Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This lesson is one of six lessons for Years 3-8, designed to support you and your students to produce quality films for the MobileMuster Film Competition, with the aim of encouraging the community to recycle more of their old and unused mobile phones. The 2021 MobileMuster Film Competition is open and the theme is ‘The Science of Recycling’. For information about the Film Competition, visit the MobileMuster website.

This lesson introduces students to the benefits of mobile phone recycling as identified by MobileMuster. Students will explore the principles of sustainable design and life-cycle assessments. They will understand the importance and value of designing products deliberately to be reused and recycled. Students will also consider consumer, manufacturer responsibility linked to sustainable product design and conduct a case study analysis. If your class is new to mobile phone recycling this lesson is a great way to engage them in the topic before planning their short films in the follow-up lesson: MobileMuster Film Competition – Designing for Sustainability 2 – Years 7 & 8.

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand the importance of recycling mobile phones.
  • Students will understand the principles of sustainable design.
  • Students will understand the principles of cradle to grave and cradle to cradle product life cycles.
  • Students will understand consumer and manufacturer responsibility as it relates to eco-design.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 7 & 8 Design and Technologies

  • Investigate the ways in which products, services and environments evolve locally, regionally and globally and how competing factors including social, ethical and sustainability considerations are prioritised in the development of technologies and designed solutions for preferred futures (ACTDEK029)
  • Analyse ways to produce designed solutions through selecting and combining characteristics and properties of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment (ACTDEK034)

Syllabus outcomes: T4.1.2, T4.1.3, T4.4.1, T4.6.2 

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Years 7 & 8 achievement standards: Students explain factors that influence the design of products, services and environments to meet present and future needs. They explain the contribution of design and technology innovations and enterprise to society. Students explain how the features of technologies impact on designed solutions and influence design decisions for each of the prescribed technologies contexts.

Topic: Sustainability. STEAM. Consumption. Waste. 

Unit of work: MobileMuster Film Competition

Time required: 100 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitating class discussions and guiding research activities.

Resources required: Student Worksheets – one copy per student. A device capable of presenting a video to the class. Assessment Matrix. Sustainability Factsheet (optional).

Keywords: sustainability, design, sustainable design, Mobile Muster, phones, recycling, mobile phone, waste, consumption, manufacturing, cradle, circular economy, case study.

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 ...

  • ... explore the importance of recycling mobile phones.
  • ... examine the principles of sustainable design.
  • ... learn about the principles of cradle to grave and cradle to cradle product life cycles.
  • ... consider consumer and manufacturer responsibility as it relates to eco-design.

Success criteria: Students can …

  • ... identify product life cycles.
  • ... define key terms related to sustainable design.
  • ... identify and evaluate eco-design solutions.
  • ... discuss complexities in the manufacturing and design process.

Teacher content information: MobileMuster is the product stewardship program of the mobile phone industry and is accredited by the federal government. It is voluntarily funded by all of the major handset manufacturers and network carriers to provide a free mobile phone recycling program in Australia to the highest environmental standard. The program is committed to raising awareness and educating

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What is Sustainable Design?

Flipped Classroom - What is sustainability?

Don't worry if you don't have your own definition for sustainability or know what it means. Sustainability is a slippery topic: it means different things to different people in different situations. The only way to understand what sustainability means to us, is to explore how we and other people think and talk about it. 

1. You will begin by exploring your initial ideas about sustainability. Think carefully about what sustainability means to you and complete the following activity, filling the boxes below:


Choose one colour that you feel best represents the essence of sustainability.


Using any colour you like, create a symbol that you feel best represents the essence of sustainability.


Using any colours you like, create an image that you feel best represents the essence of sustainability.



2. You now need to look online to f

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