The project you can do with your eyes closed

If you have ever lived with a teenager, you will most likely know they have a very unique relationship with sleep. Dareen Kavanagh at the Sunshine Coast campus recently assigned students a numeracy project with a focus on the effect that sleep quality and quantity have on teenagers. Teachers at the AITC, like Dareen, are always looking for ways to integrate real-world and job readiness skills into lessons and assignments. This project was no exception.

The assignment involved the young people creating and conducting a study in the form of a survey that would investigate how the quality and quantity of sleep affects a teenager’s life. Studies have found that sleep patterns will skew towards later hours during adolescence, meaning many teens will not be ready for bed before 11:00 pm. It has also been found that teenagers will have irregular sleep patterns throughout the week, staying up later and sleeping in on the weekends. This can make getting up early for school or work even more difficult. These findings were used as the basis for the studies. Young people created their own surveys, which they distributed amongst their peers. The surveys were required to contain at least one open-ended question, resulting in qualitative data to be analysed.

The assignment not only gave young people the opportunity to learn how to create a survey and analyse quantitative and qualitative data, it also highlighted both scientific and anecdotal data showing the effects of sleep on teenagers, which can be directly correlated to performance on the job site. As AITC young people progress through the curriculum, they complete stints of up to seven weeks of work experience in industry, and most will graduate with a full-time job. Understanding the importance of sleep on performance is just one of the many work readiness and life-skill development activities and training young people at the AITC receive. With a focus on the effects of sleep quality and quantity on teenagers, the young people were able to use the results to apply to their own lives. The College has a strong focus on creating assignments that are applicable and relatable to young people and the ever-changing future of industry. AITC young people from the Redlands and Gold Coast campuses are currently in the midst of a program entitled First Tradies on Mars, where they have been learning about horticulture in space.