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Ministry of Education.
Kaua e rangiruatia te hāpai o te hoe; e kore tō tātou waka e ū ki uta

Technology teaching in a 3-day episode

Teaching inquiry

Given a sizeable block of time and a group of students from different year levels, how might I develop the students’ understanding of technological practice and technological modelling within a local curriculum context?


a student making a floral bouquet

Teacher Belinda Matthews developed and delivered a “3-Day Episode”, consisting of Technology education, creating floral bouquets, and selling the bouquets to raise money for a local hospice. This project provided opportunities for students to:

  • grow in confidence
  • participate in the wider community
  • develop greater understandings of brief development, planning, and functional modelling
  • experience their local technology curriculum in the authentic context of supporting the hospice. 


Twice a year, Alfriston College suspends its regular timetable for what it calls a “3-Day Episode”. For these three days, each student participates in one of a number of activities, projects, or “episodes” on offer. These activities could be, for example, sporting, academic, community, or cultural. Careful, school-wide planning goes into each 3-day episode. The learning focus is typically the key competencies.

3–Day episode blank planning template (Word 2007, 25 KB)



Teacher Belinda Matthews wanted to embed Technology learning in her project. As a volunteer at Totara Hospice in South Auckland, she had noticed appeals for help in the hospice’s newsletter. So she contacted the hospice coordinator to see if there was any way the upcoming 3-day episode could support the hospice. Together, they came up with the idea of students raising funds for the hospice by making floral bouquets and then selling them at local retail outlets.

Episode groups comprise students from different year levels and with a wide range of prior learning in Technology. To help bridge this range, Belinda developed a booklet that explained the basics of brief writing, planning, and technologist practice. She also created a series of cards to focus group discussion and develop understanding of technological practice.

Flower Power: 3–Day episode booklet (Word 2007, 1 MB)

Cards: 3-Day episode (Word, 40 KB)

As part of the project, Belinda planned to use a number of activities from the Technology in Action series. 

With the help of the hospice coordinator, Belinda planned an introduction to the work of the hospice, and for several florists to visit so that the students could gain insight into their work and practice. The bouquets would be made during the afternoon of day 2 and then sold on day 3.

Through her numerous contacts, the coordinator organised the flowers, the three florists, the transport, and the permission for the students to sell bouquets at various shopping malls and petrol stations. 

The Flower Power episode

Thirty-six students opted into the Flower Power episode. They divided themselves into groups of no more than 6.

The three days were structured as follows:

Day 1


Introduction to the work of Totara Hospice

Visiting florist 1

Afternoon Technology teaching, reflection on day

Day 2

Morning Visiting florists 2 and 3
Afternoon Technology teaching, reflection on day

Day 3

All day

Students to retail outlets with bouquets, accompanied by a supervisor (senior student, teacher, or hospice staff).

Return to school at the end of day for project reflection time.

a student's hands weaving flax

Belinda emphasised the importance of delivering for the hospice as the key stakeholder. This meant producing a quality, fit-for-purpose outcome. The attributes of a quality bouquet were discussed prior to and following the visits from the florists.

The florists critiqued the outcomes produced by the students during the practice session and assessed their fitness for purpose. One florist brought a large bunch of flowers with her so that the students could practise assembling larger bouquets.

Much of the discussion took place in groups, with the class coming together to collate and record developing understandings.

The students’ reflections were shared in the form of a wall display.

To encourage the fundraising, it was decided to hold a sales competition, with the winners being the group that sold the most bouquets.


Learning in Technology

three students making floral bouquets

Students learned the attributes of a bouquet and how to make one. They also developed greater understanding of brief development, planning, and functional modelling (including the associated terminology). This could be seen in class discussion and in the students’ booklets. Belinda says:

The cards I created were a great tool for stimulating conversations in groups – there was always one student in the group who was keen to read them out then begin the conversation. I will use this idea in my regular classes.

Belinda Matthews

Growing values and confidence

a student's reflection

The project undoubtedly provided opportunities for the students to develop the values of community and participation. The students were humbled to see the quality of the end-of-life care being provided by the hospice. They also gained confidence in selling the products they had made, raising over $2000 in all. The school received very positive feedback, particularly from one of the service stations where the students went the extra mile and started selling coffee – resulting in the best coffee sales for some time.

In recognition of their fundraising efforts, the students were made “Hospice Angels” and given an appropriate certificate. The hospice shouted the group that sold the most bouquets a pizza lunch.

What next?

The partnership with the hospice was very successful, and both hospice and school profited from the experience. Thinking ahead to the next 3-day episode, Belinda plans to use the opportunity to develop another local curriculum initiative with Totara Hospice South Auckland.

Before each episode, the students meet with the teacher responsible to ensure that everyone understands what is involved. Next time, Belinda will use part of this initial session to introduce some of the relevant Technology learning. She believes this will support the students to develop deeper understanding. 

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