Sustainability action process

Learning for sustainability seeks to enable and empower students to make decisions and take actions that contribute to creating a sustainable society and ecosystem.

The sustainability action process provides a scaffold for teachers and students to investigate real issues and needs. It supports authentic problem solving through active student participation.

The sustainability action process has five steps:

Possible strategies include thinking skills, conducting interviews and conducting surveys or audits.

A student may ask or be asked:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What do we believe is happening in our school with regard to electricity use? (Make a prediction or hypothesis.)
  • What data do we need to collect?
  • What are the tools and methods available to gather this information?
  • Why collect the data?
  • What have we found out about how energy is used in our school and are there opportunities for improvements?
  • How will we communicate our findings?

How will the students work?

  • Will they work as individuals, in a group or as a whole class?
  • What skills will be needed?
  • What equipment will be needed to complete the task?

Students analyse the results and decide what action can be taken.

Possible strategies include brainstorm, discussion and think-pair-share.

Students may need assistance or guidance to:

  • decide which information is most important and how it should be recorded
  • identify the order of steps or actions
  • develop a process to prioritise and order their ideas.

Students will:

  • allocate roles and responsibilities
  • identify skills or knowledge to share with others in dealing with any unexpected issues.

Students develop a proposal to convince the school principal. Once approved, they communicate the plan to the school.

Planning strategies may include brainstorming, group work and the use of multimedia presentations, video and planning scaffolds.

A student may ask or be asked:

  • Does our planning address the original problem?
  • Does our planning account for the needs of the school, teachers and students?
  • What does this mean for saving energy in the school?
  • How does this plan support all aspects of what we are going to do?
  • How can this plan be communicated?

Determine tasks and roles by:

  • allocating roles and responsibilities for developing and communicating the proposal
  • identifying the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively communicate the proposal.

Students put the plan to work.

Possible strategies include group work, project teams or a design brief.

Ask students to:

  • clarify their roles and actions
  • ensure the safety of all involved.

How will the students work?

  • Will they work as a team or individually?
  • How will they record their actions for communicating and reporting?

Students reflect on:

  • the results of the project
  • their learning
  • the sustainability action process.

Possible strategies include interviews of key stakeholders, comparisons of evidence and completion of reflection tools such as KWL charts.

A student be asked to:

  • clarify their understanding of sustainability and their role in taking positive actions
  • formulate future actions based on findings.

New ideas based on reflections can be developed, planned and implemented.


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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