Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students will plan and participate in Schools Clean Up Day (or a Clean Up on any other day of the year). In groups, they will choose a site within the school or local community and make the necessary arrangements for the Clean Up. Students will collect data on what they find during the Clean Up and from this data they will determine some possible sources and solutions to their schools rubbish problem. Alternatively, you may want to organise Schools Clean Up Day yourself and then get students to complete an analysis of the results.

Following this lesson plan is an ideal way for your school to take part in Schools Clean Up Day or a Clean Up on any day of the year. You’ll be joining thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference and creating positive environmental change.


Learning intentions:

  • Students understand the impacts of litter
  • Students take responsibility for litter in their school community
  • Students will think of new ways to do things.

21st century skills:

Community EngagementCommunicatingCreative ThinkingProblem Solving

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content description: This lesson can be aligned with a variety of learning areas and year levels.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.3, OI.8.

Topic: Clean Up, Waste.

Time required: Start planning two weeks before your Clean Up event. 

Resources required: 

  • Devices with internet access
  • Gloves and tongs for collecting waste
  • Printed school maps, Schools Clean Up Day Groups
  • Student Worksheet.

Keywords: Clean Up Day, food, packaging, waste, litter, recycle, reuse, reduce, rethink.

Safety: Ask students to review the Waste Safety Code for working with litter. Students should wear rubber gloves and/or tongs when collecting and handling litter. For more on safety click here.

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 intentions: Students will...

  • ... understand the impacts of litter
  • ... take responsibility for litter in their school community
  • ... will think of new ways to do things.

Success criteria: Students can...

  • ... explain why waste is a problem for our environment
  • ... plan and participate in a Clean Up event.

Teacher content information: Each year thousands of school students across Australia participate in Schools Clean Up Day to create a healthier environment for Australia and learn about ways to conserve our beautiful country.

Clean Up Australia Day started as Clean Up Sydney Harbour Day in 1989 and received an enormous public response with more than 40,000 Sydneysiders donating their time and energy to clean up the Harbour. Since then more than six million Australians have volunteered their time to help to make a difference to their own local environment. The idea of a Clean Up day has ignited enthusiasm and desire among the community to

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Student Worksheet

Project Action Plan

Group Members:


Actions/Person Responsible

Brainstorm Ideas

No idea is too big or too small at this stage. Have one group member record all the ideas generated, then begin discussing them. Complete this task as a group.

Project Aims

What do you hope to achieve through this project? Complete this task as a group.

Background Research

Use the Internet to search for case studies similar to your proposed project. Using information about a similar project, estimate how much CO2e could be saved through your plan.

Group 1: Who, what when and where?

Group 2: Data - How will we measure our impact?

Group 3: Resources - what will you need for the Clean Up?

Group 4: Public Relations - How will the Clean Up be publicised?

Group 5: Disposal and sorting - How is the rubbish collected going to be disposed of after the Clean Up?

Group 6: Measurement duri

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