Classroom resources for the new school year
Are you looking for free and engaging educational resources to use in your classroom? Look no further!
As students and teachers head back to school, why not use our free educational resources in your lessons? At Futurum, we work with researchers and academics from all disciplines to create classroom resources for schools. Each article explains the researcher’s work in a clear and engaging way and provides advice for students interested in pursuing a career in the field. All articles are accompanied by an activity sheet to assist with lesson planning. The activity sheets contain talking points based on Bloom’s taxonomy to encourage students to discuss, analyse and evaluate the research project, and practical, hands-on activities that can be done in the classroom. Some resources also include animations, podcasts, PowerPoints and translations.
Whatever subject you teach, we are sure to have resources for you!
Applied Mathematics – Maths is all around us, from weather forecasting, engineering and finance, to modelling the spread of diseases. Students can discover how Professor Anotida Madzvamuse applies maths to address real-world challenges.
Statistics – Professors Sumithra and Jay Mandrekar were both drawn to a career in biostatistics as the discipline takes mathematics, which can seem like a theory-based subject, and applies it to find exciting and impactful solutions for real-world problems. Students are introduced to the range of ways in which statistical skills are improving healthcare.
Geometry – Dr Sam Ballas is studying the geometry of surfaces. Students can explore whether a sphere is a 2D or 3D shape and learn how, to a topologist, a coffee cup is the same shape as a donut!
Discrete mathematics – Despite being a relatively simple puzzle that is commonly found in children’s toy shops, the Tower of Hanoi demonstrates some complex mathematical theories. Professor Dan Romik is uncovering the mathematical surprises hidden in this brain teaser. Can your students solve the Tower of Hanoi?
Mathematical methods – Dr James Tanton is the founder of the Global Math Project, a worldwide movement of teachers committed to inspiring a love of mathematics in students. Introduce your students to the ‘exploding dots’ technique that can be used to solve any mathematical problem.
Literature – Professor Katherine Bode is exploring the history of Australian literature by studying fictional stories published in 19th and 20th century newspapers. Students can explore the database of Australian newspaper fiction to examine how Australian culture was portrayed in literature.
Journalism – As a political scientist, Dr Svitlana Chernykh is studying post-election protests. In this activity, students are challenged to write a news report as a journalist in a fictitious country that is experiencing protests.
Storytelling – Indigenous communities use stories to pass on knowledge about their environment. Dr Judi Brown Clarke and Dr Wendy K’ah Skaahluwaa Todd want this traditional knowledge to be incorporated into all aspects of education. Students explore what they can learn from traditional stories and write their own stories to educate others about their local environment.
Poetry – Professor Will May helped establish the Poetry Ambassadors scheme, allowing aspiring young poets to be mentored by experienced poets. Students are introduced to poets in the scheme and encouraged to read and analyse their poetry. They can also have a go at writing poems of their own.
Linguistics – Professor Lisa Green is studying variations in dialects of African American English. Students are encouraged to interview their classmates to explore variations in spoken language.
Cells – A heathy adult produces billions of new blood cells every day, but problems with this process can lead to blood cancer, so Dr Kristina Ames is investigating why blood production problems occur. Students are tasked with observing cells under a microscope to examine cell structure.
Genetics – Professor James Lupski contributed to the scientific work behind the first human whole genome sequencing and was one of the first people to have his own genome sequenced. Students are introduced to the remarkable story of how James uncovered the cause of his own genetic condition and are asked to consider the ethical implications of genome sequencing.
Plants – Dr Bill Rolling and Dr Jenyne Loarca are studying how plant genetics and environmental factors influence carrot germination and growth. Students are tasked with devising their own germination and growth experiment to explore how environmental conditions affect plant phenotypes.
Ecology – Forests are having to adapt due to climate change, and Associate Professor Craig Nitschke is investigating how this is altering forest ecology. Students are tasked with exploring simulation and statistical modelling, a key technique used by ecologists to predict species distribution.
Palaeontology – Dr Davide Foffa is using modern technology to study ancient fossils, enabling him to uncover the anatomy and evolution of extinct reptiles. Students can explore a 3D digital reconstruction of Davide’s fossil and examine the causes and evolutionary consequences of mass extinction events.
Atmospheric chemistry – When we invent new chemicals, Dr Tran Nguyen studies how they react in the atmosphere and what this might mean for air pollution, acid rain and climate change. Students are tasked with investigating causes of air pollution in their local area.
Pollution – Associate Professor Morewell Gasseller is monitoring air pollution by encouraging students and community members to engage with this environmental health issue. In the activity, students can make and deploy their own simple air pollution monitors to investigate local air quality.
Catalysts – Enzymes are the catalysts of life, and Professor Judith Klinman is investigating how they accelerate chemical reactions in cells. Students can explore the role of enzymes in everyday reactions, such as bread dough rising and bananas turning brown.
Metals – Dr Alexander Knowles is searching for metals that can withstand the extreme temperatures inside nuclear fusion reactors. Students learn how is he is developing new alloys and investigate the applications of these for generating nuclear power.
Chemical reactions – Professor Irving Epstein is investigating oscillating chemical reactions. Students can conduct their own experiments to demonstrate linear and nonlinear chemical reactions, by creating red cabbage pH indicators and mixing ink with water.
Quantum physics – Associate Professor Jacquiline Romero is investigating quantum entanglement by experimenting with photons. Students are encouraged to research topics that have won the Nobel Prize for Physics.
Nanoscience – This article introduces students to the range of work being conducted by scientists at the Center for NanoScience, from creating molecules that can deliver drugs to specific targets in the body, to improving the efficiency of solar cells. Students are tasked with conducting an experiment to explore how the nanoscale properties of carbon influence its physical characteristics.
Space – Students can learn how Professor Snežana Stanimirović is using state-of-the-art telescopes to uncover star formation, then explore the stages in the lifecycle of a star.
Matter – Dr Akhshay Bhadwal and Dr Joseph Cousins are investigating the physical properties of the liquid crystals found in phone and computer screens. Students can conduct a creative or quantitative experiment to explore the effects of viscosity.
Atomic structure – Students can learn how Dr Daniel Pitonyak is uncovering the secrets of the atomic nucleus, then explore the applications of nuclear physics.
Geographical information systems (GIS) – This article introduces students to a wide range of people who use GIS in their jobs, then students can learn how to use GIS software to visually display data with maps.
Geology – Not all students can participate in fieldwork, so Professor Terry Pavlis and Professor Laura Serpa have created virtual 3D models to make the benefits of geology fieldwork accessible to everyone. Your students can take part in a virtual field trip from the comfort of the classroom by exploring geological features in 3D digital models.
Volcanoes – Dr Michael Eddy is investigating how to predict when and where the most violent eruptions might occur. As well as investigating the different types of volcanic eruption, students explore how volcanoes are connected to cultures.
Earthquakes – Dr Paula Koelemeijer uses earthquakes to study the structures of the deep Earth. Students are challenged to build their own seismometer to detect ground movements.
Flooding – Professor João Porto de Albuquerque is engaging communities in Brazil to help them better predict and prepare for flooding events. As well as creating their own rain gauge to monitor rainfall, students are tasked with developing their GIS skills by mapping their neighbourhood.
Migration – Although migration is a commonly-discussed topic, most people do not migrate, even if they could. Dr Daniel Robins is researching why people stay, and students can conduct their own research project into their peers’ sense of belonging.
Urbanisation – Dr Josephine Malonza and Dr Shilpi Roy are investigating how cities can grow sustainably to ensure all citizens have access to basic infrastructure. Using Google Earth, students can visually explore how urban areas have expanded in recent decades.
Economic geography – Professor Sarah Hall is studying the effects of Brexit on financial services. After learning how economic geographers conduct research, students can design their own board game based on concepts of economic geography.
Changes in public opinion – Not only does Professor Michael Rosenfeld study how attitudes to gay rights have changed over the past 50 years, but by using his social science research, he also played an important role in achieving marriage equality in the US. Students are encouraged to analyse data from the US General Social Survey to explore how public opinions on different topics have changed.
Women’s suffrage – Dr Mona Morgan-Collins is investigating the history of women’s suffrage and what it can teach us about women in politics today. Students can explore the power of electoral systems and consider why women are still underrepresented in top government positions.
Tudors – Professor Anthony Musson and Dr John Cooper are investigating what happened when Henry VIII went on tour around England. After researching the houses where Henry stayed, students are tasked with writing instructions for the household to prepare them for Henry’s arrival.
Early civilisations – By conducting archaeological excavations in Jordan, Dr Lisa Maher and Dr Danielle Macdonald are investigating what human societies were like 20,000 years ago. Students can consider what clues different artefacts provide.
Religion, Philosophy and Ethics
World religions – Dr Emma Wild-Wood is studying how faith informed responses to COVID-19 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Students can explore how the World Health Organization engages religious leaders and faith communities during public health emergencies.
Minority religions – Professor Erica Baffelli is exploring how minority religions in Japan are perceived and portrayed, and what this means for their followers. Students learn how followers of minority religions can be both marginalised and empowered in society.
Philosophy – Professor Thomas Schramme is developing a philosophical theory to explain the connection between empathy and interpersonal understanding. Students can reflect on their own empathetic abilities and explore how they can become better at understanding the viewpoints of others.
Human rights – Professor Todd Landman is promoting human rights in order to end modern slavery. After learning why human rights are important for all of us and uncovering unethical situations in which these rights are abused, students can explore where their own everyday items were made and research the working and living conditions for the people who made them.
Music technology – As music provides an opportunity for us to express ourselves and connect with others, losing the ability to engage with music can have devastating consequences. Dr Jennifer MacRitchie, Dr Justin Christensen and Jon Pigrem are developing digital musical instruments that enable people living with dementia to have meaningful musical experiences. Can your students design and create an accessible musical instrument or piece of music technology?
Music genres – What exactly is the heaviness in heavy metal music? That is what Dr Jan Herbst and Dr Mark Mynett are investigating. Your students can get involved in Jan and Mark’s project by mixing the song they created to explore concepts of heaviness.
Art and Design
Art history – Dr Harriet Atkinson is investigating how art and design were used in propaganda during World War II, and how this influenced the attitudes of society. Students can then research how art influenced public opinion during the Cold War.
Design – How do fonts communicate messages? After learning how Dr Keith Murphy is exploring the role fonts play in written and visual communication, students are tasked with designing their own font to promote a business of their choice.
Internet safety – Dr Gang Wang and Jaron Mink are investigating how we interact with artificially generated content and how to protect us from its harmful effects, and they encourage students to evaluate their own online security.
Software engineering – As we become ever-more reliant on computers in our daily lives, ensuring software is accessible for all of society is a top priority, which is why the Human-Centric Software Engineering Lab is developing software that can be used by everyone. In this activity, students create personas to explore the challenges different users face when interacting with software, then design an app that overcomes these.
A student’s academic identity plays a key role in their education and students with low self-confidence in their abilities are more likely to struggle in school. To address this, Dr Cheryl Talley is providing students with the skills and confidence they need to succeed.