Activity Introduction

mobile-phones-photoframe-3Quick summary: In this lesson, students explore the concept of conflict minerals and gain an understanding of the impact of resources used in the production and consumption of mobile phones. Students will research the Fairphone social enterprise and design a Smartphone based on a more sustainable model.  

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 goals:

  • Students understand the role and impact of resource use;
  • Students understand the concept of conflict minerals;
  • Students begin to take responsibility for sustainable consumption habits.
  • Students share their experiences and inspire others to take action.

21st century skills: 

Creative ThinkingProblem SolvingTeam Work                

Australian Curriculum Mapping:

Year 9 & 10 Design and Technology

  • 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)
  • Explain how products, services and environments evolve with consideration of preferred futures and the impact of emerging technologies on design decisions (ACTDEK041)

Year 9 Geography:

  • The effects of the production and consumption of goods on places and environments throughout the world and including a country from North-East Asia (ACHGK068)
  • Present findings, arguments and explanations in a range of appropriate communication forms, selected for their effectiveness and to suit audience and purpose; using relevant geographical terminology, and digital technologies as appropriate (ACHGS070)

Year 10 Geography:

  • The environmental worldviews of people and their implications for environmental management (ACHGK071)
  • Present findings, arguments and explanations in a range of appropriate communication forms selected for their effectiveness and to suit audience and purpose, using relevant geographical terminology and digital technologies as appropriate (ACHGS079)

Syllabus Outcomes: GE4-2, GE4-3, GE4-4, GE4-5, GE5-4, GE5-8, D&T5.3.1, D&T5.3.2, D&T5.2.1, D&T5.3.1, D&T5.3.2.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Ethical understanding.

Topics: Consumption, National Recycling Week.

Time needed: 180 minutes

Key words: National Recycling Week, Resources, Resources, Consumerism, Mobile Muster

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: 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 can have students work from the digital 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.

Teaching Sequence

Throughout this lesson, students will learn about the social, ethical and environmental considerations for the production and consumption of mobile phones.

Step 1. There are a lot of elements that go into a smartphone. View the image Chemical Elements of a Smartphone o

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: How many elements go into a smart phone? 

Activity 1: Fairphone Case study

Read about each of the Fairphone roadmaps by clicking on the links below.

Mining Roadmap Manufacturing Roadmap Design Roadmap Reuse and Recycling Roadmap

List how Fairphone are improving each stage of the mobile phone life-cycle.

Reuse and Recycling

Activity 2: Designing a Sustainable Smartphone

Begin brainstorming with your group about how you would promote the Fairphone and the principles it represents. Use either or MindMeister to record your brainstorming and other research resources listed below:

Step 3. Once you've completed your brainstorming, it's time to

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