Activity Introduction

blue_rubbish-waste-beach_anhang-1-copy_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. In this lesson, students visit a series of sensory touch tables to investigate different waste materials and the properties of these materials. Using their scientific inquiry skills, students record their findings in a data table. They then consider the definition of rubbish and how recycling helps to reduce the amount of waste in our environment. Finally, students learn about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and discuss ways we can help to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans.

blue-white-logo-120pxBlue is a feature documentary film charting the drastic decline in the health of our oceans. With more than half of all marine life lost and the expansion of the industrialization of the seas, the film sets out the challenges we are facing and the opportunities for positive change. Blue changes the way we think about our liquid world and inspires the audience to action. Find out how to screen or download the film here. Along with the film is an ambitious global campaign to create advocacy and behaviour change through the #oceanguardian movement. To become an ocean guardian, see the website.

Learning intention:

  • Students understand that there are many different types of rubbish.
  • Students recognise that rubbish can cause harm to our oceans and the creatures that live there.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Foundation Science

  • Objects are made of materials that have observable properties (ACSSU003)

Year 1 Science

  • Everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways (ACSSU018)

Year 2 Science

  • Different materials can be combined for a particular purpose (ACSSU031)

Syllabus outcomes: STe-9ME, ST1-12MW.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2, O.I9.

Relevant parts of Foundation Science achievement standards: Students describe the properties and behaviour of familiar objects. They suggest how the environment affects them and other living things. Students share and reflect on observations, and ask and respond to questions about familiar objects and events.

Relevant parts of Year 1 Science achievement standards: Students describe objects and events that they encounter in their everyday lives, and the effects of interacting with materials and objects.

Relevant parts of Year 2 Science achievement standards: Students describe changes to objects, materials and living things. They identify that certain materials and resources have different uses and describe examples of where science is used in people’s daily lives.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water.

Unit of work: Blue The Film: Inquiry – Foundation, Blue The Film: Inquiry – Years 1 & 2.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – oversee activities, lead discussions and use sensory tables.

Resources required: Student worksheet – one copy per student, pens/pencils, device capable of presenting a website to the class, various plastic and rubbish items (shopping bags, juice containers, hard plastic lids, paper, cardboard, small paper boxes, tin foil, cans, plastic cling wrap, wrappers, yogurt containers, etc).

Additional resources:

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, rubbish, plastic, Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Cool Australia and Northern Pictures would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of GoodPitch² AustraliaShark Island InstituteDocumentary Australia FoundationThe Caledonia Foundation and Screen Australia in the development of these teaching resources.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

© Northern Pictures and Cool Australia


Teacher Worksheet

blue_rubbish-plastic-digger-bucket_untitled_1-463-2-edit_photoframeTeacher Preparation

Learning intention: Students learn about rubbish as a material and how rubbish can be harmful in our oceans.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Know what rubbish is.
  • Know what materials rubbish can be made out of (i.e plastic, metal, rubber).
  • Be able to follow a sequence to find out how rubbish reaches the sea.


Teacher content information: From space, our planet appears as a tiny blue dot in the vastness of space. No matter where you live on our blue planet – you’re connected to the sea.

But the seas are under threat. The industrialisation that has occurred in the oceans over the last century, mirrors the events that triggered mass extinctions on land. Industrial scale fishing, habitat destruction, species loss and pollution have placed the ocean in peril. The very nature of the sea is being irretrievably altered.

By international standards, Australia is a marine conservation leader. It has the world’s largest coral reef, the best managed fisheries

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: A little bit of litter goes a long, long way…

Your task is to:

1. Visit each table around the classroom and investigate each of the items by touching and feeling each of the items.

2. Put a tick in the table to show what you felt and saw.

  I could see... I could feel..
... it stretch ... it squash ... it felt hard ... it felt soft
Paper Bag
Plastic Bag
Tin Foil
Plastic Wrap
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