View of an empty shopping cart as seen from the perspective of the shopper, with the aisle blurred.
Social Studies

The Scoop on Our Stuff

What’s the true cost of the things we buy?

Project Summary

When we go shopping, it’s easy to get caught up in the stories marketers sell us: we tend to want the fastest cell phones, the snazziest sneakers, or the most delicious lattes. But what are the REAL stories behind the products we know and love? In this project, students take on the role of investigative reporters, researching the origin stories of a variety of everyday products. Each team of students selects a different popular brand-name item and researches the political, environmental, economic, and social impacts of the item’s manufacture and distribution, following the product from the extraction of raw resources all the way to the consumer. Students compile their research into a magazine article for an audience of potential consumers of those products. Then, in a panel, they discuss their findings and potential solutions to help promote sustainable production now and in the future.

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