Activity Introduction

bbrw-arrow-photoframe-newQuick summary: Students investigate the true cost of smartphones. They begin by watching The Lorax and answering questions relating to the story of The Lorax and the cost of consumption. They then work in groups to look at either the environmental, social or economic costs or benefits of smartphones and present their research to the class.

This lesson supports students to inquire into the big idea of ‘real wealth’. Students develop an understanding of shared values, and build their sustainable and ethical financial knowledge, equipping them with the skills to make sound financial decisions based on social, environmental and economical merit.

We’ve taken elements of this lesson and adapted them for remote learning. You can find this activity here.

Learning goals:

  • Students understand that smartphones have a cost greater than the economic cost to the individual.
  • Students understand that the stuff we own can have environmental, social and economic costs.
  • Students recognise the connection between the story of The Lorax and human consumption.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.6, OI.8.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 5 Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Types of resources (natural, human, capital) and the ways societies use them to satisfy the needs and wants of present and future generations (ACHASSK120)

Year 5 English

  • Navigate and read texts for specific purposes applying appropriate text processing strategies, for example predicting and confirming, monitoring meaning, skimming and scanning (ACELY1702)
  • Use comprehension strategies to analyse information, integrating and linking ideas from a variety of print and digital sources (ACELY1703)

Year 6 Humanities and Social Sciences

  • The effect that consumer and financial decisions can have on the individual, the broader community and the environment (ACHASSK150)

Year 6 English

  • Select, navigate and read texts for a range of purposes, applying appropriate text processing strategies and interpreting structural features, for example table of contents, glossary, chapters, headings and subheadings (ACELY1712)
  • Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse information and ideas, comparing content from a variety of textual sources including media and digital texts (ACELY1713)

Syllabus Outcomes: EN3-3A.

Topic: Consumption

Unit of lessons: Real Wealth Year 5 & 6

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee discussion and group activities.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet. Pens, paper. Real Wealth Cheat Sheet, Glossary Years 5 & 6.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for homework or extension.

Keywords: Lorax, consumption, smartphone, environment, social, economic, costs.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

bbrw-numbers-photoframe-newTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: By participating in this lesson students will understand that smartphones have a cost greater than the economic cost to the individual, including wider environmental, social and economic costs. Students will also recognise the connection between the story of The Lorax and human consumption. Students will be encouraged to think about how businesses can operate ethically so they value more than economic endeavors.

Teacher content information: Consumption is the using up of resources to satisfy our demands. Victor Lebow, economist and retail analyst noted in 1955:

‘Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. The very meaning and significance of our live

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Where does all your stuff come from?

Watch the following clip and answer the questions below:

The Lorax By Dr Seuss's (1972) (

What’s going on in this clip?

What do you see that makes you say that?

What words would you use to describe this clip and how it made you feel (think of at least 10):


The true cost of smartphones

What area is our group investigating (e.g. economic, environmental, social)?

As a group, watch this clip and take notes about any information in the clip that might be relevant to the area your group is looking at.

Smartphones and Sustainability (

Once complete, compare notes within the group and work together to come up with three questions about this information about smartphones and the area you're investigating that you would like answered. These questions should be open-ended (questions that require more thought and can’t be answered with a single word) and as a group y

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