Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Every one of us can make a positive impact on the environment with the decisions we make and the behaviours we carry out. There are a whole range of eco-friendly actions we can undertake, from thinking carefully about how we dispose of packaging to trying to understand more about the impact our purchases have on the environment, in order to make a massive difference to the environment.

In this lesson students will be inspired by how individuals can make a difference to the environment. They will begin to consider how engaging with the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) and changing their conscious recycling behaviour and consumer habits can positively impact landfill and waste material usage.

The lessons in this unit explore the purpose of the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) and how to translate this understanding into environmental action. We recommend this lesson is used as the first lesson in a sequence of learning within this unit.

This lesson has been developed as part of Planet Ark’s campaign around the Australasian Recycling Label and sustainable packaging. You can get involved during Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week or at any time during the school year and join thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference and creating positive environmental change. If you use any of these lessons, we highly recommend you submit an entry for the School’s Recycle Right Challenge in Term 4 and enter in the draw to win amazing prizes for your school!


Learning intentions:

  • Students will consider some of the big environmental challenges faced in the present day.

21st century skills: 

Community EngagementCritical ThinkingEntrepreneurshipEmpathyEthical UnderstandingGlobal CitizenshipInitiativeLeadership

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5 Science:

  • Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE100)

Year 6 Science:

  • Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE083)

Syllabus outcomes: ST3-7PW

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science achievement standards: Students discuss how scientific developments have affected people’s lives and help us solve problems.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Science achievement standards: Students explain how scientific knowledge helps us to solve problems and inform decisions.

Topic: Recycling.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work Australasian Recycling Label.

Time required: 55 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – scaffold students through the theory of this lesson and facilitate discussion.

Resources required:

Keywords: Planet Ark, Australasian Recycling Label, ARL, sustainability, sustainable packaging, recycling, reduce, re-use, waste, plastic, packaging, wrapping, litter.

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 will...

  • … consider some of the big environmental challenges faced in the present day.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … articulate their sphere of influence and the positive impact they can have on the environment; and
  • … begin to acknowledge how the ARL gives us the opportunity to make positive change through our individual actions and behaviours.

Teaching Sequence

Work through this resource material in the following sequence:

10 minutes – Part A: Big challenges.
15 minutes – Part B: Big impact.
10 minutes – Part C: Make an ARL change.
15 minutes – Part D: Action plan.
5 minutes – Reflection

Part A: Big challenges

Part A: Big challenges

Step 1. As a class discuss some of the environmental challenges that students are currently aware of and concerned about. 

Some examples students might be interested in (and that we suggest you focus on) are:

  • the increasing amount of wasteful landfill in the world cloggin
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