Activity Introduction

bottled water shop photoframeQuick summary: Students investigate the costs of bottled water, both environmentally and economically. Students begin by conducting a 5 whys investigation into some of the reasons why people use bottled water. They then watch a video about the costs of bottled water and participate in a guided discussion, identifying some of the stages in the bottled water life cycle. Students then work in groups to create a flowchart, infographic or 3D model of a bottled water life cycle. This requires students to think critically about all the obvious and hidden environmental or social impacts of bottled water, from its manufacture through to its final stages as waste. Finally, students reflect on their own opinions about bottled water and write a persuasive piece to share their thoughts. explore the concept of life-cycle analysis through looking at the life-cycle of bottled water.

Learning goals:

  • Students will recognise the resource requirements and impacts of bottled water, including the social, economic and environmental resources and impacts.
  • Students will understand how a life cycle analysis can be used to describe the stages, resources and waste associated a product, in this case, bottled water.
  • Students will recognise their own opinions in relation to bottled water and will recognise how to share their opinions persuasively.

21st century skills:

bottled water skills

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 7 Science

  • Some of Earth’s resources are renewable, including water that cycles through the environment, but others are non-renewable (ACSSU116)

Syllabus Outcomes: SC4-12ES

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Literacy.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.8.

Relevant parts of Year 7 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how the sustainable use of resources depends on the way they are formed and cycle through Earth systems.

Topic: Waste, Water, Sustainability.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – lead students in brainstorm and guided discussion.

Resources required: 

  • Device capable of presenting a website and video to the class
  • Materials for making a 3D model – options:
    • Access to Padlet to create a flowchart or infographic
    • Materials for making a 3d model such as plasticine, carft materials or materials from the recycling bin
  • Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Bottled water, environmental impact, economic cost, waste, Australia.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

bottled water waste photoframeTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students will recognise the resource requirements and impacts of bottled water, including the social, economic and environmental resources and impacts. They will understand the stages, resources and waste associated with the life cycle of bottled water. Students will reflect on their personal position around bottled water and attempt to persuade others on their position.

Teacher content information: People are paying good money for water in good looking bottles. But while drinking good looking bottled water comes at a small cost to us, the environment is paying a huge cost. The energy and resources that are required to manufacture and transport bottled water are often forgotten. Find out more here: Bottled Water.

Teaching sequence

Work through this resource material in the following sequence:

15 minutes - Part A - Why Do We Need Bottled Water?
20 minutes - Part B - The Story Of Bottled Water - Video and Guided Discussion
70 mins - P

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: What is the true cost of bottled water?

Preparation: Read this article and share three things about what you read that you find interesting or surprising. Record your ideas below:




Part A - Why Do We Need Bottled Water?

5 whys investigation

In the top row, write the answer generated through the class discussion that your teacher assigns you. Next, work as a group to interrogate this answer further by asking 'why'. For each answer that you think of, ask 'why' again and add in your answer until you have completed the table.

Write the answer your teacher assigns you here:







Part C - Life Cycle of Bottled Water

In this task you will work in groups to investigate the resources required to produce bottled water, and how this process impacts our environment. In your groups you will need to create a 3D model of the life cycle for bottled water that visually describes where r

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