Lesson Plan

Grades 6-8

Secret Life of Stuff

Download Now

1 hour

SUBJECTS: Science, Social Studies

TOPICS: Ecological Footprints, Personal Consumption, Solid Waste

Resource Overview

Students compare the life cycle stages of four everyday products in order to hypothesize which item has the lowest environmental footprint, and then brainstorm possible improvements to one product’s life cycle to minimize its eco-impact.

Students will be able to:
  • Name and sequence the five stages of a product’s life cycle.
  • Explain what factors influence the environmental impact of each life cycle stage.
  • Conduct a basic life cycle analysis of a consumer product.
  • Compare the five life cycle stages of four different products and use reasoning to determine which product has the lowest overall eco-impact.
  • Formulate a plan for decreasing the impact of a product by altering one stage of its life cycle.
Students conduct a life cycle analysis of jeans, sneakers, ear buds, or a lamp

Features of This Resource

  • Middle school life cycle analysis activity
  • Students tackle a problem and offer solutions
  • Great lesson for teaching personal impacts on the environment

How Do I Get This Lesson Plan?

The resource is free. Click the green button for immediate download.

Download Now

Other Resources You Might Like:

Screenshot of video lesson plan "Mining for Chocolate" showing chocolate chip cookies as an analogy to mining regions
Grades ,
Mining for Chocolate

After matching everyday products to their rock or mineral sources, students “mine” chocolate chip cookies to discover the impacts of... Read more »

Students compare products’ containers and packaging options to determine which products are green
Market Research

Students visit the supermarket and investigate products’ containers and packaging options to determine which products would produce the least solid... Read more »

Students build compost bins in 2-liter bottles to compare the breakdown of organic and inorganic materials
Scraps into Soil Lab

Students complete a lab activity to observe how organic and inorganic waste decomposes over time in a natural setting. Students... Read more »