Driving question inspo from the U@Uni Summer School program

The U@Uni Summer School program provides an opportunity for 200 students from low socioeconomic backgrounds in NSW to come on UTS campus to learn and discover alongside UTS students and academics. The program builds 21st century capacities such a collaboration, creativity and innovation through its interactive and hands on activities that are based on real world issues.

Student choice is a key component of the program. Before their arrival students select which program they would like to participate in from the following:

  • Engineering and Information Technology
  • Design
  • Business
  • Science
  • Media and Communications
  • Health

Within each program students select areas of interest to work to solve real life problems. At the end of the two weeks students showcase their work to friends, family, UTS staff and education stakeholders at the annual graduation.

U@Uni Summer School participants view student works at the graduation evening.
U@Uni Summer School participants view student works at the graduation evening.

Driving questions from the program

A driving question sets the context for your program and motivates students to engage with your content area. A driving question should be broad enough to allow for multiple solutions and individual investigations into to a real world issue. A driving question should lend its self to collaboration. Here’s some inspo from our U@Uni Summer School program!

  • How can we create an ecosystem that is self-sustaining and provides a sustainable environment to plant life and other living species?
  • How can we communicate an important science concept in an engaging and interesting way?
  • How can we use science to solve a murder mystery?
  • How can I use physics to protect an egg falling from a building?
  • How do we design and build a lamp that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.
  • How can you transform a simple object such a box into something that represents your ‘favourite place’
  • How can you design clothing that reflects issues important to you?
  • How can we design and create sustainable fashion?
  • How can you personality be representation through visual communications?
  • How can we use stop – animation to retell a classic story
  • How do you manage infection spread?
  • How can we utilize culturally sensitive practice to improve patient care?
  • How can we use communication to improve resuscitation outcomes?
  • How do we use women centered care to improve mother and baby outcomes?
Engineering and Information Technology
  • How can we build an earthquake proof city using limited resources and keeping in mind both design and practicality.
  • How can we build and program robots to make some jobs for humans easier.
  • How can you design an app or game that for educational purposes rather than purely entertainment?
Media and Communications
  • Working in teams, how can we write shoot and edit a short film that tells a story which involves a character changing by overcoming obstacles and/or dealing with conflict.
  • How can we design a news story using digital platforms that provide interesting, accessible and though provoking stories discovered within the summer school program?
  • How can we develop a product that responds to the needs of the community and provides a profit to investors?


By Lisa Aitken, Widening Participation Coordinator at UTS