Unit Description: Students will select a consumer product that is packaged in plastic to investigate. In their investigation they will first determine the chemical compounds of plastic and trace the origins of those ingredients. In tracing their origin, students will locate parts of the world that the compound is sourced from. Using the sustainability triangle, they will examine and evaluate the impact of extracting, that resource. Next, they will investigate the rest of the product life cycle from production, to distribution, to consumption, to disposal and at each stage assess the sustainability impact. They will use those understandings to inform others about factors to consider when making consumer choices.

Project: Students will choose a consumer product to investigate and create a short-film about the life of its packaging. Using the sustainability triangle as a framework, students will evaluate the impact of their product’s packaging on people and the environment in order to inform their position on the question: are sustainable choices important?

Essential Questions: How are products produced, distributed, consumed? Are sustainable choices important?


  • Chemistry
  • Geography & Economics – Impacts of decision making, connection between people, place, trade, production
  • Writing – Narrative and explanatory
  • Reading Strategies – decoding and annotating informational texts, paraphrasing and summarising
  • Research Strategies – using effective search terms, evaluating sources
  • Texts include: Informational text excerpts from Eyes Wide Open and Story of Stuff. Thematic poems and short stories including “Warned’, ‘Eyes Wide Open’, ‘The Lorax’, and ‘Rocking Horse Winner’.
  • Design Technology-Understanding the ISB Design Cycle and creating a prototype of packaging that will improve the sustainability of their product.

21st Century Skills Focus: Global Thinking; Inquiry, Problem Solving and Critical Thinking