Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students will explore the circular economy and the importance of considering the environment and sustainability when developing designs for products and packaging. They will explore how Tetra Paks are made, learn about what can be done when they are finished with them, identify whether they are recyclable and explore the steps the company is taking to work towards a circular economy.

This lesson has been developed as part of Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week, which aims to raise awareness around the benefits of using recycled products. Take part in the Schools Recycling Right Challenge for Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week. Register your lesson or other activities today!

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand what a circular economy is.
  • Students understand the role of businesses and corporations in preparing for the future.
  • Students are able to locate and interpret information in a text they have read.

21st century skills: 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5 English:

  • Present a point of view about particular literary texts using appropriate metalanguage, and reflecting on the viewpoints of others (ACELT1609)
  • Clarify understanding of content as it unfolds in formal and informal situations, connecting ideas to students’ own experiences and present and justify a point of view (ACELY1699)
  • Navigate and read texts for specific purposes applying appropriate text processing strategies, for example predicting and confirming, monitoring meaning, skimming and scanning (ACELY1702)
  • Use comprehension strategies to analyse information, integrating and linking ideas from a variety of print and digital sources (ACELY1703).

Year 6 English:

  • Make connections between students’ own experiences and those of characters and events represented in texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts (ACELT1613)
  • Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse information and ideas, comparing content from a variety of textual sources including media and digital texts (ACELY1713).

Year 5 & 6 Digital Technology

  • 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: EN3-2A, EN3-1A, EN3-8D, EN3-3A 

General capabilities: LiteracyCritical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 5 English achievement standards: Students explain how text structures assist in understanding the text. They understand how language features, images and vocabulary influence interpretations of characters, settings and events. When reading, they encounter and decode unfamiliar words using phonic, grammatical, semantic and contextual knowledge. They analyse and explain literal and implied information from a variety of texts. They listen and ask questions to clarify content.

Relevant parts of Year 6 English achievement standards: Students understand how the use of text structures can achieve particular effects. Students compare and analyse information in different and complex texts, explaining literal and implied meaning. They select and use evidence from a text to explain their response to it. They listen to discussions, clarifying content and challenging others’ ideas.

Relevant parts of Year 5 & 6 Digital Technologies achievement standards: Students explain how social, ethical, technical and sustainability considerations influence the design of solutions to meet a range of present and future needs.

Topic: National Recycling Week, Sustainability, Waste, Consumption

Unit of work: National Recycling Week – Primary

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – support students to understand linear and circular economies through discussion.

Resources required: Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Life of a Drink Carton Worksheet – one per student. Circular Economy Worksheet – one per group. Beverage in a Tetra Pak carton – one per student (optional).

Keywords: economy, circular economy, linear economy, recycle, recycling, sustainable, Tetra Pak, biodegradable, renewable, landfill. 

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 what a circular economy is. 
  • ...understand the role of businesses and corporations in preparing for the future.
  • able to locate and interpret information in a text they have read.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • …explain what a circular economy is.
  • …explain the benefits of a circular economy.
  • …explain the impact the choices and practices of large businesses have on the wellbeing of the planet.
  • …locate and interpret information in a print text.

Teacher content information: 
This lesson has been developed as part of Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week and aims to raise awareness around the benefits of recycling Tetra Pak cartons. National Recycling Week brings a national focus to the environmental benefits of recycling and is an opportunity to explore recycling and sustainability with your class. 

Tetra Pak – In 2016, Tetra Pak joined the Circular Economy 100, a group of organisat

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