Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students are asked to consider how waste patterns have changes over time and complete a colouring-in worksheet that shows the changes in the ways that people have used materials and disposed of their waste over the past 400 years. They will also be asked to predict what life might be like in the year 2050 and what waste disposal methods will be available then.

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 learn that Australian Aboriginals lived very lightly on the land, using natural materials for their tools, clothing, shelters and weapons.
  • Students discover that since European settlement, people in Australia have used increasing amounts of resources to support their lifestyle and have been producing increasing quantities of solid waste.
  • Students will understand that the way that Australians dispose of their waste has changed dramatically over the past 60 or so years.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 1 Science:

  • Everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways (ACSSU018)
  • People use science in their daily lives, including when caring for their environment and living things (ACSHE022)

Year 1 History:

  • Differences and similarities between students’ daily lives and life during their parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods (ACHASSK030)
  • Compare objects from the past with those from the present and consider how places have changed over time (ACHASSI023)

Year 2 Science

  • Different materials can be combined, including by mixing, for a particular purpose (ACSSU031)
  • Earth’s resources, including water, are used in a variety of ways (ACSSU032)

Year 2 History

  • The history of a significant person, building, site and/or part of the natural environment in the local community and what it reveals about the past (ACHASSK044)
  • How changing technology affected people’s lives (at home and in the ways they worked, travelled, communicated and played in the past) (ACHASSK046)
  • Compare objects from the past with those from the present and consider how places have changed over time (ACHASSI039)

Syllabus Outcomes: ST1-11LW, ST1-9ES, ST1-12MW, HT1-1, HT1-2, HT1-3, HT1-4.

Time required: 48 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – gather materials, copy worksheets for students.

Resources required: scissors, pencils, pens, glue, copy of Doorways to waste: Student Worksheet for each student.

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

Keywords: Waste, history, future, Aboriginal Australians.

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 goal: Students are given a worksheet showing three eras from the past and one from the future showing the changes in the ways that people have used materials and disposed of their waste over the past 400 years. They are asked to colour in the drawings and complete the drawing for the future scene and predict the types of waste disposal that will be available in the future.

Teacher content information: The amount of waste that humans have produced has changed radically over the past 400 years, particularly in Australia. Indigenous Australians used only natural materials for all their needs, while European settlers introduced artificial materials and manufacturing techniques that changed consumption patterns and associated waste. As artificial material needs have increased, so too have levels of waste. Where waste derived from natural materials (as used by Aboriginals) has a rapid decomposition and has a rate with minimal environmental impact, w

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Student Worksheet

Where has waste been and where is it going?

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