Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Students explore some of the numbers around waste, particularly plastic waste, in Australia and how this information is communicated. They begin by reflecting on an image of waste in nature before looking at a chart, comparing the information about waste that these two images convey. They then focus on plastic waste, looking at some of the problems associated with plastic waste before watching and reflecting on a clip from War On Waste that describes some of the numbers around plastic waste in Australia. Students then select a numbers-based fact around plastic waste and work in pairs to create their own communication piece to share this fact with an audience.

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 different types of waste produced in Australia
  • Students understand some of the impacts of plastic waste on our environment
  • Students understand how fractions and/or percentages can be used to communicate ideas about waste.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCritical ThinkingTeam Work                

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 4 Mathematics

  • Investigate equivalent fractions used in contexts (ACMNA077)

Year 4 HASS (Geography)

  • The use and management of natural resources and waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably (ACHASSK090)
  • Locate and collect information and data from different sources, including observations (ACHASSI074)
  • Interact with others with respect to share points of view (ACHASSI080)
  • Present ideas, findings and conclusions in texts and modes that incorporate digital and non-digital representations and discipline-specific terms (ACHASSI082)

Year 5 Mathematics

  • Compare and order common unit fractions and locate and represent them on a number line (ACMNA102)
  • Compare, order and represent decimals (ACMNA105)

Year 5 HASS

  • Locate and collect relevant information and data from primary sources and secondary sources (ACHASSI095)
  • 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 Mathematics

  • Make connections between equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages (ACMNA131)
  • Interpret secondary data presented in digital media and elsewhere (ACMSP148)

Year 6 HASS

  • 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)
  • 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 (ACHASSI133)

Syllabus outcomes: MA2‑1WM, MA2‑3WM, MA2‑7NA, MA3‑1WM, MA3‑2WM, MA3‑3WM, MA3‑7NA, GE2-2, GE2-3, GE2-4, GE3-4.

General capabilities: Numeracy, Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.8.

Relevant parts of Year 4 Mathematics achievement standards: Students recognise common equivalent fractions in familiar contexts and make connections between fraction and decimal notations up to two decimal places.

Relevant parts of Year 4 HASS achievement standards: Students identify the interconnections between components of the environment and between people and the environment. They locate, collect and sort information and data from different sources, and propose individual action in response to a local geographical challenge and identify some possible effects of their proposed action.

Relevant parts of Year 5 Mathematics achievement standards: Students order decimals and unit fractions.

Relevant parts of Year 5 HASS achievement standards: Students locate and collect data and information from a range of sources to answer inquiry questions. They work with others to present their ideas, findings and conclusions in a range of communication forms using discipline-specific terms and appropriate conventions.

Relevant parts of Year 6 Mathematics achievement standards: Students connect fractions, decimals and percentages as different representations of the same number.

Relevant parts of Year 6 HASS achievement standards: Students identify the purpose of business and recognise the different ways that businesses choose to provide goods and services. They locate and collect useful data and information from primary and secondary sources, and present ideas, findings, viewpoints and conclusions in a range of communication forms.

Topic: Waste, sustainability.

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

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate guided discussion and lead students in activities.

Resources required:

Keywords: War On Waste, plastic, waste, Australia, fractions, percentages, decimals.

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 different types of waste produced in Australia
  • … understand some of the impacts of plastic waste on our environment
  • … understand how fractions and/or percentages can be used to communicate ideas about waste.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … interpret and communicate fractions and/or percentages
  • … communicate ideas about waste to an audience
  • … work independently or collaboratively
  • ... participate in group or class discussions.

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 shows, we're still trying to solve the issue of waste in Australia.

Why is this the case? War On Waste, highlighted the confusion consumers have

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: People are much less likely to litter in areas that are clean while places that are already littered tend to keep attracting more litter. 

See Think Wonder

Spend some time looking at this image and answer the questions below:

What do you see in this image?

What does this image make you think about?

What does this image make you wonder? What questions do you have about this image?

Diving Into The Numbers Around Plastic Waste

After you've watched the clip from War On Waste, work in pairs to answer the following questions:

What did you find interesting or important about this clip?

What types of plastic waste did you see?

Why do you think a giant foot was used to demonstrate the amount of plastic waste being used?

Do you think using a giant foot is a good way of communicating the amount of plastic waste that we use? Why or why not?

How does this plastic foot compare to both the chart and the image of plastic waste you looked at earlier? Does it

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