What is it made from?

1. Real Life Situation

I get pocket money each week. I can decide to buy some things for myself or save my money to buy a big thing for myself. Last year I saved all my money to buy a new bicycle for myself. This year I have decided to spend all my money every week. This week I bought some sweets, a magazine and on Friday I am going to the cinema with my friends.

But I have a dilemma, next month it is my big sister’s birthday. Last year she bought me a new radio for my birthday which I like a lot. I want to buy something nice for my sister but it will cost a lot of money. My sister likes weird stuff; she is really interested in the environment and does not like things that cause pollution. Hmmmm...what can I buy her that is not too expensive and helps the environment. I will ask some friends for advice. Maybe my grandparents will have some good ideas, they are always saying how much better it was in their childhood!

2. Introduction



You want to give your sister an original present and so you decide to make it yourself. That way you will know that no one else will have the same present. Your sister likes clothes a lot, so why not design a special t-shirt for her?







3. Task

You will create a new design for a t-shirt. Not only does it have to look cool, but you also have to think about the kind of fabric to use, the costs involved and whether it can be produced with minimal damage to the environment. First, investigate what materials t-shirts are made from.

4. Activities

Activity 1: What are clothes made from and where are they produced?
Activity 2: How are different fabrics made?
Activity 3: Design your own t-shirt.
Activity 4: Design a brochure to promote your t-shirt.


 Activity 1: What are clothes made from and where are they produced?

task 1Have a look in your wardrobe and collect some items of clothing. Pick at least one sweater/jumper, one t-shirt and a pair of trousers. Try to find the label in each item of clothing. What materials are the clothes made from?On your worksheet , fill in the table with the name of the item of clothing and the materials it's made from.  If an item of clothing is made from more than one material, write down the name of all the materials.

Where are your clothes made?

Colour on the map of your worksheet to show where your clothes are produced (use the same colour for all the countries).

Look up the location of the countries in an atlas or on the internet if you are not sure.

Compare your results with those of your classmates.


 Activity 2: How are different fabrics made?

task 2Clothes can be made from natural materials such as cotton (denim is also cotton), silk, linen and wool. Nowadays most clothes are partly made from synthetic materials. These materials have names such as Lycra, polyester, acryl or viscose and are in fact made from oil. A lot of products are actually made from oil or recycled plastic. Fleece sweaters can even be made from plastic bottles!

On your worksheet, fill in where the raw materials were produced and colour these countries on your map using a different colour to the one used for where the clothes were made.



 Activity 3: Design your own t-shirt

Make a design for your t-shirt. You can use this template to help.


 Activity 4: Design a brochure to promote your t-shirts

What is important to you when you buy a t-shirt? For example, do you consider how a t-shirt is produced (including possible child labour or the use of pesticides), how much it costs, what it looks like or a combination of these factors?

Design a leaflet explaining why people should buy your t-shirt. You need to state in your leaflet why you made your choices, for example why you chose which material to use and where the material came from etc. Show your design on the first page and your explanation on the second page.

5. Reflection

Write down three things you have learnt about what things are made from.

Write down two things you would like to find out more about.

Choose one of these things, how could you find out more about it?

Consumption learning wall

6. Conclusion

You have now designed your own t-shirt and explained in a brochure why you have made your choices.

If you want to start your own production line you can start at the very beginning and grow your own cotton!

7. Teacher notes

 Age: 8 -12

Activity 1: What are clothes made from and where are they produced? (25 minutes)
Activity 2: How are different fabrics made? (15 minutes)
Activity 3: Design your own t-shirt (20 minutes)
Activity 4: Design a brochure to promote your t-shirts (30 minutes)

Curriculum / Subject (cross-curricular links):

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the quest all students will:

Realise that their clothes are made from different materials
Understand that the materials in their clothes often come from a different country to where the clothes are produced.
Give arguments for their choices regarding a T-shirt that they have designed.


Supporting Information

Teacher assesment framework


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