Gifted and talented students Illustrations of practice

Meeting future energy needs


A teacher of Year 8 science, who is also the sustainability co-ordinator, ensures all students are engaged, supported and challenged during a practical investigation into the transference and transformation of energy. He draws from the cross-curriculum priority of sustainability to provide an authentic context to the science content; in this instance building wind turbines. Through group work and peer support he is able to provide different entry points to the task according to the learning needs of his students. For some groups, the aim of the lesson is to build a wind turbine to demonstrate their understanding of transferring wind energy into electrical energy. For other groups, there is a greater focus relating to issues of sustainability where they have to improve the efficiency of an existing turbine and give consideration to the economic, social and environmental impacts of other sources of renewable energy.

Learning area


Year level

Year 8

Content description

Energy appears in different forms including movement (kinetic energy), heat and potential energy, and causes change within systems (ACSSU155)
Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (ACSHE135)
Construct and use a range of representations, including graphs, keys and models to represent and analyse patterns or relationships, including using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS144)

Cross-curriculum priority

Sustainability / Designing action for sustainability requires an evaluation of past practices, the assessment of scientific and technological developments, and balanced judgements based on projected future economic, social and environmental impacts

Teacher intention

To develop his students’ understanding of transference of wind energy into electrical energy, and to encourage them to think about real life applications for a more sustainable future.

Personalised learning

Plan from age-equivalent learning area content:
The teacher plans from Year 8 science content to develop a teaching and learning program about the transference and transformation of energy. 

Use the general capabilities and/or cross-curriculum priorities to adjust the learning focus and to personalise the learning
The teacher draws from the priority of sustainability to not only provide an authentic context (renewable energy and wind farms) to the science content (transference and transformation of energy) but also as a way to challenge students’ thinking about the economic, social and environmental impacts of other sources of renewable energy.


1. How do students benefit from working in mixed ability groups?

2. What are the challenges of mixed ability groups?

3. What alternatives to a written report could you give your students that would still allow them to demonstrate their science knowledge and understanding?

Standard 1

Know students and how they learn

Focus area 1.5

Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities

Standard 3

Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning

Standard 4

Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments

Focus area 4.1

Support student participation

St Mary MacKillop College (Wanniassa Campus)
Wanniassa ACT Australia

School type


School sector


School location


School description

St Mary MacKillop College is a co-educational catholic school for years 7-12 students located in the Tuggeranong Valley.


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