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"Buy, Use, Toss?" (High School Curriculum)

Found in: math, science, social studies, 9-12

“Buy, Use, Toss?” (High School Curriculum) ( PDF, 3.8 MB, 105 pgs.) is an interdisciplinary unit that asks students in grade 9-12 to explore and analyze the materials economy. Subjects areas covered include science, social studies, business/finance, English, communications, journalism, and mathematics. The unit’s ten lessons have student worksheets and extension activities and are keyed to national science and social studies standards.

In the first lesson, "Garbology", students analyze consumption, examine modern methods of disposal, and reflect on how consumption reflects lifestyle and culture. The lesson has geography and science extensions, a suggestion for an action project, and links to Web resources. One link to Throw Away Britain features four video clips in which residents explain how they dispose of household waste in Italy, Seattle, Belgium, and South Korea.

"Why Buy?", the sixth lesson, asks students to examine the connections between advertising and consumption, particularly advertising aimed at teens. The lesson provides links to optional reading and resources, drama/art, communication, and science extensions, and an action project in which students create a consumer guide to locally available sustainable products.

In lesson nine, "A System Redesign", students analyze the sustainability of the components of the material economy and suggest ways to make it more sustainable. The lesson includes writing, media, and science extensions, action project, and additional resources.

In the final lesson, students critically analyze The Story of Stuff by identifying the overall message of the film, persuasive techniques used, and bias. In an extension activity, students further examine data presented in the film, cross-checking references to analyze the accuracy and reliability of the film.



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