Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this activity students investigate what happens to different solid waste streams in their local area.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand that there are a number of different waste streams in a school.
  • Students recognise that each waste stream has a different pathway after it leaves a school.
  • Students recognise that there are a number of different facilities in a particular region that handle each of these waste streams.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 9 Geography

  • Develop geographically significant questions and plan an inquiry that identifies and applies appropriate geographical methodologies and concepts (ACHGS063)
  • Collect, select, record and organise relevant geographical data and information, using ethical protocols, from a range of appropriate primary and secondary sources (ACHGS064)
  • The effects of the production and consumption of goods on places and environments throughout the world (ACHGK068)
  • Present findings, arguments and explanations in a range of appropriate communication forms, selected for their effectiveness and to suit audience and purpose; using relevant geographical terminology, and digital technologies as appropriate (ACHGS070)

Syllabus OutcomesGE4-2, GE4-3, GE4-4, GE4-5,  GE5-7, GE5-8

Topic: Solid waste

Time required: 60 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – introduce and direct activity.

Resources required: Art materials, computer with internet access.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity includes opportunities for extension.

Safety: Students follow Class Waste Safety Code.

Keywords: Waste, streams, facilities, community.

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 investigate what happens to different solid waste streams in their local area.

Hot tips: This activity can support and extend upon student work from the activity '5 minute school waste tour'. Findings from that activity can be used in this activity.

Student and classroom organisation:

Step 1. Begin this activity by asking students to think about all the different waste streams that leave your school and list these on the board. These steams might include some of the following materials:

  • Organics (food scraps)
  • Organics (garden waste)
  •  Paper and cardboard
  • Recyclables (Plastic bottles, aluminium cans, steel cans and glass)
  • Printer or photocopier cartridges
  • Other items such as corks or unwanted clothing/household goods
  • Rubbish

Step 2. Ask the students to share what they already know about what they think happens to the materials in each of the school’s different waste streams and to write the

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Student Worksheet

What do we know about where waste goes at our school?

Use the worksheet below to guide your research into your type of waste, or create your own. Once complete, prepare a presentation with the results of your research and the answers to your waste questions.

The type of waste we are looking at is:


The questions about our type of waste and where it goes that we would like answered are:


Our plan for finding out this information is:


If contacting someone at the Council or waste contracting company, the list of questions we want to ask are:


The results of our research (including the answers to our waste questions):


Useful Resources

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