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.

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 3 Science

  • Science involves making predictions and describing patternsand relationships (ACSHE050)

Year 3 History

  • Pose questions to investigate people, events, places and issues (ACHASSI052)

  • Sequence information about people’s lives and events (ACHASSI055)

Year 4 Science

  • Science involves making predictions and describing patterns and relationships (ACSHE061)

Year 4 History

  • Sequence information about people’s lives and events (ACHASSI076)
  • Examine information to identify different points of view and distinguish facts from opinions (ACHASSI077)

Year 4 Geography

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

Syllabus Outcomes: GE2-2, GE2-3, ST2-4WSHT2-5.

Topic: Solid waste

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.

Digital technology opportunities:

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.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students are given a worksheet showing three era's 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 rate with minimal environmental impact, waste as

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Student Worksheet

Where has waste been and where is it going?

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