Education Technology

Water Bottles

Activity Overview

A wealth of freely available videos are available to introduce this activity. Students then explore a Fermi question with a view to estimating the quantity of single use water bottles that are disposed of annually in Australia. This quantity is then used to estimate the mass and volume of plastic and consider how deep this pile of plastic would be if it covered the school.


Students design a process by which they will collect data to estimate the quantity of single use water bottles used every year by Australian consumers. This quantity is then used to estimate the volume and mass. The volume is converted into comparable dimensions such as 'how deep would the pile be if placed upon the school or covering a local suburb?' Students use a combination of units and convert between each. While the measurement area of the curriculum gets a good covering, the underlying message relates to sustainability.


  • Square metres m2
  • Square kilometres km2
  • Cubic metres m3
  • Density
  • micro-metres

About the Lesson

While the focus of the activity is on sustainability, numerous calculations involving volume and associated units are included in this investigation.

ACMMG218: Solve problems involving the surface area and volume of right prisms