Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students are asked to consider some quotes about solid waste and to answer a series of questions about these quotes.

Learning goals: 

  • Students understand that solid waste that is produced by people impacts on our natural environment in many different ways.
  • People have wants and needs.
  • The more things people buy, they more they will eventually have to throw away.
  • People have the ability to reduce the waste they produce.
  • People have range of opinions about important issues.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 5 English

  • Understand how to move beyond making bare assertions and take account of differing perspectives and points of view (ACELA1502)
  • Present a point of view about particular literary texts using appropriate metalanguage, and reflecting on the viewpoints of others (ACELT1609)
  • Recognise that ideas in literary texts can be conveyed from different viewpoints, which can lead to different kinds of interpretations and responses (ACELT1610)

Year 6 English

  • Investigate how vocabulary choices, including evaluative language can express shades of meaning, feeling and opinion (ACELA1525)
  • Analyse and evaluate similarities and differences in texts on similar topics, themes or plots (ACELT1614)
  • Compare texts including media texts that represent ideas and events in different ways, explaining the effects of the different approaches (ACELY1708)
  • Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions
  • (ACELY1709)

Syllabus OutcomesEN3-1A, EN3-2A, EN3-3A, EN3-6B, EN3-7C, EN3-8D.

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – facilitate discussion around student answers.

Resources required: Writing materials.

Digital technology opportunities: Use digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity can be set as homework.

Keywords: Waste, consumption, quotes.


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: In this activity students analyse three quotes that relate to waste and consumption. Students learn that there are many ways to think about consumption and waste, that there are a wide range of opinions on these issues, and that people have been thinking about these issues for a long time.

Teacher content information: It's easy to assume that concern for our environment has been something that has only happened recently. However, there have been many people over the course of history who have been concerned at the way human have impacted upon the natural world. Some of the most influential and prolific writers in this area include John Muir, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Rachel Carson.

Hot tips: Use a website like to find more quotes about waste and our environment.

Student and classroom organisation:

Step 1. Ask your students to read the following three quotes (also available on the student worksheet)

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Student Worksheet

What do you think about these quotes?

'There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.' - Mohandas K. Gandhi.

What do you think it means?


Does it make sense? Why or why not?


Do you like the quote? Why or why not?


'Waste not, want not.' - Anon. 

What do you think it means?


Does it make sense? Why or why not?


Do you like the quote? Why or why not?


'Your descendants shall gather your fruits.' - Virgil 

What do you think it means?


Does it make sense? Why or why not?


Do you like the quote? Why or why not?

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