Impact of Stuff

Age group: 11-15

This page provides you with a snapshot of this activity that teaches students where their food and other things come from and what impact they have on everything around them. Learn about the resources it takes to make different items that we use, including food, and the impacts these items have on the environment. Create web diagrams and discover how to calculate your ecological footprint.

We recommend that you use the ‘Introduction to Solid Waste’ activity before any of the other activities as it is a good starting point for students to learn about waste. It provides a comprehensive overview of how waste is generated and its impacts on animals, the environment and us. If you have already done so and wish to continue to download the rest of this free activity please click on the download icon below. Enjoy!

  • Learn about the resources needed to produce the different items you use in your everyday life.
  • Understand the impacts from items you use on the environment.
  • Learn how to calculate your ecological footprint.

Groups (3-4 students)
Entire class

  • Copies of ‘South Indian rice meal’ student handout.
  • Copies of ‘South Indian rice meal student information sheet’.
  • Copies of the ‘4 everyday items’ student handout.
  • Blank paper.
  • Pens or pencils.
  • Teacher information sheets.

3 class periods (145-165 minutes)

  • 1st class: steps (1-4)
  • 2nd class: step 5
  • 3rd class: steps (6-9)
Skills used:

Critical thinking
Reading and comprehension


Environmental science


  1. Print a copy of the ‘South Indian rice meal’ handout for every student.
  2. Print a copy of the ‘South Indian rice meal student
    information sheet’ for every student.
  3. For the group work:
    • Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students and assign each group a different item from the ‘4 everyday items’ handouts.
    • Print enough copies of the items so that each student
      in the group has a copy of the item assigned to them.
    • Note, if you have more than 16 students more than 1
      group can work on the same item.
  4. Read through the information provided in the activity and
    familiarise yourself with the concepts and vocabulary.

Class I


1 Class discussion (5-10 minutes):

Start a class discussion with students on the following concepts of resources, ecological footprint, and sustainability.


  • Ask students to think about all the different products that they use every day – the food they eat, the clothes they wear and the gadgets they use. All these items need many resources to make them.
  • Refer to the information on the following page to share with students.

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Lesson plan (English)