Lesson planning for 2022: Key dates, events and activities

With Term 1 just around the corner in Australia, it’s a great time to start brainstorming events and themes to tie in to your lesson planning for the new school year. We’ve rounded up some of the key dates in each term to help get you started.

Like last year, many global and local events for 2022 are being organised with greater flexibility to accommodate for both online and classroom learning. Whether you’re looking for excursion ideas or online competitions, classroom crafts or discussion guides, there’s a diverse range of events, themes and associated resources to explore below.

Term 1

To kick off the year, the International Mathematical Modelling Challenge opens up registrations for secondary school students on 3 February. Students around the world will be tasked with a real-world mathematical problem to solve in teams over five consecutive days in March.

The 2022 STEM Video Game Challenge, hosted by the ACER Foundation, will open for registrations in Term 1. The annual challenge invites students from Years 5 to 12, mentored by an adult (usually a teacher), to develop a playable video game in teams of up to four. The theme for 2022 is ‘Networks’. Head to the website to access a range of teaching resources and keep an eye out for announcements on key dates. You can read up on the 2021 winners here.

Onto sport, and the Winter Olympics are set to take place in Beijing this February (4-20), followed by the Winter Paralympics from 4 to 13 March. Both events offer up opportunities for all kinds of learning activities across the curriculum – you could even make it a whole-school celebration.

March is a big month for Term 1.

In addition to the Paralympics, it’s Women’s History Month, where countries across the globe are invited to recognise and celebrate women in history who have contributed to significant developments in STEM and literacy. BBC Teach has put together a range of teaching resources for primary and secondary educators.

On 4 March, schools across Australia jump into action for Clean Up Schools Day, which can inspire students to connect with the broader school community while learning about the impacts of rubbish and pollution on their local environment. Cool Australia, in partnership with Clean Up Australia, offers a range of lesson planning resources and activities for primary and secondary years.

Motortion Films/Shutterstock]

UNESCO’s World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development falls on the same date as Clean Up Schools Day, and celebrates the role of engineering in creating a sustainable world.

Also in March (15-21), Harmony Week celebrates cultural diversity in Australia and acknowledges the importance of fostering respect and belonging to build an inclusive society. Keep an eye out for this year’s theme, which will be announced on the official website – where you can also find early childhood, primary and lower secondary lesson planning ideas across STEM, literacy, art and PE.

Term 2

While we don’t have a date yet, it’s looking likely that Australia will be heading to the polls for the Federal Election between April and mid-May this year. There are a range of related teaching and learning resources available to download on the Australian Parliament’s website. You can also view some of our previous articles for ideas about civics and citizenship lesson activities.

Later in May, we have National Simultaneous Storytime, hosted by the Australian Library and Information Association. Each year, a different book is chosen to be read simultaneously online, in classrooms or at home. Each chosen text ‘explores age-appropriate themes, and addresses key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6,’ the website reads. At 11am on 25 May teachers and students around the country will be enjoying Family Tree, written by Josh Pyke and illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh.

Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock]

Heading into June, the United Nations World Environment Day will be held on 5 June with the theme ‘Only One Earth,’ emphasising the need to live sustainably and in harmony with nature. ‘Teach students about ecosystems, sustainability and the risks of environmental decline so they become the ecosystem stewards of the future,’ the website’s toolkit reads. There are also further links to activities and lesson plans provided by One Tree Planted.

Term 3

As usual, lots of familiar events will be taking place in Term 3, including NAIDOC Week, running from 3 to 10 July. This year’s theme is ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’ Keep an eye on the NAIDOC Week website for 2022’s upcoming teaching guides – but you can already access previous years’ resources for Foundation to Year 10, and helpful classroom guidelines for engaging with NAIDOC content.

August is a great month for STEM-related events, beginning with the National Mathematics Talent Quest. The competition is open to all students in Australia from Foundation to Year 12. Teachers judge their students’ entries in early August and submit the top projects to the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) for judging in late August. Participation pathways and dates are different for each state and territory. You can find more information through the AAMT website.

National Science Week is 13 to 21 August, with this year’s theme ‘Glass: More than meets the eye,’ reflecting 2022 as the UN International Year of Glass. Each year, a themed teacher resource book, poster and information about school grants (all produced with the Australian Science Teachers Association) is made available on the Science Week website. There’s also a tip sheet for hosting your own school events.

Switching now to literacy-related ideas for lesson planning, the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book Week runs from 20 to 26 August, with the 2022 theme ‘Dreaming with eyes open…’ Book Week is followed by Indigenous Literacy Day on 1 September, celebrating Indigenous stories and language with a range of resources and activities for schools and teachers available on the website. And UNESCO’s International Literacy Day is 8 September, acknowledging the importance of literacy as a matter of human rights.

And finally, R U OK? Day on 8 September could be a good way to engage both students and teachers in activities that help to build confidence, motivation and skills in discussing mental health. The website hosts a range of resources for education providers, including activities, videos, tips and discussion guides for both the classroom and the staffroom.

Term 4

Kicking off Term 4 is World Space Week, held between 4 and 10 October. ‘World Space Week is the largest space event in the world and an ideal time for teachers and educators to use space-based activities to excite students about science and technology,’ the website reads. There are many resources for classroom-based STEM activities which can be found on their website.

[Baby starts in the Orion Constellation ©NASA/JPL-Caltech]

Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week, which is likely to run in early November this year with the aim of bringing awareness to the importance of reducing waste, and recycling correctly. Check back to the website later in the year for dates.

The final key event in our 2022 round-up is another major global sports gathering. The Fifa Men’s World Cup will take place from 21 November to 18 December in Qatar. With 32 teams making the finals, there’s plenty to get stuck into on the lesson planning front – not least, the importance of teamwork.

With a colleague, discuss the themes and commemorations occurring this year that you anticipate would fit in well with units you’re teaching. Which of these do you think will be best received by students? Why?