Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will create a proposal to improve your school’s support of sustainable agriculture. To begin this lesson, students will identify a range of food-related actions that they can take to reduce their own environmental footprints. To inform their proposals, the class will then analyse a case study of a group of students taking action to protect pollinators at their school. Finally, students will investigate a range of ingredients in your school canteen menu, assess their sustainability and create a half-page proposal on how to make the menu more sustainable. 


This lesson has been created in partnership with ACT for Bees. ACT for Bees is a not-for-profit organisation taking action to preserve these essential pollinators to ensure a food secure future.  


Learning intentions:

● Students will understand a range of sustainability issues and relate these to consumer food choices. 
● Students will be able to apply a chosen sustainability principle to available food products.
● Students will be able to research and select sustainable food options for your school canteen.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 9 Geography

● The capacity of the world’s environments to sustainably feed the projected future global population (ACHGK064).
● Human alteration of biomes to produce food, industrial materials and fibres, and the use of systems thinking to analyse the environmental effects of these alterations (ACHGK061).
● Challenges to food production, including land and water degradation, shortage of fresh water, competing land uses, and climate change, for Australia and other areas of the world (ACHGK063).

Year 10 Geography

● Human-induced environmental changes that challenge sustainability (ACHGK070).
● Environmental world views of people and their implications for environmental management (ACHGK071).
● The application of systems thinking to understanding the causes and likely consequences of the environmental change being investigated (ACHGK073).

Syllabus outcomes: GE5-2, GE5-3, GE5-4, GE5-5

General capabilities: Literacy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability, Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability 

Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students analyse interconnections between people, places and environments and explain how these interconnections influence people and change places and environments. Students propose action in response to a geographical challenge, taking account of environmental, economic and social factors, and predict the outcomes and consequences of their proposal. Students present findings, arguments and explanations using relevant geographical terminology and digital representations in a range of appropriate communication forms.

Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students explain how interactions between geographical processes at different scales change the characteristics of places. Students identify, analyse and explain significant interconnections between people, places and environments and explain changes that result from these interconnections and their consequences.

Topics: Love Food? Love Bees!, Biodiversity, Consumption

Unit of work: Love Food? Love Bees! – Food Security and Sustainability – Year 9 & 10

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – teachers will need to arrange a tour of the school canteen (with the whole class, and in class time) and for someone representing the canteen to review students’ work.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. A class set of devices capable of internet access. Enough butchers paper for small group work. Enough copies of your school canteen menu for small groups. 

Keywords: Sustainability, Community, Citizenship, Food hub/network, NGO, Food security

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 a range of sustainability issues and relate these to consumer food choices. 
  • ... be able to apply a chosen sustainability principle to available food products.
  • ... be able to research and select sustainable food options for your school canteen.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • ... brainstorm and research a range of issues related to sustainable food production.
  • ... investigate the sustainability of a range of produce.
  • ... make informed decisions about purchasing sustainable food.
  • ... write a justified proposal for improvements to your school canteen.

Teacher content information: As we approach the year 2050 it is estimated that the world's population will reach 9.7 billion people. Although this seems a long way away, it is within students' lifetime. Because of this expected population increase we need to be smart about how we use resources today, to make sure they are available in abundan

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: "The wonderful thing about food is you get three votes a day. Every one of them has the potential to change the world" - Michael Pollan

1. List the challenges and opportunities presented in the Sourced clip:

Challenges/Issues Opportunities 

2. As you watch the bee clip pay attention to the way these students have tackled this issue, taking note of the problem, identified solution and actions taken to combat the issue. Now, consider what would be the benefits of starting a school beehive to...

  • Students?
  • Teachers?
  • The community?
  • Australia?

3. For your sustainable canteen proposal, be sure to include the following:

  • The food-related issue that your group is addressing.
  • The ingredient in your canteen that you want to replace. 
  • Where that item currently comes from (you may not be able to find the farm the produce comes from but may be able to find the general location).
  • An alternative ingredient a
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