Modelling the human hand is a 6-week lesson series investigating the structure of the human hand and understanding how this structure enables movement. This lesson is based on the teachers experience in the Teacher Researcher in Partnership program working with a researcher in the Data 61 business unit of CSIRO working with robots and how they move.

Modelling the Human Hand

Ben Rerden, Ambrose Treacy College, Queensland

Nature of the inquiry problem

Students will investigate how to effectively model both the structure and function of a human hand.

Suitable year levels and subject areas

Year 9 Australian Curriculum

Curriculum links


Multi-cellular organisms rely on coordinated and interdependent internal systems to respond to changes to their environment (ACSSU175)

Scientific understanding, including models and theories, is contestable and is refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community (ACSHE157)

Advances in scientific understanding often rely on developments in technology and technological advances are often linked to scientific discoveries (ACSHE158)

Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically (ACSIS164)

Plan, select and use appropriate investigation types, including field work and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data; assess risk and address ethical issues associated with these methods (ACSIS165)

Select and use appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to collect and record data systematically and accurately (ACSIS166)

Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence (ACSIS170)

Evaluate conclusions, including identifying sources of uncertainty and possible alternative explanations, and describe specific ways to improve the quality of the data (ACSIS171)

Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS174)


Investigate and make judgments on how the characteristics and properties of materials are combined with force, motion and energy to create engineered solutions (ACTDEK043)

Investigate and make judgements on how the characteristics and properties of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment can be combined to create designed solutions (ACTDEK046)

Develop, modify and communicate design ideas by applying design thinking, creativity, innovation and enterprise skills of increasing sophistication (ACTDEP049)

Work flexibly to effectively and safely test, select, justify and use appropriate technologies and processes to make designed solutions (ACTDEP050)

Evaluate design ideas, processes and solutions against comprehensive criteria for success recognising the need for sustainability (ACTDEP051)

Develop project plans using digital technologies to plan and manage projects individually and collaboratively taking into consideration time, cost, risk and production processes (ACTDEP052)

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • investigate how different parts of the body work together
  •  identify the parts of the hand and their functions
  • describe forces of the hand
  • recall recent developments in robots and technology
  • construct a prototype
  • apply teamwork skills
  • practice communication skills
  • demonstrate modelling skills
  • develop evaluation skills
Student Learning Outcomes*

At the end of the 4 lessons students will have an appreciation of:

  •  The challenges of how different body parts work together, the forces at play.
  • Understanding of the design, prototype and evaluation process
  • Knowledge of materials, their properties and applications

Work booklet, research (collaborative and individual tasks)

Assessment outcomes

Informal, formative assessment is built into the lessons.

Information and communications technology (ICT)

Embedded videos and web links


© Modelling the Human Hand (created by Ben Rerden) (2018) Copyright owned by Ambrose Treacy College, Queensland. Except as otherwise noted, this work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit

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Modelling the Human Hand [pdf · 1mb]

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