Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity, students look at waste and the time frame it takes to decompose. Students are asked to order a selection of waste materials into the time it takes for them to break down. In the closing activity, they will act as archeologists undertaking a dig of a kitchen 100 years in the future and are asked to describe the condition of the items that they find.

Learning goals:

  • The aim of this activity is to raise awareness of the rate of waste material breakdown and how this can take many, many years.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 1 Science

  • Everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways (ACSSU018)
  • Science involves asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events (ACSHE021)
  • People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things (ACSHE022)
  • Participate in different types of guided investigations to explore and answer questions, such as manipulating materials, testing ideas, and accessing information sources (ACSIS025)

Year 2 Science

  • Science involves asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events (ACSHE034)
  • People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things (ACSHE035)
  • Participate in different types of guided investigations to explore and answer questions, such as manipulating materials, testing ideas, and accessing information sources (ACSIS038)
  • Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways such as oral and written language, drawing and role play (ACSIS042)

Syllabus OutcomesST1-4WS, ST1-11LW, ST1-9ES, ST1-12MW

Topic: Solid waste

Time required: 60 mins

Resources required: Waste breakdown flashcards, drawing materials or modeling clay.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: None.

Keywords: Litter, waste, breakdown, decomposition.

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 activity, students look at waste and the time frame it takes to decompose. Students are asked to order a selection of waste materials into the time it takes for them to break down. In the closing activity, they will act as archeologists undertaking a dig of a kitchen 100 years in the future and are asked to describe the condition of the items that they find.

Teacher content information: Print a copy of the Waste breakdown flashcards, sticking the two sides of the card together so that the breakdown rate corresponds to the correct waste type. The breakdown rates for the flashcards are as follows:

  • Banana - 3-4 weeks
  • Tin cans - 200-500 years
  • Plastic rings from six pack - 450 years
  • Sock - 1 year
  • Leather boot - 40-50 years
  • Paper bag - 1 month
  • Glass bottles - unknown

Student and classroom organisation

Step 1. Introduce this activity to your students by holding a brief discussion about waste. Use the following questions to

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Student Worksheet

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