Through readings, activities and discussions, students follow Coco, Dean and Poppy as they shop for new clothes. Poppy offers her friends a sustainable alternative to their “fast fashion” choices. She introduces them to Rosie, who runs a second-hand clothing store. Rosie explains how marketing, worker exploitation, overproduction and overconsumption lead to massive amounts of clothing waste. Students explore solutions offered by “circular fashion”—the opposite of “throw-away” fashion.
- Grade 3
- Grade 4
- Grade 5
In-class or online lesson
Ecosystems, Green Guardianship, Environmental Justice, Pollution, Resource Conservation, Sustainable Human Development, Waste Management
Environmental Literacy Core Principles
For a summary of the environmental literacy principles and concepts embedded in this lesson series, please visit Green Guardians Environmental Literacy Core Principles.
ELA: RL.3.1, RL.3.2, RL.3.3, RL.3.4, W.3.7, W.3.8, SL.3.1, SL.3.2, SL.3.3, SL.3.4, SL.3.6, RL.4.1, RL.4.4, RL.4.7, W.4.7, W.4.8, W.4.9, SL.4.1, SL.4.2, SL.4.3, SL.4.4, RL.5.1, RL.5.3, RL.5.4, W.5.7, W.5.8, W.5.9, SL.5.1, SL.5.2, SL.5.3, SL.5.4
History-Social Science: HSS-3.5.3
Science: 3-5-ETS1-, 3-5-ETS1-2
This project may easily be extended into optional family discussions and activities around clothing, sustainable and unsustainable fashion trends, reuse of clothing and upcycling and recycling fabric waste. To facilitate this engagement, a family guide (in English and Spanish) has been created which teachers may choose to forward to interested parents and guardians.
Three lessons of 30-40 minutes each.
Lesson 1: A Shopping Trip
Through a story and related activities, students are introduced to the advantages of wearing reused clothing. Coco, Dean and Poppy are shopping for new clothes to wear on the first day of school. At the mall, Coco and Dean are captivated by cheap “fast fashions”. But Poppy will have none of it. She invites her friends to Rosie’s Second-hand Shop where she volunteers. Coco and Dean begin to reconsider their shopping habits.
Lesson 2: What a Waste!
Through a story and related activities, students learn about the environmental impact of clothing. Rosie explains that the fashion industry makes a huge carbon footprint. It feeds consumers’ demand for cheap, stylish clothes by producing items quickly and in large quantities. Students consider how textile waste is managed and where it ends up. Donating used clothing to thrift stores like Rosie’s is only a partial solution.
Lesson 3: 6Rs for Reducing Clothing Waste
In the third lesson, Poppy and friends research more on clothing waste and discuss the social impact of the “throwaway” culture. They are determined to make fashion circular by applying the 6Rs: refuse, re-wear, reuse, repair, repurpose and recycle. They also learn about the pros and cons of organic cotton and alternative fibers like bamboo. The lesson invites students to start their own circular fashion initiative by identifying a clothing-waste related problem at home or in their community, researching existing practices and proposing a solution.