Activity Introduction

Quick summary: This lesson is part of a unit that explores the life-cycle of mobile phone materials through game-based learning. To better understand and appreciate the environmental impact of creating a mobile phone, students will learn how raw materials are processed into the components in our mobile phones. They will then use components to build a mobile phone (representation) and write a set of instructions that explain the process of constructing a mobile phone.

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand the basic design elements of mobile phones
  • Students will understand how materials are processed and combined to construct mobile phones
  • Students will understand that mobile phone components are manufactured in a factory.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingEthical UnderstandingGlobal CitizenshipProblem SolvingTeam Work





Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 3 – English

  • Students understand how different types of texts vary in use of language choices, depending on their purpose and context (for example, tense and types of sentences) (ACELA1478)
  • Students understand that paragraphs are a key organisational feature of written texts (ACELA1479)

Year 4 – English

  • Students understand how adverb groups/phrases and prepositional phrases work in different ways to provide circumstantial details about an activity (ACELA1495)
  • Incorporate new vocabulary from a range of sources into students’ own texts including vocabulary encountered in research (ACELA1498)

Year 4 – Humanities and Social Sciences

  • The use and management of natural resources and waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably (ACHASSK090)

Years 3&4 – Design and Technologies

  • Recognise the role of people in design and technologies occupations and explore factors, including sustainability, that impact on the design of products, services and environments to meet community needs (ACTDEK010)
  • Investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of a product or system (ACTDEK011)
  • Investigate the suitability of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment for a range of purposes (ACTDEK013)

Year 4 – Science

  • Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties that can influence their use (ACSSU074)

Syllabus outcomes: EN2-8B, EN2-9B, GE2-2, GE2-3ST2-11LW, ST2-14BE, ST2-15I , ST2-16P, ST2-13MW

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 3 & 4 achievement standards: 

Year 4 – Humanities and Social Sciences
Students examine the concept of sustainability, and its application to resource use and waste management, past and present, by different groups.

Years 3 & 4 – Design and Technologies
Students examine social and environmental sustainability implications of existing products and processes to raise awareness of their place in the world.

Year 4 – Science
Students broaden their understanding of classification and form and function through an exploration of the properties of natural and processed materials.

Topic: Sustainability, Consumption, STEM. 

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

Time required: 90 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – Teacher will need to provide support and scaffolding for activities.

Resources required:

  • Student Worksheets (one per student)
  • A device capable of presenting videos to the class
  • Parts Of A Phone to project to the class
  • Blank paper and pens/pencils
  • Four buckets or containers with labels (see Part C preparation)
  • When We Mine‘ ebook to project to the whole class
  • Hot Potato Question Sheets (one per group of approx 4 students)
  • Scorecard (one per group of approx 4 students)
  • Enough old mobile phones for groups of four students to have one each OR a class set of the Paper Phone Worksheet.

Note: If you choose to collect your own phones follow these instructions to deconstruct, How to Take Apart a Phone.

Keywords: Mobile Muster, Mobile phones, natural resources, processed materials, waste, materials, mining, manufacturing, sustainability, environment, recycling, technical writing, components, building, design, STEM.

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 the basic design elements of mobile phones
  • … understand how materials are processed and combined to construct mobile phones
  • … understand that mobile phone components are manufactured in a factory.

Success criteria: Students can …

  • … construct a representation of a mobile phone from components
  • … describe the process of how mobile phones are constructed.

Teacher content information:

After the materials used to make a mobile phone have been mined (see the previous lesson, MobileMuster - Resource Extraction Game - Years 3 & 4), they have to be processed into a usable form. This process varies depending on the material. For example, to make the plastic cases and other plastic parts, crude oil is combined with natural gas and chemicals in a processing plant to make plastic. On the other hand, something like copper would be ground, heated, and treated with chemicals and electricity to refine the pur

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: In Australia, there are over 25 million unused mobile phones! That's one per person. 

Use this table to score the other group's instructions:

  0 Points 1 Point 2 Points 3 Points
Plans (labeled diagram) No plan was developed. Plan has no labels, was messy and the instructions were difficult to follow.

Plan has some labels and is well presented, but the instructions could be clearer.

Plan is labeled, very well presented and instructions are easy to follow.


In your groups, reflect on what you learnt from, and how you participated in the activities today, and complete the table below. You can focus on any aspect of the lesson and its activities (e.g. What was a positive (plus) about how you worked as a team? What was a negative (minus) about how mobile phones are made?):

Plus Minus Interesting






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