Coffs Harbour Public School Blog

Courtesy & Honour – Principal:Leonie Buehler


Stage 2 Urban Planning Maths Project

Over the last two sessions two community members have been assisting students in the final planning and design aspects of  their group urban planning maths projects. Parent Carmel Gray, from Healing Gardens, in garden & landscape design and Architect Joe Wiegerinck, from Elements Home Design, in technical drawing. Both Joe and Carmel spoke to the students initially and then rotated through each group assisting them in drawing and refining their ideas.  Students were able to see how the skills they were learning had real world implications. A big thank you to Carmel and Joe for sharing their expertise with us 🙂


Urban Planning Maths Project Stage 2


One of the major driving forces for the new syllabus was the need to design a curriculum with explicit inclusion of skills such as critical and creative thinking, ethical behaviour, personal and social competence or intercultural understanding, which prepare students for life and work in a complex technological driven world. Source: The Mathematical Bridge, Issue 1.

Twenty Stage 2 enrichment maths students are taking part in an urban design project with the support of Coffs Harbour City Council Strategic Planning Officer, Grahame Fry. A property zoned for redevelopment in the city centre has been identified and students will be working in groups to develop a proposal, plans and 3D model, using virtual technology, of their own design. Their final model and plans will be submitted to the strategic development department for approval. Students must comply with the council rules for building and today met with Mr Fry and 4th year UNE planning and design student Matt to go through the project criteria/specifics and then walk to the site. The students discovered that the area is prone to flooding, already limited in parking space and has a total land area of 1000 square metres. It also is home to native trees and wildlife. They can build up to the perimeter of the property but then have to consider height restrictions: Front: 0 metres; Sides: 0 metres; Back: 12 m if building is more than 20m high or 5m if building is 20 metres high or less. They also have to consider wheelchair access ramps that comply with the Australian Standards of a 1:14m gradient.

Ramp 1-14


Tactile ground surface indicators may also be needed for the visually impaired. The students thoroughly enjoyed the excursion and their retention of information was fantastic. They are looking forward to working together and are also very fortunate to have Saxon’s parents to support them in class. Saxon’s mother is a garden designer so will be providing support with landscaping and garden design whilst his father will be helping students to develop skills in drawing up their plans correctly for submission.

Mrs Booth


Maths Genius Hour Projects


Last Thursday, Mrs Booth’s stage 3 maths group (15 students) presented their ‘Genius Hour’ maths projects. Students’ had to turn a passion of theirs into a project making connections to maths. Students’ had 75 minutes each Thursday to work on their project with support from Mrs Booth. It was expected that time would also be spent on this project at home. They could  build, design, make,film or collect something, for example, and the delivery of their presentation was up to them. The project was challenging for a number of the students as they not only needed to make real world connections with maths but also manage their time well. Students completed reflections each week to help them identify the next step to be completed and where they were wasting their time most.The project topics presented were NRL (popular), cricket second test, Lego statistics, Minecraft maths challenge, how far Mario could jump in real life, artistic gymnastics and angles, fractions and the violin, general mathematics in games design, the impact of polygons, velocity and mass in console game design and finally Formula 1. Two students, who had worked extremely hard during the sessions, were unable to present and will be doing so in week 1 of term 2. Their topics were building a billy cart and cubby house…I cannot wait to see their presentations!

All students did very well and everyone asked if they could do another project next term 🙂 This project was fantastic for allowing the students to work mathematically to synthesise and apply their maths knowledge in meaningful ways. They took ownership of their work and developed additional skills that will assist them to be productive learners in high school.

Here is a video from two of the presentations and Miranda takes us through the different fractions (notes) during the lunchtime Minecraft club session 🙂

Mrs Booth


3D Rocket Building

Students in 3M and 3-O again worked with virtual world technology during their maths session today. This time their challenge was to flip and rotate 3D objects to create a rocket ship. This was very difficult as they also had to learn how to ‘snap objects to the grid’ in order to align their objects with greater precision. I did not expect any students to complete this task as this was only the second or third time they had been exposed to this technology. Wow, was I proved wrong as a number of students did complete the task with amazing precision. Excellent work everyone 🙂


Stage 2 Three-Dimensional Space 1

Year 3 students, using virtual technology,  investigated, manipulated, transformed and even translated solid geometrical objects such as a cube, cylinder, pyramid, sphere, cone and triangular prism in their maths session today. Students used the  hollowed , cut paths, twisted, sheared tools whilst also learning to use the camera controls to help give them perspective when creating their objects  – the camera assisted with top view, side view and front view.

MA2-14MG makes, compares, sketches and names three-dimensional objects, including prisms, pyramids, cylinders, cones and spheres, and describes their features
Make models of three-dimensional objects and describe key features (ACMMG063)

  • identify and name three-dimensional objects as prisms (including cubes), pyramids, cylinders, cones and spheres
  • recognise and describe the use of three-dimensional objects in a variety of contexts, eg buildings, packaging (Communicating)
  • describe and compare curved surfaces and flat surfaces of cylinders, cones and spheres, and faces, edges and vertices of prisms (including cubes) and pyramids
  • describe similarities and differences between prisms (including cubes), pyramids, cylinders, cones and spheres (Communicating)

Students should be able to communicate using the following language: object, two-dimensional shape (2D shape), three-dimensional object (3D object), cone, cube, cylinder, prism, pyramid, sphere, surface, flat surface, curved surface, face, edge, vertex (vertices), net.

In geometry, the term ‘face’ refers to a flat surface with only straight edges, as in prisms and pyramids, eg a cube has six faces. Curved surfaces, such as those found in cylinders, cones and spheres, are not classified as ‘faces’. Similarly, flat surfaces with curved boundaries, such as the circular surfaces of cylinders and cones, are not ‘faces’.

The term ‘shape’ refers to a two-dimensional figure. The term ‘object’ refers to a three-dimensional figure.

K-10 Stage 2 Measurement and Geometry



Grade 3 Virtual Maths

The Framing Paper Consultation Report: Mathematics (ACARA, 2009, p. 9) states that “new and emerging technologies provide not just new tools for doing mathematics but also new possibilities for pedagogical approaches.”

Both 3M and 3-O are using our virtual world technology Sim-on-a-Stick to complete mathematical tasks based on the NSW maths syllabus substrands of Data, Measurement, Space and Geometry. Each week student groups complete tasks relating to these outcomes using a combination of both the virtual space and their work books. All grade 3 students will have access to this program and already they are extremely engaged as they navigate the tools and space. This technology encourages problem based learning and is inherently mathematical but by creating virtual workstations the tasks become more explicit in nature. Also, by having small groups the students should develop a deeper understanding of the more abstract concepts. Within 30 minutes of using the program students from 3M & 3-O were sharing their newly acquired knowledge with other students in their group and this was wonderful to see. Lots of learning happening though they thought “the game” was hard but great fun!


Afghanistan Project Virtual Building

Today students moved on to building their schools as all plans have been approved against the UNICEF child friendly schools criteria. All students bar one are using Sim-on-a-Stick virtual technology and the other student is building his model straight off his plans with the assistance of Yarrob. It was fantastic to see all the students bringing their projects to life and for many this is the first time they are using this technology which can be quite demanding. Luckily they are all very quick learners and also have an expert, Wakjira, who is wonderful in sharing his knowledge as he has been building with Sim-on-a-Stick for the past 15 months.

Great work everyone.

Mrs Booth, Mrs Newton and Yarrob


UNICEF School Project

The video of the Maria Grazia Primary School, short-listed for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, in Afghanistan served as inspiration for the initial school designs by our enrichment group of EAL/D (English as an Additional Language or Dialect) students. Using the UNICEF Child Friendly Schools Manual building criteria many of the student group had their plans approved today and are now able to start building their models using Sim-on-a-Stick, a stand alone virtual world on a USB that we use at our school. All plans have been drawn to scale and the students have  excelled with this project.The building criteria they had to meet was:

  • Structure is stable and built from local resources
  • Administrative office
  • Safe water
  • Hygiene facilities
  • Toilets
  • Light and free from glare, dust, noise and odour
  • Colour natural and reflecting culture of country
  • Power (electric or alternative)
  • Evacuation area
  • First-aid area/bay
  • Library
  • Landscaping

Next week we will be with Ms Mulrooney’s class as we Skype with Mia Cox from UNICEF Australia. The students will be sharing their work with her and talking about the project whilst also learning about the amazing work UNICEF does around the world 🙂


UNICEF School Design Project Week 3

Article 28: (Right to education): All children have the right to a primary education, which should be free. Wealthy countries should help poorer countries achieve this right. Discipline in schools should respect children’s dignity. For children to benefit from education, schools must be run in an orderly way – without the use of violence. Any form of school discipline should take into account the child’s human dignity. Therefore, governments must ensure that school administrators review their discipline policies and eliminate any discipline practices involving physical or mental violence, abuse or neglect. The Convention places a high value on education. Young people should be encouraged to reach the highest level of education of which they are capable. UNICEF CRC

This week students transferred their rough draft plans of their school in Afghanistan to scale on large graph paper. This was hard initially as the students needed to develop the correct scale measurements on paper with 5mm grids. They soon grasped the concept and were working brilliantly transforming their drafts using  technical drawing skills to final two-dimensional representations ready for building. They started to use architectural graphic symbols as they added to their drawings. Placement of paths and widths of  windows, doors, walkways, needed to be calculated, all classrooms were 8m x 11m, and it was decided that the school student population not exceed 60 students with 15 students per classroom. Another consideration was how big the soccer fields would be and how to draw them to scale. Again, using great problem solving skills the relevant students solved the problem and proceeded to add playing fields to their plans.

UNICEF Australia has contacted the group and we will be organising a Skyping session with one of their new UNICEF Young Ambassadors. This will be a wonderful experience for our students as they get to speak first hand with an ambassador about the fantastic work UNICEF does to advocate for the rights of the child.

Mrs Booth, Mrs Newton & Yarob 🙂


Afghanistan School Design Project

Quality education is education that works for every child and enables all children to achieve their full potential. UNICEF

Today architect,  Joe Wiegerinck from Creative Innovation Architects, came to our school to work with an enrichment group of students who are designing a school for a community in Afghanistan based on the UNICEF Child Friendly Schools Design Manual criteria. Joe firstly helped the students to identify five key areas for consideration before beginning to design any building.

They are:

  1. Site – Is it a remote location? Is it a safe place? Does it slope? Does it have a view? What infrastructure is nearby?
  2. Who? – Who are we building for? What age group?
  3. Culture – What beliefs and cultural implications need to be considered?
  4. Materials – What local materials are available? Timber, stone or mud?
  5. Needs? – What do we want this structure to give the owners? What are their needs/purpose of the building? i.e. classrooms, kitchen, toilets…

Students were then taken through the rough planning stage as they decided on classrooms, administration buildings, gardens, prayer facilities and a soccer field for example. After this Joe showed the students how to create a scale plan that included doors, windows and furniture. Next week we will finish our rough plans and commence transforming those plans to scale on large sheets of graph paper. Afghan students from Coffs Harbour High School will be joining the group in week four to select a location for the individual school designs. The students will need to create justifications for their projects before they are able to begin building their models using virtual 3D technology or concrete materials.

This is a wonderfully rich and very rewarding project and I think Mrs Newton, Mrs Booth and Yarob are enjoying it as much as the children!  Many thanks again to Joe for taking the time to visit our school and teach our students about some of the design principles an architect uses 🙂

Mrs Booth, Mrs Newton and Yarob

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