Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students explore how to recycle eligible drink containers for a 10c refund through the ACT Container Deposit Scheme (ACT CDS). They consider ways to use this money to benefit the community. Finally, they practise map-reading skills by investigating the locations of ACT CDS return points around the ACT.

The ACT Container Deposit Scheme (ACT CDS) was introduced by the ACT Government in 2018 as a litter reduction initiative. Participants collect and return their eligible drink containers at an ACT CDS return point for a 10 cent refund on each. For further information about the ACT CDS, please visit

This lesson plan has been developed by Cool Australia, in collaboration with Exchange for Change, the scheme coordinator for the ACT CDS, as part of a suite of curriculum-linked resources for teachers that support schools’ participation in the scheme and enable teachers to discuss the environmental benefits of the scheme as part of their sustainability lessons.

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand the monetary, social and environmental value of recycling drink containers through the ACT CDS
  • Students will understand how to read a map

21st century skills: 

Community EngagementTeam Work

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 3 Mathematics:

  • Recall multiplication facts of two, three, five and ten and related division facts (ACMNA056)
  • Represent and solve problems involving multiplication using efficient mental and written strategies and appropriate digital technologies (ACMNA057)
  • Represent money values in multiple ways and count the change required for simple transactions to the nearest five cents (ACMNA059)
  • Create and interpret simple grid maps to show position and pathways (ACMMG065)

Year 4 Mathematics:

  • Recall multiplication facts up to 10 × 10 and related division facts (ACMNA075)
  • Develop efficient mental and written strategies and use appropriate digital technologies for multiplication and for division where there is no remainder (ACMNA076)
  • Solve problems involving purchases and the calculation of change to the nearest five cents with and without digital technologies (ACMNA080)
  • Use simple scales, legends and directions to interpret information contained in basic maps (ACMMG090)

Syllabus outcomes: MA2‑1WM, MA2‑2WM, MA2‑3WM, MA2‑6NA, MA2-17MG, MA2‑5NA, MA2-17MG

General capabilities: Numeracy, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Relevant parts of Year 3 Mathematics achievement standards: Students represent money values in various ways. They match positions on maps with given information.

Relevant parts of Year 4 Mathematics achievement standards: Students choose appropriate strategies for calculations involving multiplication and division. They solve simple purchasing problems. They interpret information contained in maps.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work ACT CDS School Resources.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – Lead discussion and support students with understanding.

Resources required:

  • Agree/Disagree signs
  • Concrete Aids – 10 cent coins – Or cut out and use these images
  • Device capable of presenting a website to the class.
  • Individual devices capable of accessing the internet – one per student
  • Student Worksheet – one copy per student
  • Supermarket Catalogue – physical or digital – one copy per student.

Keywords: Waste, resources, reuse, recycle, recycling, materials, hands-on, investigative, ACT container deposit scheme.

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

Learning intentions: Students...

  • ... understand the social, environmental and monetary value of recycling through the ACT CDS
  • … understand how to read a map

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... perform simple calculations on earnings and expenses
  • ... locate their local ACT CDS return points on a map

Teacher content information:

Please visit the and websites prior to teaching the lesson to research which materials and eligible drink containers are accepted for recycling in the ACT. Check the label for the ‘10c’ symbol to determine whether a container is eligible as part of the ACT CDS. Eligible drink containers are those that are commonly found in the litter stream and are smaller, more portable containers, between 150mL to 3L.

Teaching Sequence

Work through this resource material in the following sequence:

15 minutes – Part A: Activating Prior Knowledge
20 minutes – Part B: Exchanging for Good
15 min

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Student Worksheet

The ACT Container Deposit Scheme lets you recycle and turn your waste items into money. And all of us like to have a bit of extra money to spend!

Step 1. The newsagency sells this eraser for 10 cents. Answer the following questions.

1. If you get 10 cents for returning one eligible can or bottle to the ACT CDS, how many of these erasers could you purchase by returning one container?

2. How many erasers could you purchase by returning 5 eligible cans and bottles?

3. What about 10 eligible cans and bottles?

Step 2. Now let’s imagine that you also want to buy some different types of stationary. You also want one gel pen that costs 50 cents.

Step 3. You now want two sharpeners that cost 20 cents each. How many eligible cans and bottles  would you need to return to buy these?


Step 4. Look up the price of some of the things you could purchase using the refunds from the ACT CDS.

Then, calculate how many eligible drink containers you would need to collect and return via

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