Activity Introduction

plantation4WWF-Logo-small1Quick summary: Students participate in a barometer activity where they are asked whether they agree or disagree with a range of statements on palm oil and consumption. The aim of this activity is for teachers to gauge student awareness of these topics. Following this, students build their questioning skills by asking questions relating to the topic of palm oil and consumption, and categorise these questions as either Googleable and Non-Googleable. Students will then explore some of these questions in more depth.

This lesson has been developed in partnership with WWF-Australia. WWF has been working to promote the transition away from conventional palm oil production to Certified Sustainable Palm Oil that conserves forests, protects species, and secures livelihoods.

Essential questions:

  • What is the relationship between palm oil consumption and the environment?
  • What is my role as a consumer of palm oil and why should I make choices about buying products containing palm oil?
  • Why are there trade-offs associated with making decisions about consuming palm oil?
  • How can I use my consumer power to affect positive change with regards to palm oil?
  • How can I use the Internet to help me find out more about palm oil production and consumption?

21st Century skills:

Critical Thinking Creative Thinking Communicating Digital Literacy Problem Finding Problem Solving

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 5 HASS

  • The difference between needs and wants and why choices need to be made about how limited resources are used (ACHASSK119)
  • Influences on consumer choices and methods that can be used to help make informed personal consumer and financial choices (ACHASSK121) 

Year 5 English

  • Clarify understanding of content as it unfolds in formal and informal situations, connecting ideas to students’ own experiences and present and justify a point of view (ACELY1699)

Year 6 HASS

  • The effect that consumer and financial decisions can have on the individual, the broader community and the environment (ACHASSK150)

Year 6 English

  • Participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions (ACELY1709)

Syllabus OutcomesEN3-1A, EN3-8D.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, ICT Capability.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.3, OI.5, OI.7.

Relevant part of the Year 5 HASS achievement standards:

Students identify and describe the interconnections between people and the human and environmental characteristics of places, and recognise the effects of these interconnections on the characteristics of places and environments.

Relevant part of the Year 6 HASS achievement standards:

Students recognise why choices about the allocation of resources involve trade-offs and explain why it is important to be informed when making consumer and financial decisions.

Topic: Sustainable Palm Oil, Consumption.

Unit of lessons: Sustainable Palm Oil.

Time required: 60+ mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – facilitate Stand on the Line activity, facilitate sorting of Googleable and Non-Googleable questions.

Resources required: Sticky notes, pens, string or masking tape, 1 x sign saying ‘DISAGREE’, 1 x sign saying ‘AGREE’, 1 x sign saying ‘NOT SURE’, one food wrapper and one shampoo bottle that you can see the ingredients of. Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Palm oil factsheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Keywords: Palm oil, needs, wants, consumption, barometer activity, Google, questions.

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


Teacher Worksheet

plantation2Teacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: The aim of this activity is to gauge students' prior knowledge of palm oil and consumption. Students are introduced to the topic of palm oil and are asked to consider the relationship between consumption and palm oil. Students are also asked to start making connections between their own personal consumption of goods and the impacts of palm oil production on people and the environment.

Teacher content information: Palm oil is an edible oil that comes from the fruit of oil palm trees (Elaeis guineensis). It is a highly versatile oil, used as an ingredient in many foods, cosmetics and cleaning products that you find in your supermarket.

Palm oil production and consumption continues to grow: globally we now use over 50 million tonnes per year and this figure is expected to grow by another 50% by 2050. This growing global demand for palm oil has driven development of vast plantations in key growing countries in South East Asia, as well as in

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How do you consume palm oil?

Googleable questions

As a group, spend five minutes researching the answer to your Googleable question, then write the answer in the table below. Remember to keep it REAL when searching for your answer (see below).

search strategies small

Our Googleable question:

The answer to our question according to Google:

Where we found our answer:



Think about the activities you did in this lesson and complete the following table:




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