Wake-up call: the true cost of our electronic gadgets

This post is a report on a series of lessons around the topic of consumerism, electronic gadgets, and their impact on Earth. It was sparked when during a course book unit on shopping I asked students “what do you like shopping?”. There was a surge of answers towards electronic gadgets. This made me think that it would be worthwhile learning about their true cost as informed consumers for a more sustainable future for our planet. I worked with a multilevel sixth grade group (A2+) of twenty-five twelve year old students and we needed five forty-minute sessions.

Session 1

We first brainstormed around the kinds of electronic gadgets we know or like and took notes.


Shop tagx 3

We had a look at this tagxedo, read the words that appear in it, dealt with new vocabulary, and talked about the things we can or can’t buy.


We looked at a slide with the definition of consumer society (adapted from Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary). I wrote on the board:

important, really, society, own, goods


and completed the definition by filling in the missing words.


We finally read this quote by Socrates. I told students that Socrates, looking at a mass of things for sale, often said to himself: ‘How many things I have no need of!” I asked them:

What do you think about this quote?

We shared our thoughts and ideas as a speaking activity. At the end of the first session, as a homework assignment, I asked students  to write a) can-can’t buy statements of their choice

and b) their thoughts about the quote by Socrates quote based on the speaking activity we did in class and their notes.

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