Lesson Plan

A Disposable Society - Evaulating the Impacts of our Habits & Waste

Evaluating Life Cycles of Products and the importance of Reducing, Re-using & Recycling
Barbara H.
Education Program Manager, Mid-Atlantic/D.C. Metro Area - Common Sense Education
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All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook - The True Cost of Fast Fashion

  1. Watch the video clip - The True Cost of Fast Fashion.  
  2. Have the students put write down three words for what they were feeling into a Google Form and then paste their words into a class Worldle.
  3. Project the Wordle and have a discussion with the class and how the documentary clip made them feel about their clothing choices.  

2 Direct Instruction -Polling & Discussing Class Habits

  1. Project a Zeetings to the front of the board.  Zeetings is great to poll an audience and it also has a built in back channel for students to respond or react to content presented.  
  2. Some questions to ask during the presentation:
    1. When you purchase an item do you think about the social, environmental or societal impacts of the production of that item?
    2. List your priorities when purchasing items in order from most important to least important - quality, price, comfort, style.
    3. How many electrical devices do you currently own?
    4. How often do you purchase new electronics?
    5. Do you think about how to properly dispose of the items that you purchase?
  3.   Include statistics on the amount of clothing, electronics and other items that are produced and thrown away in any given year or the environmental, economic, societal and ethical impacts of our wasteful society.  

3 Guided Practice - How much Landfill Space Can be Saved by Recycling?

  1. Have students go to the Landfill Virtual Lab.  
  2. The directions are on the left hand side of the virtual lab but it may be easier to make a paper copy of the directions and then add the chart and journal questions to the paper copy so the students can work through the lab and write their answers on the paper. 
  3. Help students make the calculations of landfill space saved by recycling.  

4 Independent Practice - Conduct a Life Cycle Analysis of a Product

Free, Paid
Free, Paid
  1. Students will work in partners and create a life cycle analysis of a product of their choice, preferably something that they currently purchase.  Have students use Piktochart or S’More to create a digital poster of the life cycle.
  2. Students should analyze the environmental, economic and societal impacts of each of the life cycle phases of a product:
    1. Collection of Raw Materials
    2. Manufacturing
    3. Initial Packaging
    4. Transportation
    5. Use of Product
    6. Disposal 

5 Wrap Up - Gallery Walk of Life Cycles

Google Drive
Free, Paid
  1. Have one of the students present their project on their computer at their desks and have their partner bring their computer to fill out the Google form evaluating the products impact on the environment, economy and society. 
  2. Have the students walk around the room evaluating which product is the most damaging and suggest solutions for "mitigating" or reducing harm for the products that were presented.    
    1. What can students do to reduce their overall impact for the products that they buy?