Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will build on their ability to find the main idea of a text. They will identify the focus of separate paragraphs then link this information to identify an overall theme.

This lesson is designed to provide valuable practice for NAPLAN, the national literacy and numeracy test held in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9*. 

This lesson has been developed in partnership with Visy. For over 60 years Visy has been striving for sustainability, reducing the amount of waste going to landfill by collecting recyclable materials and recycling them into new paper and packaging products. Click here to find out more about Visy and their innovative work in recovering and transforming recyclable materials into new products to preserve our earth’s precious resources.


Learning intentions:

  • Students will be able to identify the main idea in a non-fiction text.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 3 English:

  • Identify the point of view in a text and suggest alternative points of view (ACELY1675).
  • Understand that paragraphs are a key organisational feature of written texts (ACELA1479).
  • Draw connections between personal experiences and the worlds of texts, and share responses with others (ACELT1596).
  • Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning and begin to evaluate texts by drawing on a growing knowledge of context, text structures and language features (ACELY1680).

Syllabus outcomes: EN2-4A, EN2-9B, EN2-11D

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

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 3 achievement standards: They identify literal and implied meaning connecting ideas in different parts of a text. They select information, ideas and events in texts that relate to their own lives and to other texts. They listen to others’ views and respond appropriately using interaction skills.

Topic: Sustainability, Waste.

Unit of work: Bright Sparks – Literacy Skills.

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – model literacy strategies for students.

Resources required:

Keywords: Recycling, literacy, reading, comprehension, finding the main idea.

*This lesson plan is not an officially endorsed publication of NAPLAN’s creators and administrators – the ACARA body – but is designed to provide practice for the compulsory assessment.

The information and statistics included in this document are approximate and have been simplified for educational/illustrative purposes. They should not be relied upon for any other purpose.

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 intention:

  • Students will be able to identify the main idea in a non-fiction text.

Success criteria:

  • Students can identify the focus of each paragraph in a text.
  • Students can consider the focus of each paragraph and connect them to determine the main idea.

Teacher content information:

“We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.” – Terri Swearingen

Information about waste: In the 2014 – 2015 financial year, Australians disposed of around 18 million tonnes of waste. That is around 754 kilograms per person¹. These figures saw Australia listed as the country with the 5th highest amount of municipal waste per capita by the OECD in 2015².

Globally, there are huge concerns relating to waste management. Analysts have predicted that we are yet to see a peak in our waste consumption, suggesting that it will continue to grow into the future³.

If we don’t curb the habits of millions of people globally, there will be frightenin

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Student Worksheet


What I knew about waste and recycling at the beginning of the lesson…

What I know about waste and recycling now…

What I am going to do/change because of my new learning…

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