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