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Starter Activity 3: Line-upsLine-ups
An activity to encourage students to think about how sustainability issues are embedded in many day-to-day activities and throughout a product’s life cycle. It also aims to show how sustainability issues have implications for all designing and making activities.

When to 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.

Assessment criteria
The activity is not intended to meet specific criteria but will certainly help students understand fundamental issues of sustainability

The Activity 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 their life.

• 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 involved?

• 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 don’t 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 cooled?
- Do they use a pot or percolator?

• Complete a third line-up using the end of life-cycle, asking students to assess:

- 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 ideas of other daily activities


Starter Activity 1: What's wrong with the world?Starter Activity 2: Belief CirclesStarter Activity 3: Line-upsStarter Activity 4: Product PairsStarter Activity 5: The Bigger PictureStarter Activity 6: Footprint Analysis