Global Learning London

Waste – Teacher Ideas

Activities: lesson plans, schemes of work and projects 

Research Fairphones!

Carry out a class web research project into the Fairphone (www.fairphonecom) Learners can work in teams and also hone their co-operation and communication skills.  Ask the teams to find out the features the phone offers and compare this with a standard mobile phone.  Delve into the thinking behind the production of this phone.  What makes it different?  Why do the Fairphone company consider those things to be important?  Ask each team to produce a review and consider the advantages and limiting factors of purchasing a Fairphone.

The life cycle of a drinks can

Many of the products we use in our everyday lives have been manufactured using raw materials and processes in different parts of the world.  This activity looks specifically at the lifecycle of an aluminium can, considering the impacts of producing cans from raw materials verses producing cans from recycled aluminium.

Pupils given worksheet 1 (already cut into strips and mixed up) and asked to arrange the statements in the correct order to find out how aluminium cans are made from raw materials.  They could then find the countries involved on a world map/atlas.  Split the class into four groups, each group to represent one of the countries involved, ie Australia, Norway, Germany, and Britain.  Ask the groups to consider the impacts, on their particular country, of making the cans.  You could put these points under the headings Natural Environment, Economy and Society with older learners.

Worksheet 1 – How aluminium is made from raw materials

In Australia, a rock called bauxite is mined.   To make the mines, trees have to be chopped down. This destroys the homes of many animals and plants. However, the mines do employ many local people.
The bauxite is then sent from Australia to Norway on board a ship. The ship is powered by oil, which pollutes the air and causes climate change.
In Norway, alumina is separated from the bauxite. To do this the water is taken out of the bauxite. This water is toxic and is often stored in pools – sometimes it leaks out, causing pollution.
The alumina is then made into aluminium in a large factory. The factory uses lots of electricity. In Norway, a lot of electricity is produced by hydro-electric power.
The aluminium is then sent to Germany on board a ship. The ship is powered by oil, which pollutes the air and causes climate change.
In Germany, the aluminium is rolled into sheets.
The sheets of aluminium are then sent to a factory in Britain, where they are rolled into thinner sheets and then made into cans.
The cans are then taken to yet another factory, where they are filled with fizzy drink, then transported by lorry to shops to be sold.

Worksheet 2 – How aluminium is made from recycled aluminium

Aluminium cans are put into can recycling banks along with steel cans.
The cans are taken to a recycling factory in Britain, where the steel cans are removed using magnets.  These are recycled separately.
The aluminium cans are then shredded into small pieces, the coloured paint is removed and then they are melted down into blocks of aluminium, called ingots.
The aluminium ingots are taken to another factory in Britain, where they are rolled into flat sheets of aluminium.
The sheets of aluminium are then sent to yet another factory in Britain, where they are rolled into thinner sheets and then made into cans.
The cans are then taken to a final factory, where they are filled with fizzy drink, then transported by lorry to shops to be sold.

Finally, ask the group to discuss which option they would choose – a can from raw materials or a can from recycled materials.