The 5 R's of sustainability

Use this lesson plan with your primary learners to explore the 5 R's of sustainability.

The Climate Action in Language Education series

This lesson is part of our series of 'Climate Action in Language Education' teaching materials. There are twelve lesson plans in the series, available for teachers of primary, secondary and adult learners of English. See the full list of lesson plans in this series

About this lesson plan

Children often learn about ‘the three Rs’ at school: reduce, reuse, recycle. But in recent years, more sustainability-related Rs have appeared. By teaching children more about this topic, we can help them to develop the vocabulary they need to take part in important dialogues around sustainability in the future and help them understand that there are many things we can do to help the planet. The lesson begins with a warmer to recycle keywords that learners already know. This is followed by a listening task where learners transfer information into a fact file with the support of a word box. Learners think of more examples to add to their fact file and share their ideas with their classmates and teacher. The lesson finishes with learners writing a pledge to do more Rs at home and at school. There is an optional extra task where learners prepare and give a short presentation in pairs or groups.


  • To raise awareness of sustainability issues
  • To review and learn vocabulary related to sustainability
  • To practise language for asking and answering questions
  • To promote communication and collaborative skills
  • To develop listening, speaking and reading skills

Age and level

Primary learners aged 9–11 years at CEFR A2 level and above


60 mins approximately


The materials can be downloaded below in PDF format

  • Lesson plan for remote teaching contexts
  • Lesson plan for face-to-face classroom teaching
  • Remote teaching class presentation
  • Student worksheets

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