Quick summary: Students use mathematics to investigate and solve problems with litter around outdoor bins (may include rubbish, recycling and composting). They focus on answering questions about the causes of litter and if littering is related to distance from a bin. They use their data to work out the density and distribution of litter in relation to its proximity of bins. From their investigation, they suggest the most likely causes of littering and communicate their findings and solutions to the school community.
This lesson has been developed as part of the Schools Recycle Right Challenge for Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week. Register your lesson or other activities so they can be counted towards the national achievement and to receive other free support materials.
Learning goals for this activity: Students use area formulas for rectangles and triangles to solve problems involving areas of surfaces.
Australian Curriculum content descriptions:
Year 7 Mathematics:
- Establish the formulas for areas of rectangles, triangles and parallelograms and use these in problem solving (ACMMG159)
- Identify and investigate issues involving numerical data collected from primary and secondary sources (ACMSP169)
Year level: 7
Time needed: 90 min
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – demonstrate to students how to setup a five by five metre grid around waste bins so they can collect and record data about litter.
Resources needed: Measuring tapes at least 20 metres long or trundle wheels, maps of the school with an approximate scale.
Digital technology opportunities: Google maps with satellite images of the school
There’s an app for that: Google Maps – get comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use maps.
Assumed prior learning: Aspects of the waste stream including rubbish, recycling and composting. Participation in the school’s litter reduction programs.
Key words: waste, rubbish, litter, recycle, correlation
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.
These Planet Ark resources were developed by Cool Australia with funding from the Alcoa Foundation.