Quick summary: In this activity students investigate the composition of recyclable materials and look at how the composition affects the rate of break down. In two competing groups, student work to order a range of different waste materials in the order that they break down from fastest to slowest. Finally they are asked to create a poster or infographic describing break down rates of waste materials and tips for reducing waste.
This lesson has been developed as part of the Schools Recycle Right Challenge for Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week. Register your lesson or other activities so they can be counted towards the national achievement and to receive other free support materials.
- Students understand that waste materials have different rates of decomposition.
- Students recognise that these rates can vary from several weeks to forever.
- Students understand that we all have a role to play in reducing waste in our environment.
Australian Curriculum content descriptions:
Year 4 Science
- Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties; These properties can influence their use (ACSSU074)
- Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE062)
- Represent and communicate ideas and findings in a variety of ways such as diagrams, physical representations and simple reports (ACSIS071)
Year 4 Geography
- The use and management of natural resources and waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably (ACHASSK090)
- Present ideas, findings and conclusions in texts and modes that incorporate digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms (ACHASSI082)
- Reflect on learning to propose actions in response to an issue or challenge and consider possible effects of proposed actions (ACHASSI081)
Topic:National Recycling Week
Time required: 60 mins
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity, facilitate discussion, print out and distribute worksheets.
Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities, infographic creation (optional).
There’s an app for that: iRecycle – iRecycle provides access to more than 1,600,000 ways to recycle over 350 materials.
Keywords: Recycling, aluminium, waste, paper making.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.
These Planet Ark resources were developed by Cool Australia with funding from the Alcoa Foundation.