Presenting Australia's new icebreaker


In this learning sequence, students prepare informative presentations about Australia’s new Antarctic icebreaker. The presentations might be digital, video, aural, dramatic or oral. Students determine the criteria of effective presentations and use these when preparing their own presentations and reflecting on the work of others. Students use the Australian Antarctic Division’s website to research the new vessel and compare it with the Aurora Australis. They undertake a process of storyboarding, scripting and refining their presentations before delivering them to their classmates.

Setting the scene: What makes a good presentation?

View a selection of news clips from a reliable online source such as ABC News as well as a less reliable source. If possible, find examples in which the quality of the journalism varies. Prompt class members to identify elements that the news producers have used to make the stories interesting, e.g. action video, interviews, file footage, photographs, commentary, graphics such as charts and tables, and humour. Can students find examples where the quality of the journalism has been compromised to make a story interesting?

Invite two or three students to make impromptu presentations about a topic they are familiar with, e.g. school, a performer, a television program. Acknowledging that the students were given no time for preparation, ask class members to suggest things that might have made each presentation more interesting. List their suggestions, which might include photos, graphics, video, music and sound effects.

Discuss the differences between presentations that are designed to entertain, inform and persuade. What are some of the features of each? Prompt students to take particular note of the characteristics of informative reporting.

Explore and research: Australia’s new icebreaker

Inform students that they are going to prepare an informative presentation about Australia’s new icebreaker. They can work on their own, in pairs or small groups and will make their presentations to the class. Make sure the students know how long they have to prepare; four weeks is a minimum amount of time.

In order to learn about travel to Antarctica, students will research the icebreaker Aurora Australis, which has been in service since 1989. They can then investigate Australia’s new icebreaker, using the Capability, Specifications and News links. What information is most relevant? What features of the vessel are most striking? What makes the new icebreaker better suited to Antarctic travel than the Aurora Australis?

Explain and share: Planning a presentation

It is important that students not only consider the format of their presentations, but also the perspective and tone in which they are presented. For example, students might choose to prepare their presentation as if they were scientists about to embark on an Antarctic journey, or as crew members who appreciate the sophisticated technology and comfort of the new vessel. Do they want their presentation to be formal, casual or humorous? How might they dress? What tone of voice will they use?

Students determine the format of their presentations. Options include:

  • digital presentations, e.g. PowerPoint, Keynote
  • videos, e.g. news clips
  • audio recordings, e.g. radio programs
  • slide shows
  • oral presentations
  • dramatic presentations, e.g. being a tour guide

Students identify the resources they will need to prepare and deliver their presentation. These might include:

  • digital cameras or smart phones
  • computers and mobile devices
  • costumes and sets
  • data projectors and screens
  • video and/or audio software
  • microphones
  • useful adaptors and leads to connect digital hardware

Students can also determine criteria used to assess each presentation. Examples include:

  • quantity and relevance of information to include
  • clarity and organisation of content
  • technical competence (if the presentation uses video, audio and/or digital elements)
  • vocal expression and clarity
  • duration
  • audience engagement

Elaborate and apply: Creating the presentation

During this stage, students draft, rehearse and refine their presentations. They prepare scripts and/or storyboards. A storyboard indicates what will be featured at each stage of the presentation, e.g. images, text, audio files (including music), video files, graphics. Storyboarding and scripting are time-consuming procedures and it is important that students have time to discuss and review their decisions.

Students should be reminded to acknowledge sources of all third party images, audio files, graphs and quotes, and not to plagiarise work from the Australian Antarctic Division or other sources.

Evaluate: Delivering the presentations

Students deliver their presentations to the class. If possible, it would be helpful to film each presentation and retain copies of all digital files.

The class use their agreed criteria to identify the strengths of each presentation. If appropriate, it might be beneficial to include one or two examples of constructive criticism, beginning with a statement such as, ‘It might be helpful if you…’ or ‘Perhaps you could consider…’.

Students could consider delivering one or two presentations to a larger audience such as a year level or school assembly.

Assessment ideas

Along with assessments made after each presentation, it is useful to observe students’ progress in preparing their presentations. Things to look out for include:

  • willingness to refine presentations
  • ability to work co-operatively in pairs or small groups
  • attention to accuracy
  • willingness to create engaging presentations.