Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students explore the impact of plastic straws on marine animals. They begin by sharing what they already know about single-use plastics, straws and our environment. They then explore the impacts of straws on marine animals in detail. Students work collaboratively to create a communication piece to share with their school or local community, the aim of which is to provide their community with reasons for not using plastic straws as well as information about alternatives to plastic straws.

Cool Australia’s War On Waste lessons have been developed in partnership with Lune Media and with support from the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network. These lessons have been designed to lead students through a deeper understanding of some of the big issues relating to waste in Australia and to support them to take action to reduce the impact of waste on our environment. To access the full War On Waste unit for Years 4 to 6, click here.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand what single-use plastics are
  • Students understand that straws are one kind of single-use plastic that has a big impact on our environment
  • Students understand that they can drive positive change for our environment.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCommunity EngagementCritical ThinkingTeam Work               

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 4 Science

  • Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties that can influence their use (ACSSU074)
  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE062)
  • Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings using formal and informal representations (ACSIS071)

Year 4 HASS

  • The use and management of natural resources and waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably (ACHASSK090)
  • Present ideas, findings and conclusions in texts and modes that incorporate digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms (ACHASSI082)

Year 5 Science

  • Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE083)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093)

Year 5 HASS

  • The environmental and human influences on the location and characteristics of a place and the management of spaces within them (ACHASSK113)
  • Work in groups to generate responses to issues and challenges (ACHASSI102)
  • Present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of texts and modes that incorporate source materials, digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms and conventions (ACHASSI105)

Year 6 HASS

  • Develop appropriate questions to guide an inquiry about people, events, developments, places, systems and challenges (ACHASSI122)
  • Organise and represent data in a range of formats including tables, graphs and large- and small-scale maps, using discipline-appropriate conventions (ACHASSI124)
  • Locate and collect relevant information and data from primary sources and secondary sources (ACHASSI123)
  • Work in groups to generate responses to issues and challenges (ACHASSI130)
  • Reflect on learning to propose personal and/or collective action in response to an issue or challenge, and predict the probable effects (ACHASSI132)

Syllabus outcomes: ST2-13MW, ST2-11LW, ST2-4WS, ST3-7PW, ST3-4WS, GE2-2, GE2-3, GE2-4, GE3-2, GE3-3, GE3-4.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.9.

Relevant parts of Year 4 Science achievement standards: Students apply the observable properties of materials to explain how objects and materials can be used, and they identify when science is used to understand the effect of their actions. They use formal and informal ways to communicate their observations and findings.

Relevant parts of Year 4 HASS achievement standards: Students identify the interconnections between components of the environment and between people and the environment, and present ideas, findings and conclusions using discipline-specific terms in a range of communication forms.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Science achievement standards: Students discuss how scientific developments help us solve problems. They communicate their ideas and findings using multi-modal texts.

Relevant parts of Year 5 HASS achievement standards: Students identify and describe the interconnections between people and the human and environmental characteristics of places, and present findings and ideas in a range of communication forms.

Relevant parts of Year 6 HASS achievement standards: Students develop appropriate questions to frame an investigation. They locate and collect useful data and information from primary and secondary sources. Students organise and represent data in a range of formats and collaboratively generate alternative responses to an issue.

Topic: Waste, sustainability.

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: War On Waste – Years 4-6.

Time required: 90+ mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium to high – varies depending on the final task. A lower level of teacher scaffolding may be required for factsheet or art creation, while a higher level may be required for conducting and analysing surveys.

Resources required:

Keywords: War On Waste, plastic waste, straws, environment, animals.

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

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students will…

  • ... understand what single-use plastics are
  • ... understand that straws are one kind of single-use plastic that has a big impact on our environment
  • ... understand that they can drive positive change for our environment.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … participate in class discussions
  • ... work collaboratively or individually
  • … conduct a survey and analyse results to propose solutions to a real-world problem (optional)
  • … conduct and share research with an audience (optional)
  • … express and share thoughts and feelings about a real-world environmental issue through art (optional).

Teacher content information: In Australia, we began addressing the issue of waste in the 1960s and '70s with litter campaigns like Keep Australia Beautiful and Tidy Town Awards. With such a long history of waste reduction campaigns, you would think we had got on top of the waste issue; however, as the recent recycling crisis show

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: “It’s only one straw” said eight billion people...

The Final Straw

Reflect on the clip using the SEE THINK WONDER routine by answering the questions below:

What did you SEE in this clip? What was this clip about?

What does this clip make you THINK about?

What does this clip make you WONDER? What questions do you have about this clip?

Reflection

Work independently to complete the following pledge statement:

I pledge to stop using plastic straws because…

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