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A free systems thinking challenge for children and young people

What is it?

Zoom Out is a systems thinking challenge for your students.

Systems thinking teaches your students to look at a whole system from a broad perspective, rather than view a system as a jumble of its parts. It is an approach to thinking that can help your students predict future outcomes based upon understanding how these part of a system contribute to the whole.

Zoom Out aligns with ACARAs Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Creating with ICT learning continuum.

Who can take part?

Zoom Out is recommended for students in years 2 to 10, but all students can learn about systems!

How long do the activities take?

Depending upon the age of your students, the online activity takes approximately 15 minutes. For younger students (years 2-3) this activity can be completed as a whole class, whilst older students can complete this activity on individual devices.

The offline group activities take one lesson to complete.

How do my students complete the challenge?

Students need to complete only one of the three systems thinking activities before the competition closing date.


  1. ‘s Register your school. It is free and takes less than a minute.
  2. Check your inbox (and junk folder). A Zoom Out information pack will be sent to you. This pack contains all the instructions, materials and forms you need to get started.
  3. Start the Challenge! Choose either the online individual activity or the group activities to work through with your students, or your students can choose their own. 
  4. When your students have completed the Zoom Out Challenge, ask them to complete their Student Record, collect and collate these onto your School’s Challenge Completion Form (provided to you in the information pack) and submit this with your top rated student testimonial, before the Challenge closes at the end of Term 3.

The Challenge Activities

There are three activities to choose from.

The activities are complementary so you may even wish to run all three!

The Challenge activities were created in collaboration and partnership with not-for-profit Grok Academy (formerly Australian Computing Academy and Grok Learning).

When you complete one or all three of the systems thinking activities below you will have completed the Commissioner’s Zoom Out Challenge.

To be sent your personalised certificate be sure to complete your 
Zoom Out Student Record and hand it to your Teacher.
You will also be eligible to win prizes for your school!



Find out more

SYSTEMS ARE EVERYWHERE is an online series of micro-activities demonstrating the key behaviours of systems. Each fun micro-activity takes only minutes to complete and can be worked through at a pace to suit your classroom. This entire activity can be completed during a single lesson. Suitable for students of all ages – younger students will require assistance. You could run through the micro-activities as a whole class.


Find out more

CREATE A SYSTEM is an unplugged activity (no computers or devices required) that teaches students to design and communicate systems with their classmates through a hands-on activity involving all your students that uses balloons or other materials you have to hand. Quick to set up and implement, this activity can be completed in a single lesson or less. Suitable for students of all ages. Includes lesson plan.


Find out more

MAKE A KINDER SYSTEM is a simple unplugged game (no computers or devices required) with complex cooperation and competition strategies. It serves as an introduction to “seeing the whole” system and its effects on individuals, societies, economies and environments. It is best suited to a class of middle-late primary and secondary students and can be completed in a single lesson. Includes lesson plan.

Acknowledgement of Country

We respectfully acknowledge and celebrate the Traditional Owners of the lands throughout South Australia and we pay our respects to their Elders – and to past, present and future generations of their children and young people.

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Systems Thinking