Activity Introduction

GST5-heroQuick summary: Students build an understanding of how our demand for products can lead to environmental, social and economical issues. They investigate the life cycle of some common products and discover that they can make better selections when purchasing new items.



Following this lesson plan is an ideal way for your school to take part in the Garage Sale Trail. You’ll be joining thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference and creating positive environmental change. Don’t forget to register! 


Learning goals for this activity include: 

  • Students develop an understanding of the concept of sustainability. 
  • They recognise that they make choices that influence sustainability.
  • Students discover that in order to work out if a produce is sustainable they need to investigate its entire life cycle (from extraction to disposal).

Duration of activity:  Two 50-60 minute lessons. 

Resources required:  Student Worksheet and a range of everyday household items. 

Extension activity: Teachers should use their discretion to extend capable students by allocating to them more complex tasks or greater responsibility in a certain area. 

Provisions for learning support: Teachers might consider assigning extra time for the completion of some tasks in this lesson sequence.

Key words: Garage Sale Trail, consumption, economics, community engagement, life cycle analysis, energy, sustainability, extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal.

Australian Curriculum Content Descriptions:

Year 7 & 8 Design & Technologies

  • Examine and prioritise competing factors including social, ethical and sustainability considerations in the development of technologies and designed solutions to meet community needs for preferred futures (ACTDEK029)
  • Investigate the ways in which products, services and environments evolve locally, regionally and globally through the creativity, innovation and enterprise of individuals and groups (ACTDEK030)

Year 7 & 8 Digital Technologies

  • Create and communicate interactive ideas and information collaboratively online, taking into account social contexts (ACTDIP032)
  • Plan and manage projects, including tasks, time and other resources required, considering safety and sustainability (ACTDIP033)

Year 7 English

  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret, analyse and synthesise ideas and information, critiquing ideas and issues from a variety of textual sources (ACELY1723)
  • Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, selecting aspects of subject matter and particular language, visual, and audio features to convey information and ideas (ACELY1725)
  • Use a range of software, including word processing programs, to confidently create, edit and publish written and multimodal texts (ACELY1728)

Year 8 English

  • Plan, rehearse and deliver presentations, selecting and sequencing appropriate content, including multimodal elements, to reflect a diversity of viewpoints (ACELY1731)
  • Apply increasing knowledge of vocabulary, text structures and language features to understand the content of texts (ACELY1733)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and evaluate texts by reflecting on the validity of content and the credibility of sources, including finding evidence in the text for the author’s point of view (ACELY1734)
  • Create imaginative, informative and persuasive texts that raise issues, report events and advance opinions, using deliberate language and textual choices, and including digital elements as appropriate (ACELY1736)
  • Use a range of software, including word processing programs, to create, edit and publish texts imaginatively (ACELY1738)

General capabilities: Ethical understanding, Critical and creative thinking

Syllabus Outcomes: EN4-1A, EN4-2A, EN4-4BT4.1.2, T4.1.3, T4.4.1, T4.6.2.

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: Students build an understanding of how our demand for products can lead to environmental, social and economical issues. They investigate the life cycle of some common products and discover that they can make better selections when purchasing new items.


Teacher background information about the Garage Sale Trail: 

The Garage Sale Trail  is a national day of simultaneous garage sales that’s about making sustainability fun and creative! By organising communities around Australia to hold garage sales on the same day, the event aims to enable new neighbourly connections, provide a platform for fundraising, inspire creativity,  stimulating local economies, promote the reuse of materials and keep stuff out of landfill.  

The  Garage Sale Trail   is a not-for-profit organisation that works with local and state governments, schools and community groups to inspire social and environmental change.  Absolutely everyone can get involved - buyer

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What is the 'true cost' of buying consumer products? 

The item we have chosen: 

1. What does the 'life  cycle' of a product refer to?  

2. As a group research the life cycle of your item. Find the resources used during each stage of production (extraction, production, distribution, consumption/use, and disposal). Also find out the environmental impacts of each stage.

Stage of production

Resources used (water, natural resources, energy)

Environmental impacts (deforestation, water and air pollution, loss of biodiversity, carbon emissions)

Consumption or use
Is my item sustainable?
Are there alternative products that could be used instead?

3. Next, design a way to communicate what you have learnt and convince people to make an informed decision when they purchase the item. You could create an advertisement, label for the product, PowerP

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