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 activity has been developed in partnership with Visy. For over 70 years Visy has been committed to finding sustainable solutions for Australia’s recyclables and helping to reduce local landfills. Visy collects, receives and sorts paper, cardboard, glass, plastics, steel and aluminium from households, businesses and schools with the purpose of reusing these products in the re-manufacture of new packaging products.

Learning intentions:

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

21st century skills:

CommunicatingCritical ThinkingEntrepreneurshipEthical UnderstandingGlobal CitizenshipInitiative

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 OI.8.

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: Recycling, Sustainability.

Unit of work: Visy Education – 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
  • ... consider the focus of each paragraph and connect them to determine the main idea.

Teacher content information: What do you do with the things you no longer want or need, such as the packaging from the food you buy or bottles you drink from? Many of us have grown up thinking of this as 'waste', as something we need to just get rid of. But what if we think of these materials as a resource for creating new and useful products? What if we can re-imagine how we think about and use these materials?

Thinking of waste items as the resources required for creating new products is a great way to shift our thinking about what we should do with these materials. Recycling is key to this thinking as it means we can keep returning recyclables to the recycling system to be re-man

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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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