This activity aims to help students to think about their own ideas and understand
other possible viewpoints on sustainability issues as an ordinary teenager.
When to use the activity
It’s likely to be most useful when students are dealing with sustainability for
the first time at AS or, less likely, at A2. It’s intended to make them think as
ordinary consumers, not as designers. At A2 you may wish to use it as a reminder
to students embarking on major coursework that we all bring values into our
designing and making decisions.
Who is the activity for?
This activity can be used with a small group or the whole class. It
is suitable for both AS and A2 level students, though the
statements should be simpler for AS level. Click here for suggested statements
Sustainability issues considered
The activity can be tailored to meet your own requirements at the time you use
it. You can target environmental issues, social issues, economic issues or all
three. Teachers can make up additional statements as needed – those given are
As a starter activity, this may not be anything more than something that sows
seeds but students should become more aware of themselves as consumers and how
decisions impact on lives and livelihoods elsewhere.
The Activity and hints on how to organise it
• Prepare a number of statements in advance dealing with the sustainability
issues you want students to consider. Print them in bold, large print on cards
so students can read them from a few feet away.
• Give each student a card to write his/her name on, also bold and large.
• Organise students on chairs in a circle, and include yourself in the circle;
participate if you wish.
• Explain to the group that you are going to place a card on the floor in the
centre of the circle, on which is written a statement. Tell them you will ask
them to think about their opinion about the statement. You will then ask them to
place their name card as near to or as far away from the statement relative to
how much they agree or disagree with the statement itself. Their cards can be
places anywhere between the
front of their chairs and next to the statement card.
• Explain that they must only put down their name card when you say so, not when
they’ve made up their mind. This avoids everyone following the ‘leader’ in the
group and should ensure everyone thinks about the issue for themselves.
• Read out the first statement, put it in the centre, read it again and allow
about 30 seconds thought, then ask students to put their cards down. Include
your own, if you wish.
• Ask one student to explain why they have put their card in a particular
position. It may help to choose an extreme view to provoke discussion. Ask others to explain their
positions and debate for as long as appropriate.
• Do the same thing with further statements until you are happy that the
relevant issues have been
raised. If you wish, ask students to write down the values they have at the
moment about the issues highlighted.
• Draw some conclusions about how our values affect our choices as consumers and
Click here for suggested statements