Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This lesson is part of a unit that explores how electricity and processed materials combine to power mobile phones. In this lesson, students will investigate the conductivity of various materials and apply this understanding to the circuitry inside a mobile phone. They will learn what makes a mobile phone work and where the materials in a mobile phone come from.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand how electricity is conducted through various different materials
  • Students understand the difference between electrical conductors and insulators
  • Students understand the role of circuitry inside mobile phones.

21st century skills:

Ethical UnderstandingGlobal CitizenshipProblem SolvingTeam Work





Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5 & 6 – Design and Technology

  • Investigate how electrical energy can control movement, sound or light in a designed product or system (ACTDEK020)
  • Investigate characteristics and properties of a range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment and evaluate the impact of their use (ACTDEK023)

Year 6 – Science

  • Changes to materials can be reversible or irreversible (ACSSU095)
  • Electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits and can be generated from a range of sources (ACSSU097)

Syllabus outcomes: ST3-6PW, ST3-7PW, ST3-13MWST3-6PW, ST3-12MW

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 5 & 6 achievement standards: 

Year 5 & 6 – Design and Technology
Students critically examine technologies − materials, systems, components, tools and equipment − that are used regularly in the home and in local, national, regional or global communities, with consideration of society, ethics and social and environmental sustainability factors.

Year 6 – Science
They learn about transfer and transformations of electricity, and continue to develop an understanding of energy flows through systems.

Topic: Sustainability, Energy, Consumption, STEM/STEAM.

Unit of work: MobileMuster – Hands-on Mobile Phone Recycling – Years 3-6

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion, support students in circuit building and phone investigation.

Resources required:

Keywords: Mobile Muster, Energy, electricity, current, circuit, battery, circuit diagram, conductor, insulator, mobile phone, STEM/STEAM.

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 how electricity is conducted through various different materials
  • … understand the difference between electrical conductors and insulators and use a circuit to test for them
  • … understand the role of circuitry inside mobile phones.

Success criteria: Students can …

  • … identify the materials used in mobile phones, know where they come from, how they are obtained and why they are used
  • … test materials for conductivity using circuits.

Teacher content information: Mobile phones and all electronics use energy, but what is energy? We hear about it all the time, but it's often not well understood. In science, energy is the capacity of a physical system to do work. Put more simply, energy makes changes happen. There are many different types of energy, but we can classify them into two main groups - kinetic (the energy of movement/action) and potential (the potential to move/do something). Electricity is

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Did you know that the glass on a mobile phone screen can be recycled and used over and over again? 

Hot Potato Questions: 

  • What is energy?

  • What is electricity?

  • How does a circuit work?

  • How does a battery work?

  • What’s in a mobile phone?

  • What did you enjoy most from the previous lesson?


Complete an individual 3:2:1 on the Student Worksheet:

  • 3 facts recalled from the lesson

  • 2 insights about why this lesson was relevant to them, their society and/or the environment

  • 1 question they have from the lesson.

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