What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)

Kirsty Costa - Cool Australia
Award winning educator
Teach real-world Mathematics to Year 7 and 8 students through school waste audits.
Target Audience
Maths teachers working with Years 7 and 8 students. Also suitable for Sustainability Coordinators and waste educators.
14 reviews

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Hi there! We’re Kirsty Costa and Angela Andrews from Cool Australia.

We support secondary schools to incorporate sustainability into their learning programs through the Australian Curriculum.

‘What a Load of Rubbish’ is a 2 hour short course that will help you engage Year 7 to Year 10 students in real-life learning.

In this course, Kirsty Costa will help you explore:

  • The different types of waste in schools.
  • How to conduct student-led waste audits to measure things like landfill, recycling, organic waste and paper.
  • How to empower students to undertake waste reduction projects.
  • Stories about what other schools are doing.

All classroom resources are mapped to Science and Maths in the Australian Curriculum. The activities can also be used as a launch pad for student teams to undertake waste projects in your school.

We look forward to connecting with you.

Cool Australia is an award winning not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting Australian teachers with tools to foster student learning for life.


Maths teachers working with Years 7 and 8 students. Also suitable for Sustainability Coordinators and waste educators.

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

Most TTA online courses are available with an Online Subscription. For a little more than the price of one course, you can gain up to 20 PD hours per year. Learn more HERE.

A short online course is delivered over 1-3 weeks in duration and is worth 2-3 PD hrs depending on the course content and its objectives. Participants will not need to take time off, the course date is the START date only, end dates will be advertised with course hours.

>> This 2 hour online professional development is open for 2 weeks.
We recommend you allocate some time in your calendar, in advance, to enjoy the activities and get the most out of the course.

>> This course is mapped to Mathematics the Australian Curriculum and NSW Syllabus for Years 7 to 10 (Stages 4 and 5). It can also be used as part of an integrated unit or student team activity.

This course contributes to 2.0 professional development hours.


There are no occurrences of Short Online in Australia (ACT) at this time.


1. Introduction

20 minutes

- Read about course requirements.
- Meet your group.
- Think about Mathematics and the learning needs of students in the 21st Century.
- Set a personal learning goal.

2. Landfill and Recycling

30 minutes

- Investigate how long it takes for different pieces of rubbish to breakdown in landfill (the dump/tip).
- Learn how your waste is recycled.
- Find out how to conduct landfill and recycled waste Mathematical audits with your students.
- Access a range of Cool Australia lesson plans to help guide your teaching.
- Plan how you might conduct waste audits in your curriculum.

3. Litter

30 minutes

- Find out what happens to your litter.
- Consider how to conduct a litter audit with students as part of Mathematics.
- Access a range of Cool Australia lesson plans to help guide your teaching.
- Plan how you might conduct litter audits in your curriculum.

4. Going Further

15 minutes

- Read case studies about conducting waste audits in Mathematics sparked students to take action at their school.
- Share your ideas for extending students' learning.

5. Reflection

15 minutes

- Reflect on what you learnt during the course.
- Give feedback on the course.


No duration specified

Keep on learning with these further study activities:
- Find out where to get extra support for the waste audits.
- Explore the world of organic waste eg. food scraps, garden waste
- Consider how to audit organic waste at your school.
- Watch a video about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the world’s oceans.

User Rating


Latest Reviews

Please note the feedback listed here is unfiltered, and includes all comments and ratings collected.

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Jennifer Abraham on 06/12/2016

Some good ideas.

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Simon Aylott on 29/09/2016

This course gives teachers many ideas ranging from small group, simple and short tasks to whole school and community projects over long time periods. The maths is not a big focus but the course does show how well this topic can be integrated into many levels at schools.

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Naomi Hodge on 29/09/2016

Found this course useful in how to carry out a school waste audit

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Wendy Slack-Smith on 29/09/2016

What a Load of Rubbish – This course provided some interesting lesson ideas which are able to be adapted to suit a range of classes and levels. There were a lot of websites highlighted which contain useful information to use when planning lessons on measurement.

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Ashley Shaw on 23/08/2016

What A Load Of Rubbish showed me statistics and hands-on activities that school students can use to quantify and evaluate the waste produced at their school. The scope to create a problem-based learning exercise or a cross-curricular project was quite large. I thoroughly recommend the course!

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Catherine Ma on 05/07/2016

This course has provided me a lot of knowledge about the rubbish and how I could incorporate this into my lesson. I could also get wide range of activity ideas which I could develop and twig and I am looking forward to try those with my class over the next term.

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Leanne Selby on 05/07/2016

I found this course very useful in including the cross-curriculum priority of Sustainability into Mathematics programs.

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Karen Huntly on 05/07/2016

I loved the variety of resources, videos and ideas. They are appropriate to show students without unnecessary editing and are thought provoking. Activities were clear and in abundance – great time saver!

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Jaswinder Lalli on 05/07/2016

Very useful in terms of showing how this issue of was can be integrated across different subject areas and practical suggestions in terms of classroom teaching and possible activities

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Heidi Sinnamon on 30/03/2016

A very good course with lots of information to get the whole school engaged.

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Hao Ta on 29/03/2016

I really enjoyed this course as there were plenty of useful resources that were related to my teaching lessons, not to mention the informative videos and the fun activities.

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Nora Kurovsky on 29/03/2016

Thank you, I now have more resources to trial.

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Sonya Sultana on 21/05/2015

Course Comment: I found the course useful in terms of the ideas put forward and the resources that were made available. It is always helpful to be exposed to new ideas so that you can also think in different ways. Courses such as this one provide such ideas to help us to make our students learning more relevant to the real world.

What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)
by Celina Silva Santos on 21/05/2015

I found the audits very useful in structuring student activities.

About the team

Kirsty Costa - Cool Australia


Kirsty helps teachers grow in their profession. She is the Head of Professional Development at Cool Australia, inspiring hundreds of educators each year. Kirsty shares her 15+ years of teaching and training experience. In her courses, she creates a dynamic space for teachers to be creative and curious. She builds teacher confidence and makes information relevant, helpful and powerful. Kirsty also has a background in communication and talking to people about change.

Cool Australia


Cool Australia is an award winning not-for-profit dedicated to supporting educators with tools to foster ‘learning for life’. We help integrate topics around sustainability, ethics, economics and wellbeing across the curriculum. This enables teachers of all age groups and disciplines to engage young Aussies in real-life learning whilst achieving Australian Curriculum and Early Years Learning Framework outcomes. Our accredited professional development is designed to build your confidence, understanding and expertise. You will learn through a mixture of practical and thinking activities as well as hearing the stories of others. Plus you will access a range of teaching tools that can you can use straight away in your teaching.