An activity to
encourage students to think about how sustainability issues are embedded in many
day-to-day activities and throughout a products life cycle.
It also aims to
show how sustainability issues have implications for all designing and making
use the activity
Line-ups is best suited for use when first discussing sustainability but could
be used as a revision activity later if students have forgotten how integral it
should be to their thinking.
Who is the activity for?
Use in groups, probably no more than 10 being involved at a time you can ask
some students to be involved in one line-up then involve others in the next. It
is suitable for both AS and A2 students.
Sustainability issues considered
Although an introductory activity, it can be used to bring out any and all
issues, depending on the topics you choose.
The activity is not intended to meet specific criteria but will certainly help
students understand fundamental issues of sustainability.
and hints on how to organise it
Choose an everyday activity that brings out the existence of environmental,
social and economic issues, e.g. making a cup of tea or coffee
Ask students to think about the process of making tea or coffee in their
household and what usually happens, from sourcing the ingredients to the end of
Ask them to think about how far the choice of ingredients normally takes
account of the following things:
- Where the tea or coffee came from and who was involved in its production has
it travelled a long distance, was it traded fairly, who picked the tea, coffee?
- Where the milk came from milkman, supermarket, local farm, a central depot?
- Where the sugar came from distance travelled, amount of processing
Now ask them to stand at different points from one end of the
room to the other depending on how they much they think about the issues above. For example, if they
buy fair-traded tea, local milk and unprocessed sugar, they should go to one end
of room. If they never consider any of those points they go to the other end of
the room. If they buy fair-traded tea but dont consider milk or sugar they
should stand somewhere between.
Repeat the line-up activity but now thinking about the making phase:
- Do they measure the amount of water according to the number of cups that are
to be made?
- Do they leave the kettle and have to re-boil it again because the water has
- Do they use a pot or percolator?
Complete a third line-up using the end of life-cycle, asking students to
- What they do with any leftover water?
- What they do with coffee filters or tea bags/leaves?
- What they do with the packets the tea or coffee came in?
- What do they do with the dirty cups?
Review the activity to bring out the point that there are sustainability
issues in most of the everyday choices we make.
Click here for
other daily activities