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Years 5 and 6: Waste in the classroom - by subject


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Waste education resources for Queensland Years 5 and 6 classrooms

This Waste Education Queensland Waste in the classroom guide is designed to support teachers by providing easy-to-use, stand-alone activities which develop student understanding about waste issues. It identifies high quality curriculum resources linked to the Australian Curriculum F–10 that are suitable for Years 5 and 6 classrooms.

The guide provides links to high quality lesson plans, hands-on activities, videos, art projects made from reused or recycled items, games, book suggestions, science and STEM investigations, waste audits, and design and technology challenges. A range of active learning strategies using hands-on, inquiry-based or project-based activities with real-life contexts allow students to make sense of their world and support their decision-making processes and choices about caring for their environment.

The curriculum resources are organised by subject area i.e. Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) Civics and Citizenship, HASS (Geography), The Arts (Visual Arts), Design and Technologies, Mathematics, Science and key sustainable waste management topics suggested by experienced waste educators and informed by the Queensland Government Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy: Community Summary.

The waste management topics are:

  • Taking action on waste: giving students a voice about how they can make a difference towards how waste is managed at school and in the home, reduce litter, audit waste, create community campaigns, build stewardship, run clean-ups
  • Sustainable waste management: understanding how waste systems work, where waste comes from and where it goes, what infrastructure is required (e.g. bins, landfills, recycling facilities), processes, environmental impacts
  • Materials and their value: maximising the value of the resources we use; includes what materials are made from, the properties and uses of materials, the circular economy
  • Rethink: avoid and reduce: minimising what we buy and avoiding disposable or overpackaged items
  • Repair and reuse: using the same item more than once, preferably many times, and repairing it rather than throwing it out. Sell valuable items or donate them to charity.
  • Reduce organic waste: buying only what is needed, storing food carefully, cooking food and using leftovers, composting and worm farming organic waste (green waste and food waste)
  • Recycle: recycle as much as possible and recycle right

A Waste education glossary provides additional explanation and elaboration for waste terminology.

The How to manage waste in schools and early learning centres section of the Waste Education Queensland website contains additional resources for managing waste in your centre or school including:

  • Managing waste in your school
  • Organic waste management in schools and early learning centres
  • Waste education book list for children
  • School grant application tips—expert advice and links
  • Waste education glossary

Waste education and Sustainability

The Australian Curriculum emphasises the importance of Sustainability as a cross-curricular priority in developing students’ understanding, skills, behaviours and attributes that enable them to contribute to a sustainable future for the planet. Many of the classroom resources listed in this guide link to this Sustainability cross-curriculum priority particularly relating to the organising ideas (OI)[1]:

  • OI3—Sustainable patterns of living rely on the interdependence of healthy social, economic and ecological systems.
  • OI7—Actions for a more sustainable future reflect values of care, respect and responsibility, and require us to explore and understand environments.
  • OI8—Designing action for sustainability requires an evaluation of past practices, the assessment of scientific and technological developments, and balanced judgements based on projected future economic, social and environmental impacts.

Waste education and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures

Similarly, the Australian Curriculum recognises the importance of embedding understandings about Australia’s First Nations across the learning areas to enable:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families to see their cultures reflected in the classroom learning and practice.
  • all students to understand and respect First Nation cultures and the goals of reconciliation.

The Caring for Country: First Nation peoples’ perspectives on managing our resources sustainably guide links to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority. It aims to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and provide valuable learning strategies for all students. The following organising ideas (OI) are relevant to sustainable waste management education in schools:

  • OI2—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities maintain a special connection to and responsibility for Country/Place.
  • OI5—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ ways of life are uniquely expressed through ways of being, knowing, thinking and doing.

[1] All the Australian Curriculum text quoted in this document is copyrighted to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) 2010 to present, unless otherwise indicated. This material was downloaded from the Australian Curriculum website (accessed 5 August 2019) and was not modified. The material is licensed under CC BY 4.0. Version updates are tracked in the ‘Curriculum version history’ section on the 'About the Australian Curriculum' page of the Australian Curriculum website.

ACARA does not endorse any product that uses the Australian Curriculum or make any representations as to the quality of such products. Any product that uses material published on this website should not be taken to be affiliated with ACARA or have the sponsorship or approval of ACARA.

It is up to each person to make their own assessment of the product, taking into account matters including, but not limited to, the version number and the degree to which the materials align with the content descriptions and achievement standards (where relevant). Where there is a claim of alignment, it is important to check that the materials align with the content descriptions and achievement standards (endorsed by all education Ministers), not the elaborations (examples provided by ACARA).

This document is part of the suite of free waste education resources at www.wasteeducation-qld.org


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