Activity Introduction

city-scape-heroQuick summary: Students will explore the four pillars of sustainability: environment, society, culture and economy. They will begin by working as a class to apply the four pillars of sustainability to a real life example, and then break into groups to assess the sustainability of a range of different scenarios. Students will then present their analysis to the class. Finally, students will consider their own learning in this activity by completing a visual thinking routine.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand that there are four commonly recognised pillars of sustainability: environment, society, culture and economy.
  • Students understand that the sustainability of a project, action or scenario can be assessed using the four pillars.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 7 Science

  • Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (ACSHE120)
  • Science understanding influences the development of practices in areas of human activity such as industry, agriculture and marine and terrestrial resource management (ACSHE121)

Year 8 Science

  • Science and technology contribute to finding solutions to a range of contemporary issues; these solutions may impact on other areas of society and involve ethical considerations (ACSHE135)

Year 7 Geography

  • Reflect on their learning to propose individual and collective action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social considerations, and predict the expected outcomes of their proposal (ACHGS054)

Year 8 Geography

  • Reflect on their learning to propose individual and collective action in response to a contemporary geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social considerations, and predict the expected outcomes of their proposal (ACHGS062)

Syllabus outcomesGE4-8SC4-11PW, SC4-13ES.

Topic: Sustainability

Time required: 60 – 120 minutes

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee opening activity and facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Internet access, student worksheet, Sustainability factsheet – secondary.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities, Prezi creation, infographic creation (extension) – DIY infographic background information.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: Sustainability, four pillars, environment, society, culture, economy.

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

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

fish-reefTeacher preparation:

Overarching learning goal: By participating in this activity students will understand that there are four commonly recognised pillars of sustainability: environment, society, culture and economy. Students will be able to use these four pillars to assess the sustainability of a project, action or scenario.

Teacher content information:

Cool Australia Presents Sustainability from Cool Australia on Vimeo.

Student and classroom organisation:

Preparation: Ask students to read the Sustainability factsheet - secondary before this activity (also available on the Student Worksheet).

Step 1. Begin by explaining to students that sustainability is widely considered to be made up of four elements (or pillars). The four pillars are:

  • Environment – How is the natural environment affected?
  • Society – What are the costs or benefits to society?
  • Culture – How will culture be affected?
  • Economy – Will this make or lose money?

For something to be truly sustainable the bene

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Should there be more than four pillars of sustainability?

Preparation: Before participating in this activity read the Sustainability factsheet - secondary.

Which scenario is your group analysing:

In your group, analyse this scenario using the four pillars of sustainability below. Complete the table:

Environment

Society

Culture

Economy

 

How would you suggest this scenario could be changed to improve its sustainability? Explain:

How would this improve the sustainability of the four pillars? Complete the table below:

Environment

Society

Culture

Economy

In your groups, create a Prezi to share your analysis with the class.

Reflection

Think about your learning on this topic by completing the table below:

Connect

How are the ideas and information presented CONNECTED to what you already knew?

Extend

What new ideas did you get that EXTENDED o

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