Student diversity Illustrations of practice

Science - Energy transfer


At St Mary MacKillop College, a Year 8 Science teacher/Sustainability co-ordinator ensured that all students were engaged, supported and challenged during a practical investigation about the transference and transformation of energy and wind turbines. The Sustainability cross-curriculum priority provided an authentic context for the Australian Curriculum Science content.

Through group work and peer support the teacher provided different entry points to the wind turbine task, each appropriate to the learning needs of students. For some groups, the aim of the lesson was to build a wind turbine to demonstrate the transference of wind energy to electrical energy. For other groups, the focus was to improve the efficiency of an existing wind turbine and to consider the economic, social and environmental impact of other sources of renewable energy.

Learning intention

Students work collaboratively to determine how much available wind energy can be converted into electrical energy. Students think about real-life applications towards a more sustainable future.

Prior to the lesson

Students use flow diagrams to illustrate changes between different forms of energy.

During the lesson

Students work in groups to complete one of two tasks:

  • design and test a set of windmill blades to convert available wind energy into electrical energy
  • review the performance of pre-made windmill blades to determine why they may be inefficient, and make suggestions for changes.

Planned adjustments

The following adjustments were used:

  • the teacher moved around the room to observe how each student engaged with the task
  • differentiated tasks promoted higher order thinking
  • questioning strategies encouraged students to think about the implications of their discoveries
  • structured work teams supported student learning
  • peer support engaged students in the learning process.

Dimensions of the Australian Curriculum accessed in this illustration of practice

Learning area content


Element from Achievement Standard

Content Descriptions


Biological Sciences

They identify different forms of energy and describe how energy transfers and transformations cause change in simple systems.

They identify variables to be changed, measured and controlled.

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)

General capabilities

General Capability


Level 1

 Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5

Level 6

Critical and Creative Thinking

Think about thinking







Critical and Creative Thinking

Transfer knowledge into new contexts







Critical and Creative Thinking

Consider alternatives








  1. From your experience, how do students benefit from working in mixed ability groups?
  2. From your experience, what are the challenges of mixed ability groups?
  3. Other than a written report, suggest alternative tasks that can demonstrate student knowledge and understanding of Science.

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