Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students will study the packaging on everyday items and gain an understanding of the various types of packaging that exist. Students will learn about the effect packaging has on the environment. They will look at ways packaging can be refused, reduced, reused and recycled. Students will create their own packaging for an everyday item, which is 100% environmentally friendly.

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 for this activity include: 

  • Students gain an understanding of the resources required to make packaging.
  • Students build an understanding of how they can reduce their packaging.
  • Students communicate their understanding by creatively designing a label.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions: 

Year 4 Science:

  • Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties; These properties can influence their use (ACSSU074)
  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE062)

Year 4 Geography:

  • The use and management of natural resources and waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably (ACHASSK090)

Year 3 Science:

  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE051)
  • Represent and communicate ideas and findings in a variety of ways such as diagrams, physical representations and simple reports (ACSIS060)

Syllabus OutcomeGE2-2, GE2-3ST2-11LW, ST2-4WS, ST2-13MW

Time needed: 60 minutes

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium

Resources needed: Access to computers for research, a range of packaging items, permission to go on an excursion to a local supermarket.

Digital technology opportunities: Tablets (iPads) for producing data sheets and recording data

Assumed prior learning: Functional knowledge of the school’s waste system.

Key words: Waste, recycling, resource, rubbish, landfill, contamination. 

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

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Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Overarching learning goals: By participating in this activity students will Identify and classify a range of everyday packaging materials and will think about ways to reduce and reuse everyday packaging material. Finally, students will communicate their understanding by creatively designing a label.

Teacher content information: Packaging is the name given to the containers in which products are bought, sold and transported. It is an important part of everything we buy. Most foods and drinks come in some type of packaging. Packaging is made from a variety of different materials, including paper, cardboard, glass, steel, plastics and aluminium. 

There are four main reasons for packaging:

  • To preserve food
  • To contain objects so that they can be transported safely
  • To describe and identify the contents, so that customers can find out the contents, weight and purpose of a product
  • To protect the contents so that goods arrive without damage or spoilage.

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starters: When you buy something, what happens to the packaging? 

Types of packaging 

Visit the local supermarket or have a look at at products that your teacher has bought in from home. Find at least five food or beverage items that fit into the table below.

No Wrapping 

One Wrapping 

Two Wrappings

Three or More Wrappings





 Packaging Materials 

In the table below, write down the number of items the class collected and if they could be reused, recycled or thrown away.


Number collected

Threw Away












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