Quick summary: Students explore single-use plastics. They begin by defining the term ‘single-use plastics’ and suggesting examples of single-use plastics. Students then explore some of the impacts of single-use plastics on our environment, including the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the impacts of microplastics. Students then focus on plastic water bottles and investigate why people choose to drink bottled water rather than tap water, before working collaboratively to create and share a tap water campaign.
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.
- Students understand what single-use plastics are and how they impact our environment
- Students understand what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is and what microplastics are
- Students recognise that tap water is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than bottled water.
21st century skills:
Australian Curriculum Mapping
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)
- 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 Science
- OPTIONAL – Identify, plan and apply the elements of scientific investigations to answer questions and solve problems using equipment and materials safely and identifying potential risks (ACSIS103)
- Communicate ideas, explanations and processes using scientific representations in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS110)
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.3, OI.7, 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.
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 Science achievement standards: Students collect, organise and interpret their data and construct multi-modal texts to communicate ideas, methods and findings.
Topic: Waste, sustainability.
This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: War On Waste – Years 4-6.
Time required: 80+ minutes.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate discussions and class activities, oversee group work and research activities, supervise water bottle challenge.
- Device capable of presenting an online clip to the class
- Great Pacific Garbage Patch Factsheet
- Microplastics Factsheet
- Microplastics Science Activity – Year 6
- Single-use Plastics Images
- Student Worksheet – one copy per student
Keywords: War On Waste, microplastics, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, plastic water bottles, tap water.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.