Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students become more familiar with some of the technical terms (and meanings) associated with solid waste. Students are asked to research terms and create definitions for these terms that will then be used in a class game. Finally, students are asked to think of a question they would like answered about waste, and to either undertake research to answer this question or swap their question with another student, and research and report back to their classmate the answers they found to the question.

This activity has been adapted from Learning to Give (

Learning goals:

  • Students understand that waste is a major issue for all parts of society.
  • Students learn that we have developed many strategies for dealing with waste and for minimising its generation.

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

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 5 Science

  • Scientific knowledge is used to inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE217)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093)

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)

Year 6 Science

  • Scientific knowledge is used to inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE220)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS110)

Syllabus OutcomesST3-6PW, ST3-4WSEN3-1A.

Topic: Solid Waste

Time required: 45+ mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – assist students with defining waste related terms and with research, and facilitate game.

Resources required: Printed copy of student worksheet for each student, copy of cards worksheet, cut along the lines, access to definitions table at end of teacher worksheet for teacher, sticky tape, drawing and writing materials, computer with Internet access.

Homework and extension opportunities: Parts of this activity can be set as homework.

Keywords: Waste, disposal, recycling, sorting, councils, government.


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:

Overarching learning goal: In this activity students will be exploring a range of technical terms that describe parts of the waste cycle.

Teacher content information: There are almost as many different types of waste disposal as there are types of waste. This is because different types of waste require different treatments. For example, while food waste will break down in a short amount of time with a small impact on the surrounding environment, a battery left to break down in the same way will leech contaminants into the surrounding environment. Our local councils tend to be the ones responsible for much of our waste sorting, recycling and disposal.

Hot tips: Encourage students to illustrate the definitions on the worksheet according to what will help them remember the definition, not what they think the illustration should look like or what might be the correct picture. For example, instead of drawing an incineration plant for the word 'Incineration' stude

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Student Worksheet

What do you know about different types of waste and different ways to dispose of waste?

In Column 1 of the tables below you will find types of waste, types of waste disposal and organisations responsible for waste and a healthy environment.

In Column 2, write a definition next to each of the items in Column 1 (if you don't know what it is, do some research on the Internet to find out).

In Column 3, draw a picture to illustrate the item in Column 1 and its definition. You should draw your picture in such a way that it helps to remind you of what the definition is, without actually reading the definition.

When have finished all your definitions and drawings, you will need to fold your worksheet to hide Column 2. You can do this by :

  1. Folding along the line dividing Columns 1 and 2;
  2. Folding along the line dividing Columns 2 and 3;
  3. Make a fold in the middle of Column 2, parallel to the other folds. Fold Column 2 in half so that you can’t see the writing and stick the two sides t
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