A unit of work comprising a set of lessons for each core learning area: HASS, Maths, English and Science. Students engage in hands-on meaningful learning about food waste.

Learning objective

A Year 5 cross-curriculum unit on avoiding and reducing food waste.

There are significant impacts on our environment when food is wasted. These include the resources used to grow food, such as soil and water. Energy used to process, package and transport food to our homes is also wasted. The estimated cost of food waste to the Australian economy is $20 billion each year (National Food Waste Strategy 2017). Avoidable food waste disposed of to landfill has environmental impacts such as the production of methane and carbon dioxide, which are harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing food waste will help WA meet the targets set by the Waste Authority by 2030, to ‘become a sustainable, low-waste circular economy in which human health and the environment are protected from the impacts of waste’. Organic material, including food waste, is a priority area, as it represents a loss of valuable organic material which could otherwise be recovered for productive use.

This unit is aligned to the Western Australian Curriculum. Lessons can be used independently or together as a unit across the learning areas of Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS), Mathematics, English and Science. Using an inquiry-based and integrated approach to learning, students explore the issues of food waste at home and at school. As an assessment option in English, students will create a food waste cookbook to educate their school community about what they have learned.

Subject Main curriculum links and activity description
HASS Economics and Business: Wants, resources and choices
Students learn about the larger environmental, social and economic issues around food waste. This includes household food waste and introduces food rescue.
Mathematics Number and Algebra
Students learn about the amount of food thrown out at school and use mathematical sentences (+ - / x) to create an infographic to share with the school community.
English Interpreting, Analysing and Evaluating; Creating Texts
Students learn about food waste solutions by creating recipes for a class cookbook based on edible food waste at school.
Science Chemical Sciences
Students learn about greenhouse gases (methane) and how the gases are produced by decomposing fruit, by conducting an experiment. This highlights the environmental impact of food waste.
Note: The results from the experiment may not be known for about two weeks. This timing needs to be considered if you plan to use the results in other learning areas as part of the food waste unit.

NAPLAN: Persuasive writing – ‘Why we should buy inglorious fruit and vegetables’ or another food waste topic of choice.