Activity Introduction

old-television-heroQuick summary: In this lesson, students explore the impacts of peoples consumer habits and desire for new products. They will learn that our personal resource use can have effects on places and environments throughout the world.

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.


Learning intentions:

  • Students recognise the persuasive power of advertising and some of the tactics used in advertising.
  • Students understand that these tactics can be used to inspire people to consume less instead of more.
  • Students share their experiences and inspire others to take action.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingProblem FindingProblem SolvingTeam Work              

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Year 9 English:

  • Analyse how the construction and interpretation of texts, including media texts, can be influenced by cultural perspectives and other texts (ACELY1739)

Year 9 Economics and Business:

  • How and why businesses seek to create and maintain a competitive advantage in the global market (ACHEK041)
  • Reflect on the intended and unintended consequences of economic and business decisions (ACHES049)

Year 10 English:

  • Analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices (ACELY1749)

Year 10 Economics and Business:

  • Factors that influence major consumer and financial decisions and the short- and long-term consequences of these decisions (ACHEK053)
  • Reflect on the intended and unintended consequences of economic and business decisions (ACHES061)

Year 9 & 10 Design and Technologies:

  • Critically analyse factors, including social, ethical and sustainability considerations, that impact on designed solutions for global preferred futures and the complex design and production processes involved (ACTDEK040)

Syllabus Outcomes: EN5-7D, EN5-8D, D&T5.3.1, D&T5.3.2, C5.2, C5.3, C5.4, C5.5.

General capabilities: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding.

Time needed: 60+ minutes – this activity can be extended over several sessions.

Resources required: Internet, Student Worksheet.

Keywords: National Recycling Week, Resources, Rubbish, Re-using, Recycling, advertising, consumerism.

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

What you will need: Every student will need internet access for this lesson. Students should be advised prior to the class to bring their own devices, or a computer lab lesson should be arranged. Teachers may copy one Student Worksheet for each student or have students work from the online Student Worksheet.

Teacher content information: Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week started in 1996 to bring a national focus to the environmental benefits of recycling. This highly regarded annual campaign continues to educate and stimulate behaviour change by promoting kerbside, industrial and community recycling initiative. It also gives people the tools to minimise waste and manage material resources responsibly at home, work and school.

Hot tips: This activity requires student preparation. Ask students to complete the preparation activity on the Student Worksheet before coming to class.

Teaching sequence

Work through this resource material in the following sequence:

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: How does buying something new make you feel?


Find an example of an advertisement for a product that you believe drives consumerism and creates unnecessary waste. Your example can be a video, audio or print advertisement. Take a photo of the advertisement, record the advertisement or record the URL so you can share your example with the class. Also answer the following questions:

Why did you pick this ad?

How do you think this ad drives consumerism?

How do you think this product creates unnecessary waste?


Understanding advertising

1. Advertising tactics

Working in groups, brainstorm some of the tactics (such as music or humour) used by advertisers to sell products. Record your brainstorm using or mindmeister.


2. What advertising tactics are used in the ad you chose?

Working independently, take another look at the advertisement you chose for the Preparation Activity. Answer the following questions:

What tactics do you think were

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