What a Waste! Lesson plan 4-7

In this three part activity, children lean about the amount of food packaging the UK disposes of each year, and how much if it is recycled; before designing a campaign to improve recycling and re-use rates in their homes . You can use the lessons when teaching about waste and also when teaching children how to record, analyse and present data using graphs and charts. 

Lesson 1: What is waste? 

Homework activity: How much packaging do you use at home? 

Lesson 2: Creating block graphs

Lesson 3: Designing infographics and posters


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  • Age groups: 4-7s
  • Subjects: Design & technology, Mathematics, Science, PSE
  • Topics: Waste



Number – number and place value

Pupils should be taught to:

·         count to and across 100, forwards and backwards, beginning with 0 or 1, or from any given number


Number – addition and subtraction

Pupils should be taught to:

·         add and subtract one-digit and two-digit numbers to 20, including zero



Pupils should be taught to:

·         interpret and construct simple pictograms, tally charts, block diagrams and simple tables

·         ask and answer simple questions by counting the number of objects in each category and sorting the categories by quantity

·         ask and answer questions about totalling and comparing categorical data.



Working scientifically

During years 1 and 2, pupils should be taught to use the following practical scientific methods, processes and skills through the teaching of the programme of study content:

·         asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways

·         identifying and classifying

·         using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions

·         gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.


Everyday materials

Pupils should be taught to:

·         distinguish between an object and the material from which it is made

·         identify and name a variety of everyday materials, including wood, plastic, glass, metal, water, and rock

·         describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials

·         compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of their simple physical properties.


Design and technology


·         explore and evaluate a range of existing products



Living in the wider world

Pupils should have the opportunity to learn:

·         What improves and harms their local, natural and built environments and develop strategies and skills needed to care for these (including conserving energy)

·         To research, discuss and debate topical issues, problems and events that are of concern to them and offer their recommendations to appropriate people 

·         That they have different kinds of responsibilities, rights and duties at home, at school, in the community and towards the environment; to continue to develop the skills to exercise these responsibilities 




Information Handling – Data and analysis

I can collect objects and ask questions to gather information, organising and displaying my findings in different ways. MNU 0-20a

I can match objects, and sort using my own and others’ criteria, sharing my ideas with others MNU 0-20b

I have explored a variety of ways in which data is presented and can ask and answer questions about the information it contains. MNU 1-20a

I have used a range of ways to collect information and can sort it in a logical, organised and imaginative way using my own and others’ criteria. MNU 1-20b




Properties and uses of substances


Through creative play, I explore different materials and can share my reasoning for selecting materials for different purposes. SCN 0-15a

Through exploring properties and sources of materials, I can choose appropriate materials to solve practical challenges.  SCN 1-15a


Social studies

People, place and environment

I can consider ways of looking after my school or community and can encourage others to care for their environment. SOC 1-08a



Technological developments in society and business

Impact, contribution and relationship of technologies on business, the economy, politics and the environment

To help care for the environment, I reduce, re-use and recycle the resources I use. TCH 0-06a

I can take appropriate action to ensure conservation of materials and resources, considering the impact of my actions on the environment. TCH 1-06a


Craft, design, engineering and graphics

Exploring uses of materials

I can recognise a variety of materials and suggest an appropriate material for a specific use. TCH 1-10a




Personal and social development, wellbeing and cultural diversity


Through the Foundation Phase, children should be given opportunities to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding through being involved in a range of experiences including:

·         Activities that allow them to use their senses, to be creative and imaginative

·         Activities that allow them to begin to understand how they can protect the environment and become environmentally friendly in their everyday lives


Mathematical development

Developing numerical reasoning

Identifying processes and connections

·         Select appropriate mathematics and techniques to use

·         Select and use relevant number facts and mental strategies

Represent and communicate

·         Use everyday and mathematical language to talk about their own ideas and choices


·         Interpret information presented in charts and diagrams and draw appropriate conclusions


Using data skills

Collect and record data; present and analyse data; interpret results

·         Sort and classify objects using one criterion

·         Record collections using marks, numbers or pictures

·         Make lists and tables based on data collcted

·         Gather and record data from:

o   Lists and tables

o   Diagrams

o   Block graphs

·         Extract and interpret information from lists, tables, diagrams and graphs


Knowledge and understanding of the world


Throughout the Foundation Phase children should be given opportunities to

·         Work on their own and in pairs and small groups.


Places and people

Children should be given opportunities to:

·         Recognise how people’s actions can improve or damage the environment


Myself and non-living things

Children should be given opportunities to:

·         Experiment with different everyday materials and use their senses to sort them into groups according to simple properties



To experience the familiar world through investigating the indoor and outdoor environment, children should be encouraged to be curious and find out by:

·         Exploring and experimenting

·         Thinking about questions and then asking them and listening to the answers

·         Investigating sources and issues

·         Making observations and measurements and keeping records

·         Making comparisons and identifying similarities and differences

·         Communicating observations and measurements

·         Describing what they have found out and offering simple explanations


Northern Ireland


Mathematics and Numeracy


Understanding number

Pupils should be enabled to:

·         Count a variety of objects



Pupils should be enabled to:

·         Explore freely properties of a range of materials and one/two/three property collections, respond to questions about the arrangements;


Personal development and mutual understanding

Mutual understanding in the local and wider community

Pupils should be enabled to explore:

·         Learning to live as a member of a community


Handling data

Collecting, Representing and Interpreting Data

Pupils should be enabled to:

·         collect data, record and present it using real objects, drawings, tables, mapping diagrams, simple graphs and ICT software;

·         discuss and interpret the data;

·         extract information from a range of charts, diagrams and tables.