Theme: Sustainability

This unit looks at caring for the environment and its resources. Stories and activities focus on topics such as recycling, saving water, reducing pollution and protecting and preserving natural resources and habitats.

It is vital for teachers to understand the Ziptales 10 stage Reading Scheme, which governs how reading groups can be formed in a way which matches children’s abilities to the appropriate texts. To check on this essential resource - click here.

The 10 Zip Stages cover all levels of reading ability, from Foundation/Prep/Kindergarten through to Year 6. This scheme underpins the whole Themes module.

Learning Components

Focus Stories Comprehension Conventions Writing Speaking & Listening Extension
Zip Stage 2
Shower Fun
(Simple Digraphs
Easy Readers)
List in order the things the boy does once he is in the shower. Worksheet #2:
Action words
Write some reasons why a shower uses less water than a bath. Work in pairs to complete Worksheet #1:
Rhyming Words
Draw or write ways you can time your shower to keep it short e.g. a shower timer.
Zip Stage 3
Wheels of Speed
(Imaginary Worlds
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
What’s the Order?
Worksheet #1:
Write a story about finding something magic in a junk shop. In a small group, talk about things you can donate to second hand shops for re-use. Design a poster about the 3 ‘Rs’ – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Zip Stage 3
The Thirsty Frog
(Stories from Long Ago
Junior Readers)
Worksheet #2:
Story Focus
Worksheet #1:
Spelling/Grammar Focus
Write an acrostic poem using the words ‘SAVING WATER’. Work collaboratively to list the ways we save water every day. Present thoughts to the class. Draw or paint a picture showing how fresh water and salt water sources are different.
Zip Stage 4
Little Duck Wants to Play
General Worksheet #1:
Friendship Matters
General Worksheet #2:
Describing Characters (adjectives)
Write an animal report about a creature that inhabits wetlands. Present an oral report about the importance of wetlands. Design an advertisement that tells people not to leave their rubbish near wetlands.
Zip Stage 5
Spaghetti Face
Retell the main events and describe how the main character is feeling during each event. Brainstorm a list of adjectives to describe worms. Create a chart identifying suitable and unsuitable food scraps to use in a worm farm. General Worksheet #2:
What Would You Do?
Share responses with the group.
General Worksheet #1:
Poster Design
Zip Stage 5
The Gremlin Vine
Describe how the ‘new pot plant’ changes on the first two pages of the story. General Worksheet #2:
General Worksheet #1:
Here We Have Horror!
Plant seeds and observe growth. Present findings to the class. Design a brochure entitled:
How to Care for Plants.
Zip Stage 6
Slime Soup
Predict how the main character reacted to the last sentence in the story. Write the last chapter. Study ‘i-e’ words:
-ime, -ice, -ike, -ine etc.
General Worksheet #1:
Slime Soup Recipe
General Worksheet #2:
Chanting (Read aloud).
Then compose a new chant as a group.
Design a booklet about garden pests.
Zip Stage 6
The Flower of Happiness
(Fairy Tales)
General Worksheet #1:
Sequence a Story Map
Study the suffix ‘ness’ as in ‘happiness’. General Worksheet #2:
Become an Author
Co-operative Cloze - General Worksheet #3:
Happy New Year!
Use correct vocabulary to label the parts of a flower.
Zip Stage 6
Lost in the Rainforest
Retell all the dangers Matthew and Jade faced while they were lost in the rainforest. General Worksheet #1:
Using Commas
General Worksheet #3:
Writing a Recount
Partner Activity - General Worksheet #2:
Animal or Plant?
Create a slide show about protecting rainforests.
Zip Stage 6
The Pied Piper
(Myths & Legends)
Create a cause and effect chart for the events in the story. General Worksheet #1:
Astounding Anagrams
General Worksheet #3:
Wanted - For Stealing Children!
Partner Activity - Research the effects of an animal plague on the environment. General Worksheet #2:
Design a Cartoon Strip
Zip Stage 7
(Fairy Tales)
Design a story map showing the different places Thumbelina travelled. General Worksheet #1:
Synonym Brainstorm
General Worksheet #2:
Writing an Animal Report
Or General Worksheet #4:
Write an Imaginary Recount
Orally present a slide show about the life cycle of a flower. General Worksheet #3:
Create a 3D Diorama
Zip Stage 7
Describe the friendship between Clive and Bunghole. Locate and define ten words that use the base word ‘micro’. General Worksheet #1:
Tongue Twisters
General Worksheet #2:
Same Sound Sentences
Draw a cross section of a worm farm.
Zip Stage 8
The Faithful Prince
(Myths & Legends)
Compare this story to the story of The Frog Prince (Fairy Tales). General Worksheet #2:
Match the Definition
General Worksheet #1:
Two Points of View – Two Stories
Present an oral report about the importance of trees in our environment. Imagine you are the spirit of a tree. Which tree would you choose and why?
Zip Stage 9
Advanced Library)
Worksheet #1:
Cause and Effect
Locate 10-15 adverbs in the story and uses them in new sentences. Write a persuasive text using the topic ‘Mining is destroying the environment.’ Worksheet #2:
The Beauty of Ballads
Research how Australian Aboriginal people respect the land.
Zip Stage 10
The Case of the Deadly Orchid
Advanced Library)
Design a spider diagram showing how the suspects were connected to Sir Nigel. Worksheet #1:
The Case of the Confusing ‘ch’ Blend
Worksheet #2:
Mystery Story Secrets
A conservatory is also known as a greenhouse. Present an oral report about The Greenhouse Effect and its impact on the environment. Research how plants and trees are helpful to our environment. Include a reference to the problems caused by deforestation.

Assessment Ideas

  • Generate a sustainability related spelling list for students to learn using words such as: tree, plant, flower, shrub, garden, worm, plague, pollution, recycle, waste, rubbish, environment, destruction, rainforest and wetlands.
  • Use the Word Work and Spelling and Vocabulary Worksheets for the Reading Library stories to improve students’ spelling skills.
  • Locate the dictionary definitions of the words in the spelling list.
  • Select a passage from one of the on-line stories as dictation assessing the use of punctuation marks.
  • Complete the Fill the Gaps and Multiple Choice questions at the end of the story (available for the Junior Readers, Reading Library and Advanced Library genre stories).
  • Use the Learning Support Worksheets for the Reading Library stories to practise a range of reading skills.
  • Design a flowchart of events of one of the on-line stories.
  • Create a cause and effect chart of destructive influences on our environment using information from the on-line stories and their related activities.
  • Write narratives using the following topics:
    The Enormous Flower
    The Land at the Top of the Tree
    Too Much Rubbish!
    My Life as a Worm
  • Design a brochure about how to care for the environment.
  • Write a procedural text about how to create a worm farm.
  • Write a letter to the local newspaper about a specific environmental concern in the local community.
  • Write an animal report about a mini-beast that could be found in a compost heap.
Oral Language
  • Present an oral report about the importance of the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and one C – Composting.
  • Invite parents or grandparents to assist students in caring for the school garden areas.
  • Conduct a debate about human impact on the environment.
  • In small groups, students collect all food scraps from the other classes in the school each day to throw into a school compost heap.
  • In small groups, create plays about different ways to care for our environment and present them to an audience.
  • Create infomercials about reducing waste in our homes.
Related Ziptales Activities:

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