Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Through independent research, students will learn the design of and purpose behind the Australasian Recycling Labels. They will then creatively communicate these understandings and the labels to others in the form of an interactive board game.

This lesson has been developed as part of Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week. By participating in National Recycling Week you’ll be joining thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference and creating positive environmental change. 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 will identify the three Australasian Recycling Labels on a piece of packaging, and discern between their different meanings
  • Students will discuss the purpose behind these labels and their use
  • Students will communicate these understandings to others in a creative way.

21st century skills: 

Community EngagementCritical ThinkingEthical UnderstandingGlobal CitizenshipProblem Solving


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 5 & 6 HPE

  • Recognise how media and important people in the community influence personal attitudes, beliefs, decisions and behaviours (ACPPS057)

Year 5 Science

  • Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE083)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093)

Year 6 Science

  • Changes to materials can be reversible or irreversible (ACSSU095)
  • Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE100)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS110)

Year 5 & 6 Technologies

  • Examine how people in design and technologies occupations address competing considerations, including sustainability in the design of products, services, and environments for current and future use (ACTDEK019)
  • Investigate characteristics and properties of a range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment and evaluate the impact of their use (ACTDEK023)
  • Generate, develop and communicate design ideas and processes for audiences using appropriate technical terms and graphical representation techniques (ACTDEP025)

Year 5 & 6 Visual Arts

  • Develop and apply techniques and processes when making their artworks (ACAVAM115)
  • Plan the display of artworks to enhance their meaning for an audience (ACAVAM116)

Syllabus outcomes: DMS3.2, ST3-4WS, ST3-7PW, ST3-12MW, ST3-5WT, ST3-14BE, ST3-15I, ST3-16P, ST3-13MW, VAS3.1, VAS3.2

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

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Year 5&6 achievement standards: 

  • Students discuss how scientific developments have affected people’s lives, help us solve problems.
  • Students communicate their ideas and findings using multimodal texts.
  • By the end of Year 6, students explain how social, ethical, technical and sustainability considerations influence the design of solutions to meet a range of present and future needs.
  • By the end of Year 6, students describe competing considerations in the design of products, services and environments, taking into account sustainability.
  • By the end of Year 6, students explain how ideas are communicated in artworks they make. Students structure elements and processes of arts subjects to make artworks that communicate meaning.

Topic: National Recycling Week, Sustainability, Waste

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: National Recycling Week – Primary

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – Teacher to introduce the topic and general ideas, and allow students to explore and research independently.

Resources required:

  • Coloured pencils
  • Device capable of presenting a video to the class
  • Digital research device, such as an iPad or computer.
  • Paper (A3)

Keywords: Recycling, labels, Planet Ark, National Recycling Week, creative, design, research, game


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…

  • … discover a detailed understanding of the Australasian Recycling Label, and the evidence and intention behind it
  • … critically evaluate and discuss the need for recycling
  • … creatively communicate their understandings of how the Australasian Recycling Labels function.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … understand and summarise the evidence-based system behind the Australasian Recycling Label
  • … critically evaluate the purpose and intention behind the Australasian Recycling Label
  • … effectively and creatively communicate these understandings to others.

Teacher content information:

The Australasian Recycling Label is a system that provides you with easy to understand recycling information in order to remove confusion, save time, and reduce waste going to landfill.

The Australasian Recycling Labels with text to explain their meaning

Australians and New Zealanders care about the environment and want to do the right thing. When we dispose of our waste correctly, we keep non-recy

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