Make Maths Meaningful

Kirsty Costa - Cool Australia
Award winning educator
Teach Maths lessons, through school waste audits, that help Year 7 and Year 8 students use their learning in real-life situations.
Target Audience
Secondary teachers, curriculum leaders and others teaching Mathematics Year 7 and Year 8 students.
6 reviews

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Teach Maths lessons that help Year 7 to 8 students use their learning in real-life situations. You’ll discover how to make Mathematics meaningful to students through different types of waste and litter audits at your school. You’ll also get support to differentiate your teaching and extend your students' learning.

Watch videos and explore a range of teaching resources, documents and websites that you can use straight away. Download a course handout to refer to anytime. Once you’ve completed the course, you will be able to teach student-led waste audits and share your learning with others.


Secondary teachers, curriculum leaders and others teaching Mathematics Year 7 and Year 8 students.

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

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. Learn more HERE.

This course is an updated version of ‘What a Load of Rubbish (Secondary)’ -

Watch videos, enjoy short activities and explore free resources. Learn anytime, anywhere – this course is accessible for 2 weeks.

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 and think about what mathematics education means to you.

2. Landfill and Recycling

40 minutes

Learn about landfill and recycling at your school. Access a range of Maths lesson plans that will your students conduct real-life waste audits.

3. Litter

20 minutes

Discover what happens to litter at your school. Explore a range of Maths teaching resources that will help you teach how to conduct litter audits.

4. Take Action

15 minutes

Think about how to extend your students’ learning and find out what other teachers have done.

5. Reflection

15 minutes

Use a fun reflection tool to think about your learning and consider your next steps.

Further Study

No duration specified

After you’ve completed the course, you are welcome to explore these bonus lessons to deepen your learning.

User Rating


Latest Reviews

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

Make Maths Meaningful
by Craig Young on 06/06/2017

It was great to be exposed to the range of resources on the Cool Australia website and to see what other schools are doing in this important area of sustainability.

Make Maths Meaningful
by Hilary Page on 06/06/2017

Informative course which really depicts how large the problem of littering and pollution still is in Australia, and how we can incorporate mathematics into our lessons to analyse some of this information.

Make Maths Meaningful
by Robin Laverty on 18/04/2017

Great resources. Easy to follow instructions.

Make Maths Meaningful
by Chris Barrett on 18/04/2017

Great insights into waste, litter, recycling. Some engaging videos. Lots of good links on coolmath website.
Feel confident enough to spend some time creating a unit.

Make Maths Meaningful
by Rhys Williams on 15/12/2016

I found the video by Jo Boaler particularly challenging to update my knowledge of research into how students (especially the strugglers) become confident in their Maths. The waste audit idea has the potential to be a great initiative on (at least) two fronts; namely student engagement and making a positive environmental impact (more by changing student and staff behaviour than just the reduction in waste at the school).

Make Maths Meaningful
by Sharon Ison on 08/12/2016

A great project based learning unit.

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.