Activity Introduction

Mirvac-building-3-heroQuick summary: This lesson is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills to enter the Nudge by Mirvac – Sustainability Film Competition. Looking at four resources (water, energy, waste and materials) essential to house design, students examine the core principles of sustainable building design and investigate the four resources – and their relationship to sustainable building design – in depth. In the second part of the activity they take the four resources and re-imagine their use in new ways, creating a 3D model of a community 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 households and communities.
  • 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 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).
  • Explain how products, services and environments evolve with consideration of preferred futures and the impact of emerging technologies on design decisions (ACTDEK041).
  • Critique needs or opportunities to develop design briefs and investigate and select an increasingly sophisticated range of materials, systems, components, tools and equipment to develop design ideas (ACTDEP048).

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, Sustainable buildings factsheet, Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Prezi creation, digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: Mirvac, resources, waste, energy, water, materials, sustainability, sustainable building design, green buildings, community, future.

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


Teacher Worksheet

Solar-MirvacTeacher 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?

Write your own definition of sustainability here:

What is a green building? What is a green community?

Write your own definition of a green building here:

Write your own definition of a green community here:


Three thoughts I have about green buildings and communities:




Two questions I have about green buildings or communities:



One analogy I have about green buildings:


Step 2. Investigating resources

What point is your group investigating?

For each of those groups investigating a resource, answer the following six questions:

1. What resource is your group investigating?

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

3. Why are these important for t

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