Quick summary: In this activity students weigh the different types of waste that are left over from their lunches and snacks over the course of a week. At the end of each day, students are asked to weigh their waste and record the results. At the end of the week, students add up the amounts of waste and analyse the results, making suggestions on how lunchbox waste can be reduced.
- Students learn that leftover food waste and packaging makes up a large part of the solid waste produced in any school classroom.
- Students understand that much of this waste can be recycled, added to a compost heap/worm farm or fed to the chooks/rabbits.
Australian Curriculum content description:
Year 3 Mathematics
- Recognise and explain the connection between addition and subtraction (ACMNA054)
- Measure, order and compare objects using familiar metric units of length, mass and capacity (ACMMG061)
Year 3 Science
- Safely use appropriate materials, tools or equipment to make and record observations, using formal measurements and digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS055)
- Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings (ACSIS215)
Year 4 Mathematics
- Use scaled instruments to measure and compare lengths, masses, capacities and temperatures (ACMMG084)
Year 4 Science
- Use a range of methods including tables and simple column graphs to represent data and to identify patterns and trends (ACSIS068)
- Compare results with predictions, suggesting possible reasons for findings (ACSIS216)
Year 4 Geography
- The use and management of natural resources and waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably (ACHASSK090)
Syllabus outcomes: GE2-3, ST2-4WS, MA2-11MG, MA2-12MG, MA2-9MG, MA2‑1WM, MA2‑2WM, MA2‑3WM, MA2‑5NA.
Topic: Solid waste
Time required: This activity is intended to be carried out over the course of a week. It requires 15-30 mins at the end of each day for weighing of collected waste, and further time at the end of the experiment for closing discussion and reflection activities.
Level of teacher scaffolding: High – gather equipment, teach content and manage practical exercise.
Resources required: Scales, five buckets, rubber gloves.
Digital learning opportunities:
Homework and extension opportunities: This activity includes opportunities for homework and extension.
Key words: Waste, food, scraps, lunchbox, recycling, weight.
Safety: Students who weigh the buckets of food and empty the contents to other containers should wear gloves. The buckets should be rinsed thoroughly.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.