Education students think 'outside the square' with their teaching techniques

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Winter 7-6-2010

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

Publication Place



Education students are thinking ‘outside the square’ with their teaching techniques by creating unique inventions to help children learn about Science and Technology.

150 third year students from The University of Notre Dame Australia's Sydney Campus have been given the task this semester of solving the problems faced by society, today and in the future.

The group have been busy planning, designing and building real live working models which aim to bring awareness to issues such as sun damage, drought, child safety and climate change - creating unique teaching tools for the students.

These models were on display in a vibrant science fair at The Powerhouse Museum recently where primary school students were invited to interact with the inventions and ask questions about the designs.

Unit coordinator, Dr Matthew Etherington, said the program was a great learning exercise for the Notre Dame students and their ‘pupils’.

“Making these models was a great way for our students to think 'outside the square' about their teaching and how their ideas can be transformed into something important and tactile. It was also a unique way of inspiring primary school students to take an interest in Science and Technology,” said Dr Etherington.

Education student David Knight used the project as an opportunity to solve a common literacy and numeracy problem amongst students and adults alike – deciphering between letters and numbers that look the same (alphanumeric recognition).

“I did some research and found that alphanumeric recognition is a problem throughout our community. I took it upon myself to design a child-friendly and tactile model of letters and numbers that have a similar shape, allowing the children to physically recognise, through using the model, how the shapes of these letters or numbers can be similar.

“Students get to physically move wooden models around to create different letters, such as a d and p, and visually learn the difference. I think my invention is a great learning model for primary school students and is a really fun way to teach them alphanumeric recognition,” said David.

Many other varied inventions featured at the Powerhouse Museum Science Fair including; an aqua net to stop children falling in pools, a reflective tennis ball and a wheelchair see-saw for disabled children.

This program supports the ‘design and make’ guidelines located in the NSW Science and Technology K- 6 Syllabus and Support document.

Media contact:

Moira Saunders
02 8204 4407