteria.

Content descriptions

Define problems with given or co-developed design criteria and by creating user stories AC9TDI6P01

Design a user interface for a digital system AC9TDI6P03

Generate, modify, communicate and evaluate designs AC9TDI6P04

Evaluate existing and student solutions against the design criteria and user stories and their broader community impact AC9TDI6P06

Design algorithms involving multiple alternatives (branching) and iteration AC9TDI6P02

Implement algorithms as visual programs involving control structures, variables and input AC9TDI6P05

This sequence enables students to:

  • define the problem and identify user needs
  • develop a user story showing the goal to be accomplished and the reason for the goal
  • generate a design to solve an identified problem based on user needs and design criteria
  • design algorithms involving multiple alternatives (branching) and iteration
  • create computer programs that involve sequencing, branching, iteration and variables
  • test and evaluate the solution against user needs and design criteria.

Resources to include

Resources to introduce

Resources to develop and consolidate learning

Resources to apply and extend learning

Further reading and professional learning

Design an automated solution

What is it about?

Designing an automated solution enables students to apply their programming knowledge and skills to solve a problem or challenge. When designing a solution, students consider the design criteria and needs of the user to ensure it meets the requirements. They design an algorithm as a series of steps with decisions and iteration. They select a technology type or application best suited to implement the algorithm which they are familiar with and to which they have access.

Students may choose:

  • to create a computer program such as Scratch to automate tasks involving interconnected devices, for example, a virtual assistant to control smart devices, such as in-home automation
  • to program a robot to perform automated tasks; this may involve writing code to plan a pathway and navigate its environment, or more complex programming to control motors, sensors and other components of the robot
  • to use a micro-controller such as a micro:bit, the solution may incorporate sensors to sense their environment to automate a task.

Content descriptions

Define problems with given or co-developed design criteria and by creating user stories AC9TDI6P01

Design a user interface for a digital system AC9TDI6P03

Generate, modify, communicate and evaluate designs AC9TDI6P04

Evaluate existing and student solutions against the design criteria and user stories and their broader community impact AC9TDI6P06

Design algorithms involving multiple alternatives (branching) and iteration AC9TDI6P02

Implement algorithms as visual programs involving control structures, variables and input AC9TDI6P05

This sequence enables students to:

  • design a project that uses inputs and outputs on a controllable physical or virtual device
  • follow the design process (empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test)
  • use if/then statements to compare a variable to a value
  • create computer programs that use inputs and outputs on a controllable device.

Supplementary information

The technology type chosen for this unit will depend on resources available and students’ familiarity with the technology. Suggested lessons often focus on a particular technology type. It may be possible to apply the approach to a similar application focusing on the key concepts being presented and substitute a technology to which students have access.

A sensor is a device that senses and reacts to some type of input from the physical environment. Types of input include heat, light, moisture, motion, pressure or any other environmental phenomenon. The result is typically a signal that is either translated to a human-readable display at the sensor location or sent electronically over a network for reading or further processing.

Resources to include

Resources to introduce

Resources to develop and consolidate learning

Resources to apply and extend learning

Further reading and professional learning