Janesville Schools consider the 'Material World'

Material World video

Teachers Emily Stensland and Liz Foelske involved 6th-8th graders in cross-curricular activities for a unit that explored decisions about material possessions.

“Of the many activities, we explored – really pored over – was the Material World resource," shared Stensland citing Peter Menzel's book, a collection of photographs that comment on the material possessions of families around the world. "Students could not get enough time with the books and found that they really wanted to read about the pictures."

The class made a Venn diagram sorting needs and wants and presented supporting arguments for their decisions, pictured above. Students also observed Material World photographs, comparing and contrasting the differences between countries through a writing exercise.

The unit brought together all of the core teachers who work with the students, the principal, the lunch helpers, the bus drivers, the custodians, and even the superintendent as participants.

Copies of Material World: A Global Family Portrait are available from several Area Education Agencies and local libraries.

Go to the video

Browse other ideas for using Material World in the classroom

  • Susan Salterberg
    Susan Salterberg
    The Way We Live Program Manager

    Susan is passionate about creating a better world for present and future generations. She has more than 35 years of combined experience in communications and environmental education work. Susan envisions a world filled with people who are focused on relationships, service, and experiences - not on "stuff."

    AT THE CEEE: Secret Lives of "Stuff"  /  Reclaim Your Holidays
    ON FACEBOOK: Reclaim Your Holidays

    susan.salterberg@uni.edu / (319) 337-4816
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