Saving the World: A Gift at a Time

A. Wills
Multiple Subject Teacher

Students will find, list, and explain how to limit consumption of new goods by designing an alternative registry for an event (wedding, birthday, anniversary)

Grade Level: 9 - 12th

Subject: Environmental, Science

Length of Time: 30 - 40 Minutes

Featured Programs:
Sponsored School(s)

Objectives & Outcomes

Learners will be able to find appropriate gift alternatives that would limit consumer consumption and benefit the environment.

Materials Needed

  • paper
  • pencil
  • computer access (optional)


Opening to Lesson

Begin by asking students a simple question: What do the following have in common (birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations)? Answer: All celebrations, all typically receive gifts (have registries). Explain to students that each of these events can also be tough on the environment because of an increased level of consumption of both goods and resources to create those goods. Have students talk about what happens during such an event (lots of trash, travel to other people’s homes, wasted gifts, etc.)

Body of Lesson

  • Explain that there are ways to celebrate without harming the environment on such a large scale.
  • Tell students that this does not mean that no gifts will be exchanged, just that the gifts may be different than expected.
  • Tell students that they will be creating an alternate gift list (or registry) for the event of their choosing.
  • Explain that the gifts should be appropriate, but limit the impact on the environment.
  • One example may be that a person asks to have the oil in their car changed instead of asking for new seat covers.
  • Allow students to create their alternate registry. Display registries.


Have students discuss one item that they would consider giving up for a less consumable option for the upcoming holidays (events). Why would this be something worth changing?

Sponsored Content

Assessment & Evaluation

Students will be assessed on participation through valid choices and creation of a registry

Modification & Differentiation

Students may need some guidance in getting started or could work in a small group.

Related Lesson Plans

Cost of Recycling

Each pair of students will trace 1 single recyclable product, from manufacturer to recycling center, examining costs of making the product and recycling it, answering the question:  Is recycling worth it?

Two Sides of an Issue

A controversial issue, such as global warming, will be researched using the vast resources of the Internet.  The students will research both sides, either supporting or disputing the facts, opinions, and other information.

Oil and Grease

The students will research oil and grease recycling.

Creature Connection

The student will research three living creatures, write a short report for each, and discover the ecological connections between each.