A set of multidisciplinary lessons from NGO Facing the Future on the background to the things those of us with affluent lifestyles buy and use in our everyday lives. It comprises 10 fully planned lessons, embracing humanities/social studies, math, science and language work. It covers the five major steps of the materials economy; Extraction, Production, Distribution, Consumption, and Disposal. As well as considering issues such as sustainability, resource use, working conditions of people producing the “stuff” we use, it also addresses what we mean by the “good life” and the relationship between material possessions and happiness. Treatment is balanced, and the economic benefits of consumption are considered.
Designed to be used as a unit over a two week period, there are many ideas there that can be adopted or adapted for other contexts. There is an excellent set of linked resources and suggestions for further reading and activities.
Like all Facing the Future materials, this unit has been thoroughly evaluated by teachers, and the end result is tried and tested.