Keywords: consumerism, natural resources, renewable/non-renewable resources, energy web; Grade Levels: 8; Time: 1 hour, additional time may be given for art work; Setting: indoors or outdoors with writing surface

Goals for the Lesson

  1. Recognize the natural resources used in an energy web.
  2. Realize the impact of consumerism on our natural resources both past and present.
  3. Identify solutions to over consumption.

Materials Needed

  • t-shirt
  • sharpie markers
  • rough draft scrap paper
  • pencil
  • blackboard/chalk (indoors) or dry erase board/markers (outdoors)

State Standards: Renewable/Non-renewable Resources

Teaching Method: Hands On

Subject: Science, Consumer Science, Social Studies, Art

Topic: consumerism impact on the environment


  1. Ask students to bring in an old t-shirt from home for this lesson. If there are any students unable to bring in a shirt or have forgotten a shirt purchase a few "backup" shirts at a Goodwill Store or craft store.
  2. Use a blackboard or dry erase board to introduce an energy web that includes: raw material, transportation, processing, manufacturing, transportation, marketing, and final sales.
  3. Have students brainstorm ideas in small groups (2-3) for a t-shirt energy web.
  4. Ask students to generate an illustration of a t-shirt energy web using rough draft paper.
  5. Final step, have students transfer the web they've created to a t-shirt garmet.
  6. As the t-shirts are worn, students can evaluate the variety of webs from the class and determine similarities and differences.
  7. The bonus of this lesson involves students acting as walking billboards for the general public will have the opportunity to evaluate the cost of consuming whenever the t-shirt is worn.


Students will complete a manufacturing cycle for a t-shirt. The energy web will be depicted on his and her t-shirt.

Literature Cited

Rivoli, Pietra (2006) The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Econony: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade.


Sallie Gregory, Lancaster County Conservation District