Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this students will investigate how a landfill site works. They begin the activity by experimenting with materials used to aid or prevent water movement through a landfill site. They then build a three dimensional model that will show how a landfill works, how it is constructed, the layers in a landfill, the key structures and features of a landfill, how rubbish is added to a landfill and how it is rehabilitated after the landfill site is full.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand that landfill is a site for burying solid waste.
  • Students recognise that there are different ways of preparing and constructing a landfill site to minimise environmental harm.
  • Students understand that there are a range of environmental and social risks and benefits involved with landfill sites.
  • Students recognise the value in using a 3D model to represent the structure and issues of a landfill site.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 9 Science

  • The values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (ACSHE228)
  • Plan, select and use appropriate investigation methods, 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 systematically and accurately collect and record data (ACSIS166)
  • Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence (ACSIS170)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS174)

Year 10 Science

  • The values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research (ACSHE230)
  • Plan, select and use appropriate investigation methods, including field work and laboratory experimentation, to collect reliable data; assess risk and address ethical issues associated with these methods (ACSIS199)
  • Select and use appropriate equipment, including digital technologies, to systematically and accurately collect and record data (ACSIS200)
  • Use knowledge of scientific concepts to draw conclusions that are consistent with evidence (ACSIS204)
  • Communicate scientific ideas and information for a particular purpose, including constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions and representations (ACSIS208)

Syllabus OutcomesSC5-11PW, SC5-5WS, SC5-6WS, SC5-7WS, SC5-9WS

Topic: Solid waste

Time required: 60 mins plus time for preparing, presenting and assessing presentations.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – oversee activity.

Resources required: Internet access, student worksheet, materials for each activity -

  • Activity 1. For each group: four 250 ml glass beakers, food colouring, water, 100ml measuring cylinder, stop watch, garden soil, sand, clay and gravel.
  • Activity 2. For each group: construction materials (such as timber, cardboard, paper mache, chicken wire, small cardboard boxes and tubes, masking tape) water flow materials (gravel, soil, sand, and clay), straws, paint brushes, paint, scissors and other craft cutting tools, small cars and trucks.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

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

Keywords: Landfill, waste, leaching, leachates, groundwater contamination, methane, greenhouse gases, 3D model.

 

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: In this students will investigate how a landfill site works. They begin the activity by experimenting with materials used to aid or prevent water movement through a landfill site. They then build a three dimensional model that will show how a landfill works, how it is constructed, the layers in a landfill, the key structures and features of a landfill, how rubbish is added to a landfill and how it is rehabilitated after the landfill site is full.

Teacher content information: The disposal of rubbish is a major issue in modern society, yet few people really understand how a landfill works.

  • The following points will give you some indication of the size of the issue:
  • According to the Waste Report 2010, in 2006/07 Australians generated 43,777,000 tonnes of waste, of which 22,707,000 tonnes (52%) were recycled, but 21,069,000 (48%) tonnes went to landfill.  
  • In Australia, the main way of disposing of rubbish is to bury it in landfills. I
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Student Worksheet

What goes on in a landfill site?

Activity 1. Looking at water in landfill

A number of different materials are used in a landfill, each with a different purpose:

  • Sand – often used beneath the top soil and above the clay capping that is used to cover a full landfill site. It allows excess rainwater water to drain away so that it cannot reach the buried layers of rubbish and soil.
  • Clay – is used to cap finished landfills to prevent rainwater getting into rubbish and oil layers and which can increase the amount of landfill gas. It is also used to line new landfill pits, so that any leachate does not escape into the surrounding soil or ground water
  • Soil – is used to cover layers of rubbish each day to prevent odours and scavenging by birds and other vermin. It also allows water from decomposing waste to pass quickly to the bottom of the landfill where it can be removed by leachate pumps.
  • Gravel – is used around the perforated drainage pipes that collect leachate. It allows the leach
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