Activity Introduction

Mirvac-building-8-heroQuick summary: This lesson is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to enter the Nudge by Mirvac – Sustainability Film Competition. Students investigate four of the resources (water, energy, waste and materials) essential to sustainable house design and examine how they are currently used. With their knowledge of these resources they then re-imagine these resources in new ways. In the first part of the activity students look at their own understanding of sustainability and sustainable house design, and they investigate the four resources in depth. In the second part of the activity students create a 3D model of a house of the future using natural and synthetic materials and incorporating their understanding of sustainable house design and practices.

Activity developed in partnership with Nudge_bymirvac

This lesson is part of the Nudge by Mirvac – Sustainability Film Competition unit. The Competition encourages young people (up to 18 years) to make a short film aimed at giving our community a ‘nudge’ on sustainability: ‘Nudge a neighbour, change a behaviour’. This year’s competition is focused on the theme “Re-imagining Resources”.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand principles of sustainability and sustainable house design.
  • Students recognise how we use resources in our houses.
  • Students understand that there are more ways to use resources than we currently do.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.8.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 7 & 8 Design and Technologies

  • Examine and prioritise competing factors including social, ethical and sustainability considerations in the development of technologies and designed solutions to meet community needs for preferred futures (ACTDEK029).
  • Critique needs or opportunities for designing and investigate, analyse and select from a range of materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to develop design ideas (ACTDEP035).

Topic: Nudge by Mirvac – Sustainability Film Competition, Sustainability.

Time required: 2 x 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – oversee activity, lead students in discussion.

Resources required: A range of natural and synthetic materials for 3D house construction (such as wood, wool, plastic, plant matter, metal or foil, cardboard or paper, etc), butcher’s paper, Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet, Definitions of sustainability, Sustainability factsheet – secondary, Sustainable buildings factsheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Infographic creation e.g. Piktochart (DIY infographic information), digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: Mirvac, resources, water, waste, energy, materials.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Mirvac-building-4-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: By participating in this activity students will understand principles of sustainability and sustainable house design. They will recognise how we use resources in our houses and understand that there are more ways to use resources than we currently do.

Teacher content information: Buildings in Australia account for about 20% of our national greenhouse gas emissions. Waste associated with buildings (including demolition) accounts for about 40% of our materials going to landfill. Then there’s the water used daily in buildings and the materials required to build our buildings. It can all add up to a pretty massive impact on our environment.

However, there is an increasing emphasis on sustainable building design and construction. These green buildings are both environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout their life-cycles, from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition.

Australia's gr

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How green are your school buildings?

Step 1. What is sustainability?

Work independently to answer the following questions:

What three words can you use to describe sustainability?

What is your own definition of sustainability?

What do you think a sustainable house might be?

What are some examples of sustainable house practices and technologies?

Once complete turn to a partner and share your answers. Do you want to make any changes to your ideas following your discussion? Do you have any more questions you would like answered?

When you have both shared your ideas and made any changes, write the answers to your questions on some sticky notes and stick them on the board next to the relevant questions.

Step 2. Investigating resources

What resource is your group investigating?

What are some of the core principles of sustainable design as they relate to this resource? (For example, reducing demand, recycling or minimising waste.)

Why are these important f

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