Activity Introduction

Quick summary: The students play a card game to apply their understandings of the 4Rs.

Learning goals:

  • Students recognise that by using the 4Rs, we can all cut the amount of solid waste we produce.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.6.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 3 English

  • Understand that successful cooperation with others depends on shared use of social conventions, including turn-taking patterns, and forms of address that vary according to the degree of formality in social situations (ACELA1476)

Year 3 Science

  • A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat (ACSSU046)
  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE051)

Year 4 Science

  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE062)

Year 4 Geography

  • The use and management of natural resources and waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably (ACHASSK090)

Syllabus OutcomesGE2-3ST2-11LW, ST2-12MWEN2-1A

Topic: Waste

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead discussion on the 4Rs and direct game.

Resources required: Card, scissors, one 4Rs game worksheet for each group. Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet.

Digital learning opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity includes opportunities for homework and extension.

Key words: Waste, 4Rs, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: In this activity, students extend their knowledge of the 4Rs (refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle) by playing a game matching types of waste to the method of waste disposal.

Teacher content information:

  • Refuse – means to not do something in order to cut the waste you will produce. A simple example of this is to not accept a plastic shopping bag from the shop assistant when you have bought only one small item. Another example is to not use aluminium foil to roast potatoes in their jackets in the oven.
  • Reduce – buying and using things more carefully so that you produce less waste overall. For example, if you buy one large box of cereal instead of two small ones, that means you will have less cardboard packaging overall. Packing the right amount of food for your school lunch means that you will have less uneaten food to throw away after lunch.
  • Reuse – to use more than once for the same or a different purpose. For example, a girl might use a
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Student Worksheet

Instructions for the 4Rs game

Step 1. Cut up the sheets along the lines so that there are a total of 32 cards.

Step 2. Spread all the cards face down on the floor or a table, making sure the cards are all mixed up.

Rules for the 4Rs game

  1. If a player picks up two cards that are a matching pair e.g. RECYCLE GLASS and Place a glass bottle in the recycling bin, the player can claim the two cards and place them in their stack. The player can then turn up two more cards and so on until the two cards they turn up are not a matching pair. The next player to their left then has a turn.
  2. Each player takes turns to pick up any two cards, look at them and turn them face down again in the same place
  3. The game continues until there are no further cards left on the floor or table.
  4. The winner is the player that has most number of matching pairs of cards.
  5. It's up to you to work out a fair way to decide which player goes first.

It's time to play!


How else can I use the 4Rs?


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