iSTEM Elective Module 5 Aerodynamics – Module Overview


The Aerodynamics module is an elective of the iSTEM course. For the 200 hour iSTEM course, students must complete 150 hours of electivities over the two years and 50 hours of the core. Each iSTEM elective, including Aerodynamics, represent 25 hours of indicative study and therefore students must complete 6 electives over the two years. Schools are encouraged to take a ‘Unit of Work’ approach and combine electives and core units to make the most out of Project, Problem and Inquiry Based learning approaches.

In the Aerodynamics elective schools are encouraged to select one or more related areas as a theme for an introduction to the engineering concepts related to aerodynamics. Possible examples include: Aeronautics, Aeronautical Velocity Challenge, F1inSchools program, CO2 dragsters, Scalextric cars, Bottle Rockets, kites, motor racing, sports science, etc. In this module students will utilise inquiry and/or project-based learning strategies to develop solutions to aerodynamic problems.

To complete STEM Fundamentals 1 and 2 you need to complete the following areas of study;


Aerodynamics Sample Unit of Work

Sample Unit of Work 1: Aeronaut (Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence)

Students explore the mathematical, scientific, technological and engineering principles of Aerodynamics and apply STEM Fundamentals in the design of practical projects using an engineering design process. Students develop an understanding of STEM connections of Aerodynamics within the world they live, including related skills, industries and careers.

Students investigate past, current and emerging technologies and design elements through the development of prototypes to simulate the impacts of aerodynamic principles on aesthetics, efficiency and function of engineered rocket, aeroplane and automobile solutions. Students develop inquiry and project based learning skills appropriate to STEM practice through both individual and collaborative tasks using relevant software and hardware to produce engineered solutions.

Students design, produce, evaluate and communicate solutions to aerodynamic problems related to lift, drag, weight and thrust to meet detailed specifications.

Click Sample Unit of Work Buton to find resources to support the Aeronaut Unit of Work

Sample Unit of Work 2: Water Rockets (NSW Education Standards Authority)

This unit of work challenges students to create a water-bottle rocket in order to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning experiences. Students, through a range of design, experimentation and testing procedures, aim to create a rocket then compete against others to see which rocket flies the highest and farthest, and are aesthetically appealing. Throughout the design, development and production phases of the project, students expand their knowledge of STEM and collaboratively develop an engineered solution. Students document their evidence of scientific testing, mathematical problem-solving and design development through the use of digital technologies.


Click Sample Unit of Work Buton to find resources to support the NESA Water Rockets Unit of Work

Sample Unit of Work 3: Aerodynamics Unit of Work (St Philip’s Christian College)

The following Unit of Work was developed by Mr Dave Bonzo from St Philip’s Christian College Newcastle. Aerodynamics is a 10 week unit of work to support the Aerodynamics iSTEM elective. It has been designed to meet the localised needs of St Philips Christian College. The Unit of Work document is available below. Students are introduced to a range of aerodynamic concepts and encouraged to undertake inquiry-based learning practical activities to experiment with, and formulate conclusions about, aerodynamic engineering principles.


Click Sample Unit of Work Buton to find resources to support the St Philip’s Christian College Aerodynamics Unit of Work

The iSTEM Process

The iSTEM Process 8 Cog

The iSTEM process  was developed by the Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence (CASE) as part of the STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) program. It provides consistent language across K-12 schools based on an industry-recognised engineering design process and scaffolds the understanding and application of design thinking.

The SISP program is developing teaching and learning units to embed the iSTEM process into the curriculum. There are different versions of the iSTEM process that vary in the number of cogs. The purpose of the different versions is to allow for the process to be adapted to different stages and to different types of problem solving activities. Teachers are encouraged to adapt the iSTEM process to various aspects of their teaching of STEM


A series of poster designs are available for display and can be found by clicking on the button below.

Activity cards and resources are also available to embed design thinking in your classroom. The iSTEM process has been designed to assist in the learning and teaching of STEM from K – 12. It is recommended that the iSTEM process be taught as part of the STEM Fundamentals Unit and reinforced throughout the electives. Embedding the iSTEM process within teaching pedagogy and learning opportunities, allows for student engagement and positive culture for consistent, ongoing learning and improvement, at a variety of levels from Early Stage 1 through to the Secondary stages.