Working Technologically

Technology and Engineering Category


The Years 7-12 Innovations and Engineering Design category is open to all Design and Technology, Industrial Technology, Graphics Technology and Engineering Studies students as well as any NSW student who has created a unique invention or completed an engineering design project .

The K-6 Inventions and Engineering category is open to any young Years K-6 inventor or tinkerer who has come up with a brilliant idea and has built a model or prototype, showing how their idea works.


There are cash prizes for the best entries in each of the age sections at state level.

Each student is awarded a certificate based on their level of attainment of specified criteria given in the scoring rubric for their age and category:

  • Certificate of High Distinction for every student who achieves a level 5 against the rubric.
  • Certificate of Distinction for every student who achieves a level 4 against the rubric.
  • Certificate of Credit for every student who achieves a level 3 against the rubric.
  • Certificate of Commendation for other state-level finalists.
  • Certificates of Participation for every student entry at school level.


In 2021 all Primary and Secondary technology projects must be entered online using the Project Entry Form by midnight Friday 24th of September, 2021.

The project (folio, logbook, photographs and videos of the model and any other supporting material) must all be uploaded via the online entry form.

There will be no physical exhibition or judging of projects.

What should be in my entry?

The following is a checklist that you need to follow when submitting your invention or innovative device:

  1. Photographs or video of your Model or Prototype and any props that help show how your innovation or device works.
  2. Design folio or logbook that documents prior background research and the design process, from brainstorming to final design, through construction to final product, testing and evaluation. The design folio or logbook must also include an acknowledgement of any assistance given. There is no golden formula for the structure of a design folio or logbook but it should include all the sections that are listed in the Primary Inventions and Innovations or the Secondary Innovations and Engineering Design pages.


Since its inception in 2012, winners of our Working Technologically Category awards have gone on to win at both the national and international level.  In the first six years of the Engineering category of the national BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards (BHPBFSEA), 27 of the 54 national finalists came from the Working Technologically category of the STANSW Young Scientist Awards.

In February 2020, two NSW projects took out 1st and 2nd place in the Engineering category of the national 2020 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Fair.  At ISEF 2018, Oliver Nicholls from Barker College took out the top STEM prize for school students in the world. Oliver was awarded the Gordon E. Moore Award for USD $75,000, in recognition of his autonomous robotic window cleaner being the most outstanding and innovative project at the fair and possessing the greatest potential impact for revolutionising its’ particular field of work.

In 2019, James Casey-Brown and Lucy Lake won a 3rd place and 2nd place Engineering award respectively at the BHPFSEA competition. Lucy went on to win a 2nd Place Grand Award at ISEF 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona.

It is also interesting to note that since we commenced the Technology & Engineering category in 2012, seventeen of the thirty-four selected ISEF finalists have designed and built an innovative device or application.


MYDA Promotion

For those who have been teaching Technology for more than 15 years, you should clearly remember the Minister’s Young Designer Awards. Organised by the then, Board of Studies NSW, the Minister’s Young Designer Awards (MYDA) was open to students in Years 7 and 8 from government and non-government schools. The aims of these awards were to encourage students to look at the world around them, to investigate products, systems and environments, and to design a successful solution in an area of interest to them. The challenge offered to Year 7 and 8 students was to develop a project that meets a clearly identified need.

Well, the Innovations and Engineering Design Awards  and the Inventions and Innovations Awards are very similar in their structure and criteria. We are looking for projects where the students have designed and constructed an innovative device or application that is an original application of technology that solves a need or problem. It can be a new or improved device or process that clearly incorporates a technological idea or concept. ICT-based projects in a technological context are also eligible. The innovative device or application is to be presented as a working scaled or full-scaled prototype of an invention or innovative device or application that you design and build, with an accompanying design folio or logbook documenting background research and the design process, from brainstorming to final design, through construction to final product, testing and evaluation.

The significant and welcome difference between these current awards and the old Minister’s Young Designers Awards is that they are open to students in Kindergarten right through to HSC students submitting their major projects in their respective Technology course and hoping to be selected for NESA’s Shape showcase. The other significant difference is that finalists in these awards can go on to represent NSW at the national 2021 BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards and Year 9-12 students can also represent Australia at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair to be in the USA in May 2021 (see Big Picture).

The Benefits of Working Technologically?

Active engagement in the processes of Working Technologically increases a student’s capacity to solve problems and generate ideas in a society driven by rapid technological change,

“When applying the processes of Working Technologically, students actively engage with real world situations and use technology skills, knowledge and understanding to create solutions for themselves and others. They creatively and competently use a range of materials, tools, equipment and techniques to produce solutions relevant to their world.”     Year K-6 Rationale excerpt from Science K–10 (incorporating Science and Technology K–6) Syllabus

The Processes of Working Technologically

The Working Technologically processes adopted in the iTE Innovations and Engineering Design Awards are based on the Designing and Producing K-12 documentation prepared by the NSW Department of Education and Communities and :

  • exploring and defining the task
  • generating and developing ideas
  • producing solutions
  • planning and managing
  • evaluating and testing
  • communicating

These processes are at the centre of learning and teaching in Technology. It is the level of coverage of these processes that determines the quality of an innovative device or application submitted into the Working Technologically category. For further guidance, visit the Club Inventions and Innovations page or the Secondary Innovations and Engineering Design Awards page where these processes are broken down and explained further.