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John Monash Science School


A bespoke program, co-developed with JMSS, designed in Lockdown and reinvigorated for learning, pitching and succeeding in a face-to-face educational format.


John Monash Science School (JMSS) is a uniquely modelled Victorian Government funded Secondary School in the Monash precinct. Specialising in sciences, maths and technologies, JMSS has been a partner school and administrator since 2017. Student entry commences at Year 10 and allows students to develop a flair for sciences of their choice via rich study opportunities, allowing students to investigate areas of interest to them deeply. In 2020 during lockdowns, Monash Tech School (MTS) co-designed an online version of Sustainable Cities with JMSS and delivered it online to the Year 10 student cohort.


The project brief asked students to create a plan to revitalise a city in decline, identifying environmental, structural and social issues that contributed to the demise as well as establishing the context for a range of considerations the students have worked on to reverse the city’s fortunes. Teams were selected by peer assessment, with the top 8 teams being voted through to the final Pitch 2 Panel phase.

Whilst the original Sustainable Cities course used either Co-Spaces or Education Minecraft, the return to face-to-face learning in 2022 allowed students to streamline their design choices, and Education Minecraft was the chosen technology platform.

In 2020 - 2021, Pitch 2 Panels were delivered online, requiring students to be technically agile, work together online to develop a prototype, take individual responsibility and present their pitch in an online forum. Students were supported by JMSS Educators and an MTS facilitator, but there was a lot of online troubleshooting for students to manage as teams worked their way through the design thinking stages to the final online product.

With the return to face to face learning, student teams required a new set of skills to deliver their prototype. The current student cohort had spent two years in lockdown, and all were new enrolments to JMSS. They had to form teams, learn how to work together, navigate the design thinking process, and deliver a pitch to industry professionals in a face-to-face environment. After two years of learning in lockdown, coming together in a social and educational setting to present to a panel of industry experts was no small feat.

Students pitched their prototype solution for 5 minutes, providing historical context and including urban renewal prototypes that included sustainable designs, innovative technologies, social infrastructures and financial impacts. Importantly, students were participating in a face-to-face event, which required deep teamwork, highly developed communication skills, accepting and implementing feedback and connecting with professionals who are experts in their field. Industry-specific feedback was provided on teams technical, innovation, enterprise and human solutions to their city in decline.
This was an invaluable experience for students who had spent two years in an isolated, online learning environment. In a face-to-face setting, the enterprise and human skills had equal weight with tech abilities. Teams had to test and communicate their prototype using clear, persuasive and evidence-based communication.

For the first time, the panel of industry professionals included a Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) representative from Monash University’s Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences. It was important for the students to incorporate a range of social policies in their prototype, as the City in decline models had, in part, declined because of poor policies and a lack of responsive and inclusive infrastructure.

Providing the opportunity for HASS feedback and assessment ensured that HASS occupied equal merit with STEM skills and clearly demonstrated that the best design requires technical, innovative and social solutions.

MTS developed a Credly-backed digital badge, which captured the skills required by the top 8 students to reach the Pitch 2 Panel challenge.

MTS also created a digital badge for the industry panellists so that we could better capture their contribution to a community engagement activity.


Karen Freidin
Net Zero Engagement Manager
Buildings & Property
Monash University

Vito Chiodo
Property Director
Schiavello Property

Susie Petris
Sustainability Officer
Monash Council

Associate Professor Megan Farrelly
Interim Head
School of Social Sciences
Monash University


The Sustainable Cities program generated a range of urban city designs that transformed big-thinking ideas into meaningful curriculum outcomes.

The industry panel continues to evolve to reflect Sustainable Cities course content and provide students with relevant, meaningful and industry-specific feedback.

Panellists and students shared their knowledge of sustainable urban design in a research-driven, thoughtful, and professional forum. The passion for sustainable design was palpable, and the skills required to deliver the pitches were electrifying.

We cannot wait for the next instalment of Pitch 2 Panel Sustainable Cities




industry partners


urban renewal prototypes

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