“There is enough on earth for everybody’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.” Gandhi

Grade Levels: 4º ESO / Bachillerato

Theme: Consumerism and consequences

Time schedule: 1 month ( 15 lessons)

Crosscurricular links: Science, Maths, Ethics, Art and Music.

Designed by: Mª José Díaz.


This project has been carried out by the students of 4th ESO C in order to make a research on consumerism and its consequences in our lifestyle and more deeply in the environment. economic systems and industrial production. To perform this task the students have been divided into 5 groups working in the following sections:

1- Planned Obsolescense (4 people)

a) Definition

b) Consequences for consumers

c) Impact on environment

d) Conclusions

e) Core Vocabulary

2. The Rich & The Poor (4 people)

“I’ve noticed the biggest hoarders and squanderers are people who don’t understand the value of money (they never had to work hard to make them) or/and feel a constant need to show everyone how much they’ve got.”

a)The ten richest people in the world:

b) Lifestyle:

c) Famous squanderers (Paris Hilton, Victoria Beckham, etc)

d) The Rich and the Poor Gap (conclusion)

e) Core Vocabulary

3. Shopping (6 people)

a ) Shopping vocabulary and expressions:

b) Best places in the world to go shopping:

-Shopping in UK: Department stores, famous shops and markets.

-Shopping in London

-Macy’s in New York:

c) Fair Trade:

d) Quizz for wise shoppers:

e)Stadistics about food, music, clothes brands

(50 people: 25 from ESO; 25 from A Levels. 25 girls and 25 boys)

f) Conclusions

g) Core Vocabulary

4. Consumerism and the Mass Media (4 people)

a) Advertising: the subliminal art (techniques to consume) (Advertising Techniques) Guide to the best and worst ads

b) The Music Trade (marketing to release a single or album)

c) Films: “Confessions of a Shopaholic”


d) Songs (Madonna’s “Material Girl”, “Money” from Cabaret film,…). Prepare a song and give it to the class as a listening exercise.

e) Conclusions (Relationship between consumption and the mass media)

f) Core Vocabulary

5. The Opposite Side of Consumerism: Charities (5 people)

  • Two international charities ( Amnesty International, Doctors without Frontiers, The Red Cross, etc.)

  • Two local charities (AFA, Cudeca, Proyecto Honduras, etc.) (Cfr. Webs)

  • Conclusion: Why are NGOs important in nowadays society?

Vid. Magazine The Nomad:


Socio-cultural (social, intercultural & civic competences)

  • To learn about the origins of planned obsolescence and its consequences in nowadays society.

  • To arise public awareness on irresponsible, devastating consumerism.

  • To promote active citizenship

  • To acquire group interaction skills (social competence)

Linguistic (Linguistic competence)

  • To learn vocabulary about planned obsolescence, shopping, music and advertising, charities.

  • To answer questions after watching a video (listening)

  • To practise the passive voice

  • To express their opinion about a fact (speaking)

  • To find out specific information in articles (reading)

  • To summarize the information

  • To write about the assigned topic

  • To do an oral presentation of a project (speaking)


  • To learn how to work autonomously (autonomous acting

    "aprender a aprender")=
  • To practise high level thinking skills: analysis, comparison, synthesis, etc. (Informational literacy)

  • To make graphics from statistics data (mathematical competence)

  • To make use of web tools, word processors. presentation software (digital competence)

  • To illustrate projects making use of art (artistic competence)


The methodology will be interactive and will benefit from the use of web resources. There will be activities to be done individually and in groups of 4, 5 or 6 students. Autonomous and self-learning approaches will be promoted as well. As for language is concerned, the approach will be communicative


1. Activating background knowledge (Breaking the ice). It has been done by an introductory activity of brainstorming to check what the students already know about the topic.

2. Developing Knowledge. At this stage students will mostly do listening and reading activities such as:

  • Watching a video (Documentary "Pyramids of Waste")

  • Listening Comprehension

  • Research on the web about the assigned topic

3. Using the knowledge This stage will comprise more open tasks. Students will have to use what they have learnt to carry out the activities. Among them we can point out:

  • Write summaries of the information found on the internet.

  • To create presentations for oral expositions


It will be carried out through class direct observation, the accomplishment of the activities, their correction and rubrics (for both self-assessment and teacher's e valuation). Aspects such as methodology efficiency, adequacy of materials and students' satisfaction will also be taken into account(Formative evaluation.)


Warm-up activity. Watch this documentary: "Pyramids of Waste" Video


-Planned obsolescence: obsolescencia o caducidad programada

-light bulb: bombilla

-cartel: formal agreement between competing firms (=empresas)

-compulsory by law: obligatorio/a por ley

-expire the warranty: caducar la garantía

-fine (n/v): multa, multar.

-ever-lasting: eterno

-stockings: medias

-thread: hilo

-overproduction: superproducción

-second-hand goods: mercancías de segunda mano

-environmental /carbon footprint: impacto ecológico

Answer these questions on the video:

  1. How long has planned obsolescence defined our lives?

  2. When was the first light bulb produced?

  3. Who was the inventor?

  4. What is "Phoebus"?

  5. How long did Thomas Edison's light bulb last?

  6. What happened in 1929?

  7. Who was Bernard London?

  8. Who was Brooks Stevens?

  9. What is the "product life cycle"?

  10. What are the three crucial factors of Consumer's society?

  11. What happened with the first stockings and why did they stop making?

  12. Did "planned obsolescence" exist in the Communist economic system?

  13. What's happening in Ghana, Africa?

  14. What is "DE-GROWTH" or "ANTI-GROWTH"?

  15. Can Marcus repair his printer at the end?. Why?.

Keys to Listening Comprehension
Pyramids of Waste.docx
Pyramids of Waste.docx
Pyramids of Waste.docx



  1. Planned Obsolescence

  2. The Rich & The Poor

  3. Shopping

    Survey on teenagers' spending habits

  4. Consumerism & The Mass Media

  5. The Opposite Side of Consumerism: Charities