Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students plan and complete a project that will reduce waste in either their school or the local community.

clean up logoFollowing this lesson plan is an ideal way for your school to take part in Schools Clean Up Day. You’ll be joining thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference and creating positive environmental change.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand that everyone in a school produces solid waste.
  • Students recognise that the school is already taking steps to reduce the amount of solid waste, but there are steps that can be taken to cut this waste even further. 
  • Students working in groups can initiate and complete projects that will help cut the waste in either the school or local community.

Australian Curriculum content description:

This lesson can be used for all learning areas and year levels across the Australian Curriculum.

Topic: Solid Waste

Time required: depends on the chosen project.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – advisory.

Resources required: Art materials, computer with internet access, other materials as required, Cut the waste project: Planners.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity includes opportunities for extension.

Safety: Students review Class Waste Safety Code. Teacher checks the students’ plans for safety considerations before students commence their projects.  Teacher supervises the projects.

Keywords: School, waste.

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


Schools Clean Up Day

clean up logo


Teacher Worksheet

Activity outline

Students choose either a school or community waste project.

1.     A school project

  • After completing the activity: Our big picture school waste plan, students choose a project that would help to reduce the waste in the school.  The design brief for the project is that it:
    • can be completed by the end of the school year.
    • can help reduce the amount of waste in the school.
    • inspires other students to think about the 4Rs and composting.
    • will not cost too much (students will need to have a plan to raise money for the project).
    • will not harm other students.
  • Students choose a possible project and write a proposal, using the table in Cut the waste project: Planners.  Encourage students to take on significant projects that will have a real impact on the amount of waste produced by the school or the community.  See the list below for some examples of student projects.
  • Students then write an action plan for the project in a table, as found in Cut the was
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Student Worksheet

Our project proposal

Key question

Examples of answers

1. What is the name of your project

Building a three bay compost bin for the school’s garden waste.

2.What is the purpose of your project?

To treat the school’s garden waste on site, rather than have it sent off site.

3. What are some details of the project?

The bays will be built from timber.  The three bay compost bin is a very versatile system that allows garden waste to be broken down and then used on the school gardens.  The first bay holds fresh garden waste, the second holds decomposing waste and the third fully mature compost.  Hinged lids prevent the material from drying out in hot weather and from getting too wet during rain.

4. What research have you done so far?

We have found the website of a composting association that gives useful advice about designs of these bins and how to manage them.  A parent who has one of these bins at home has also offered t

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