Science – Year 4

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Episode 31

7th November 2017

eacher Resource


Students will investigate their recycling habits and conduct an audit on their schools’ recycling program.

Science – Year 4
Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties that can influence their use
Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions 

    Science – Year 5 & 6

    Scientific knowledge is used to solve problems and inform personal and community decisions

HASS – Year 4

Reflect on learning to propose actions in response to an issue or challenge and consider possible effects of proposed actions

Geography – Year 4
The use and management of natural resources and waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably 


  1. Working in pairs, discuss the BTN Recycling Week story. Record the main points of the discussion.

  2. Who does Jo work for?

  3. Briefly explain the history of recycling in Australia.

  4. Australians now recycle around _________of all waste.

    1. 18%

    2. 38%

    3. 58%

  5. What sorts of things can be recycled? Give at least three examples.

  6. What should you do with the lids of tin cans?

  7. What should you do with cans and containers before you recycle them?

  8. How does recycling help the environment?

  9. What can be done to encourage people to recycle?

  10. What was surprising about the Recycling Week story?

Class discussion

Discuss the BTN Recycling story as a class. Record students’ responses on a mind map with ‘recycling’ in the centre. Add new words and concepts to the mind map as students’ progress through the activities in this resource.

Use these questions to help guide discussion:

  • What do you THINK about what you saw in this video?

  • What does this video make you WONDER?

  • Think of three questions you would like to ask the recycling expert in the BTN Recycling story.

  • What does recycling mean to you? Leave your comment on the BTN Recycling story page.

  • How does the recycling help people and the environment?

Personal response

Write a personal response to the Recycling story. Leave a comment on the BTN Recycling story page. Ask students to finish one or more of the following incomplete sentences:

  • Recycling is...

  • I can reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill by...

  • Sending less rubbish to landfill is important because...

  • It’s surprising that...

Recycling test

As a class, brainstorm all the different types of waste created at your school, for example:

  • Paper

  • Plastic – lunch wrappers, drink containers etc

  • Food scraps

  • Plant clippings

  • Electronic items – mobile phones, computer screens etc

  • Batteries

  • Printer cartridges

  • Newspapers

Do your students know which of these items can be recycled? Test your students by asking which items can be recycled and which recycling bin it should be placed. Students can test their recycling skills by playing this Zero Waste game.

In this activity students will discuss, audit and reflect on their schools current recycling program.


Have a class discussion about what your school already does to recycle. Use one or more of the following questions to guide your discussion:

  • Do you recycle at your school? What do you know about it?

  • What items are collected as part of the recycling program in your council area?
  • Do you know where the recycled materials end up and what they are used for?


As a class, audit the contents of one of your schools recycling bins. Record your results. Students will analyse their results and respond to the following:

  • What do your findings tell you about your schools’ recycling habits?

  • What surprised you about the results?


Students will reflect on the activity and respond to the following:

  • How can you reduce the amount of waste produced at your school?

  • Should there be incentives for people who reduce, reuse and recycle?

  • What did this challenge help you understand?

  • Parts of this activity I liked and disliked were…

  • Do you think you will change your recycling habits? If so, how?

Making a difference with recycling

For inspiration watch these BTN stories to learn how kids around Australia are making a difference with recycling. After watching each story students will respond to the associated focus questions.
BTN War on Waste School

After watching the ABC's War on Waste series last month, students from North Adelaide Primary were so inspired they started making some big changes to their school and community. After watching the story students will respond to the following questions.

  1. What was the main point of the BTN story?

  2. What was the mission that the kids in the BTN story set themselves?

  3. What inspired them to go on this mission?
  4. Australia is one of the biggest producers of trash in the world. True or false?

  5. What reusable items did the students buy?

  6. What is nude food?

  7. What are the benefits of having nude food at school? Try having your own nude food day.

  8. What does your school already do to reuse and recycle?

  9. How well do you know the 5 Rs? Discuss as a class.

  10. How has your thinking changed since watching the BTN story?

BTN Gorilla Girls Recycling

Zoe is launching a special recycling program to help save gorillas, and she wants kids from all over Australia to help. After watching the story students will respond to the following questions.

  1. Explain the Gorilla Girls Recycling story to another student.

  2. What inspired Zoe to start Gorilla Girls?

  3. Which species’ of gorillas are Zoe and her friends raising money for?

  4. How are they raising money?

  5. What is e-waste?

  6. Many electronic devices contain a metal called _______________.

  7. Explain how recycling electronic items helps the gorillas.

  8. How have Gorilla Girls been promoting the cause?

  9. How much money have they raised so far?

  10. What did you learn watching the BTN story?

BTN – Wipe Out Waste

KESAB – Wipe Out Waste
BTN – War on Waste School

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