She Maps mms 2022 webpage banner

This competition wouldn't be possible without the help of our amazing partners!

Western Sydney University logo She Maps partner
Greenline logo she maps partner
She Maps Geonadir logo
The Surveyors Trust QLD logo She Maps partner
Bennett + Bennett logo She Maps partner

Seriously, 'how cool is your school'?

We’d love to know!

Join our Mapping Competition How Cool is Your School’ in 2023 and be in with a chance to win great prizes (no drones required).

  • One school from each QLD, ACT, VIC and NSW will win a She Maps micro drone kit and professional learning package valued at over $3000
  • One student each from year level K – 8 will win a DJI Tello Drone
  • Plus 3 judges prizes!

This competition is supported by the surveying and geospatial industry, and will run for the entire term 2, until 14 July 2023. 

Register today, so you can access all the resources and start mapping out how you can fit this into your teaching next year.

Note: These resources can be used as a classroom resource throughout the year, not just for the Term 2 competition.

Fast facts!

about competition

What is the 'How Cool is Your School' Competition?

This competition is a simple set of lessons where your students use satellite data to map the amount of green shade on your school grounds.

Students will calculate the percentage of shade and create a map that meets cartographic (mapping) conventions. The maps the students create are then entered into the competition.

Who can participate in the competition?

The ‘How Cool is Your School’ competition is open to all students from Kindergarten (Foundation) through to Year 8*.

*the curriculum resources are only mapped to Year 8 but year 9 & 10 students are still welcome to enter the competition and are eligible to win a judges choice prize. 

This opportunity empowers the students to practice their mapping skills (beginner to advanced) and calculate the percentage of green shade available at your school.

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As an educator, why should you register your students to participate in the 'How Cool is My School' Competition?

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It’s a fun way to ensure you cover curriculum content this year including Science, Maths, and geographical skills

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It encompasses the cross-curriculum priority ‘Sustainability’, and helps you incorporate this into your lessons

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It helps your students to become critical and creative thinkers, and sophisticated problem solvers



step 1 mms register


Register your interest and get access to curriculum mapped teacher resources.


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There are three different levels for this activity, based on the ability of your students. 


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Once you understand the requirements, schedule the lesson (s) and begin a real world mapping project with your students.


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Once the students have mapped how much shade is available at your school, upload the completed maps to our competition portal.

How can my students participate?

It’s easy for your students to get involved in the competition.  

Simply register your interest, and we will email in early April the instructional videos and teaching resources for you to understand how to teach the lesson(s). All our teaching resources are aligned to the Australian Curriculum up to Year 8 (but Year 9 & 10 are still welcome to enter the competition).

Share this competition with your colleagues!

What is the Judging Criteria?

Each student should produce a map that meets cartographic (mapping) conventions.

  • Border – shows the map boundary
  • Orientation – a north arrow shows correct direction
  • Legend – explains colours, features, symbols
  • Title – what the map is about
  • Scale – for measuring distance
  • Sources – who owns the data, map creator, date

Beyond this, it is truly an art to making an aesthetically pleasing map. Experiment to see what works for you!

Competition Terms & Conditions – Click Here

Individual Prizes

Win a DJI Tello Drone

We are giving away 12 Tello Drones as part of this competition, valued at $219 each.

Prize Categories

One drone for each age category: Kindergarten / Yr 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 

PLUS three judges prizes

Tello drone She Maps

Whole School Prizes

Two lucky schools in WA have the opportunity to WIN $5,000 in prizes for the whole school, thanks to our amazing partner NGIS.

ngis logo large transparent background She Maps partner

One lucky school in QLD, will have the opportunity to WIN one of Classroom Drone Essentials – Online Together Program. Valued at $2,500 Thanks to our amazing partner, Bennett & Bennett.

Bennett + Bennett logo She Maps partner


Teachers will be able to reward their class with participation and encouragement certificates.

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New Zealand Schools

Due to overwhelming demand, in 2022 we will be awarding one Primary school, and one Secondary school from New Zealand a Tello Drone for their submissions into this competition.  Spread the word!

More Whole School Prizes

She Maps is proud to partner with Greenline in 2022.

Greenline is Australia’s leader in custom made shade structures for schools, councils and sports clubs, is sponsoring an incredible $7,500 in prizes.  We are now able to award, one school in each state – New South Wales,  Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, our  She Maps Classroom Drone Essentials Programs, valued at $2,500 each.  

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Do you have the coolest school in Australia?

Competing against schools across Australia, can your students determine if your school is the coolest school in Australia?  Now that is something to be proud of!

Did you know? 

Increasing summer heat represents a hazard for children. Creating cool outdoor spaces in schools where children can learn and play safely during summer must become standard”. Assoc Prof Sebastian Pfautsch, Western Sydney University, lead author of the School Microclimates Report

Can your students dream up some cool ideas of keeping your school cool?

Extend your students learning and thinking, by getting them to perform a Shade Audit of your school. 

Using the maps the students have already created for the competition, encourage your students to  ascertain the percentage of coverage for each of different types of available shade.

  • Tree Coverage (Natural Shade)
  • Buildings 
  • Hard Surfaces – carpark, driveway, concrete, and asphalt, walking paths
  • Open Spaces –  lawn, garden beds, and open spaces
  • Artificial Shade Coverage – Sails, pergolas, verandahs, and covered decks

In a warming world it is a fundamental requirement to counter the negative impacts of heat on learning by providing heat-smart outdoor learning environments where children thrive”.  Assoc Prof Sebastian Pfautsch, Western Sydney University, lead author of the School Microclimates Report.

She Maps MMS Table tennis outside
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The importance of shade at your school (aka the Science)

In 2021, the ‘How Cool is your School’ competition revealed that a large majority of schools that entered the competition currently have less than 15% available shade. This can make for a hot, uncomfortable learning environment in our Australian climate (excluding when they are in their air-conditioned classrooms of course).

Rising temperatures and the increasing frequency of extreme heat events across NSW and Australia pose significant health and safety risks to children, yet little is known about thermal comfort of students and teachers in Australian schools.” 

Emerging evidence suggests that heat has a negative impact on learning, including lowering “cognitive capacity under thermal stress” and poses “significant health and safety risks to children” says Assoc Prof Sebastian Pfautsch, Western Sydney University, lead author of the Cool Schools Report.

By extending your students (and continuing to practice your mapping skills, we encourage all educators to guide the students to complete a Shade Audit of your school. The students will be empowered to think critically and sustainably about how they can increase the amount of shade available at their school. We want them to lobby for change!

School Microclimates

Summer heat limits outdoor activities and has adverse effects on physical wellbeing of school children and teachers. Based on empirical data collections, this report provides more than 20 practical recommendations on how to reduce the impacts of outdoor heat.


This report summarises current research in health and environmental sciences, planning policy, legislation and standards, sustainability education, and innovative design trends. Its purpose is to inform future research into student thermal comfort and cooling solutions for schools in Western Sydney and NSW.

Guidelines to Shade

A practical guide for shade development in New South Wales. These guidelines can be used by individuals, organisations and local governments wanting to increase availability of quality shade in a range of settings, such as playgrounds, pools, sporting venues, beaches, parks, schools, childcare centres and backyards.

Previous Competition Entries


Australian Geography Association Awards 2022.

“How Cool is your School? is an excellent resources for Primary School students. The resource is well designed and is appropriate for all contexts in that its online offline capabilities ensure all schools can utilise this practical geographic experience. Student work samples generated from the linked competition are of high quality demonstrating the exceptional nature of this resource.”

Dr Susan Caldis
Chairperson of AGTA Board

Presented at the 2022 AGTA Conference, Hobart, Tasmania, September 2022

AGTA 2022 primary resource winner

Meet Your Educator

Dr Karen Joyce holds a PhD in Geographical Sciences and is a leader in remote sensing and spatial mapping. 

She has led numerous programs within Australia and internationally and developed online educational resources for primary, elementary, secondary, and tertiary institutions as well as private industry and government organisations, for the last 10 years.

She is also the co-founder of She Maps – a certified social enterprise building diversity in STEM using drones and geospatial technology, with programs running in 15 countries.

She Maps Karen Joyce

Join our How Cool is Your School? competition in 2023 and be in with a chance to win great prizes.

Try before you buy

Take our resources for a spin and join the thousands of teachers who love our ready-to-teach classroom materials. Try one of our complete units of work for free.

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