How are our lives impacted through the globalization of goods and services? And how can we be a responsible consumer?
Our Grade 4 students have been inquiring into Trade and Economics within the ‘How We Organize Ourselves’ Unit. They inquired why and how people trade goods and services, the impact of trade, and finally, what it means to be a responsible consumer.
At the conclusion of the Unit, each student created a presentation that would help others think about the choice they make when buying a product. They developed the topic based on a product that they recently purchased.
‘Where did your LEGO come from?’
‘It came from Denmark.’’
‘How did it get to Japan, and do you think it had any impact on the environment?’
‘It got to Japan by plane and it flew all the way to Japan. They also had to drive from the airport to Kobe. Oh, I caused a huge carbon footprint to the earth!’
Two students decided to team up and create a short film. They carefully wrote their scripts to touch on different points regarding global trade and consumption through their conversation. In the end, they discussed some ways to be a responsible consumer. ‘What would you do when you no longer use your LEGO?’ ‘I would give or sell it to somebody instead of throwing it away.’
Another student who chose to make a slideshow about his gaming device explained that the lifespan of a product is an essential factor to consider as a responsible consumer. He said the device he purchased was supposed to last 6-10 years and could last even longer with good care. He was actually not aware of this point when he purchased it, but now that he has learned about it, he promised he would take good care of it.
‘A responsible consumer thinks if it is a need or want before buying a product.’ Another student who chose to write a book described a responsible consumer. She reflected on her recent purchase, color pencils, and thought about the positives and negatives. The positive side was that she absolutely enjoyed drawing with the new pencils. In contrast, on the negative side, she realized that she already had something similar at home. From this experience, she was convinced that thinking about need and want is a key to a good choice. She also suggested that we don’t buy more products than we need and choose products that are environmentally friendly to be responsible consumers.
In this way, our students learn by making connections between their everyday lives and global issues. They also learn to be an independent learner by choosing the best possible method to present their ideas themselves.