Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students investigate the types and quantities of organic waste produced by the school, how the school deals with this waste and how well it is dealing with this waste.

Learning goals:

  • Students learn that organic waste is made up of food scraps and garden waste.
  • Students understand that instead of placing it in bins or skips that will be emptied in a landfill, there are several alternative ways of disposing of this organic waste: 1. Onsite methods such as composted, worm composted, fed to chickens, chipped and used as mulch; and 2. Removed from the school for treatment elsewhere, such as council composting facility.
  • Students learn that organic waste can make up as much as half total waste produced by a school, so by disposing of it correctly, by composting, mulching or feeding it to chickens, a school can halve its waste to landfill.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 5 Science

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (ACSSU043)
  • Scientific knowledge is used to inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE217)
  • With guidance, pose questions to clarify practical problems or inform a scientific investigation, and predict what the findings of an investigation might be (ACSIS231)
  • Use equipment and materials safely, identifying potential risks (ACSIS088)

Year 6 Science

  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (ACSSU094)
  • Scientific knowledge is used to inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE220)
  • With guidance, pose questions to clarify practical problems or inform a scientific investigation, and predict what the findings of an investigation might be (ACSIS232)
  • Use equipment and materials safely, identifying potential risks (ACSIS105)

Syllabus OutcomesST3-6PW, ST3-4WS, ST3-10LW, ST3-11LW.

 

Topic: Solid Waste

Time required: several 48 min sessions.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate the activities, supervise outdoor investigations.

Resources required: Writing materials, computer with internet access.

Digital learning opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

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

Safety: Students review the Class Safety Code, especially if they will be working outdoors or around compost bins.

Keywords: Organic waste, school, disposal.

 

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

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation:

Overarching learning goal: Students investigate the types and quantities of organic waste produced by the school, how the school deals with this waste and how well it is dealing with this waste.

Hot tips: Students review the Class Safety Code, especially if they will be working outdoors or around compost bins.

Student and classroom organisation:

Step 1. Begin this activity by explaining to the students that in this activity they will be investigating the types and quantities of organic waste produced by the school, how the school deals with this waste and how well it is dealing with the waste.

Step 2. Discuss with the students what they understand by organic waste and how different types of organic waste are dealt with by your school. Write their ideas on a blackboard or whiteboard. The following questions could help guide the discussion:

  • What is meant by organic waste? (Suggested answer: organic waste is a type of waste that comes from plants or animals,
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Student Worksheet

Worksheet - the A groups:

Details about the organic waste being collected

Your observations

The types of organic material that are being collected (e.g. fruit and vegetable scraps in the compost bucket).

The types that are not accepted (e.g. sandwiches, cakes, meat and dairy).

How the material is collected (e.g. food for the compost bin is collected in small buckets with lids, one in each classroom and one in the staffroom).

How much material is being collected (e.g. we estimated that the bucket in each classroom had approximately 200 grams of food scraps each day, so with 30 classrooms, we estimated that our school produced 6 kgs per day, 30 kgs per week or 1200 kgs per year).

How well the collection system is working – good points and areas that could be improved (e.g. we noticed students appeared to be using the compost buckets, but that some of the fruit in the buckets had not been emptied for some time and was moul

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