The real value of goods

1. Real Life Situation

rls_flickr paul b

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

Nowadays we buy a lot of things. Advertisements and items all around us inspire us to buy these things. But do we really need them? Do they make us happy? Let’s investigate what their real value is!

3. Task

task_flickr dennis wong

Through the following activities you will discover what kind of items and experiences make you happy. You will also think about, what you really need in a ‘non everyday’ situation. By being completely honest, you will find out what is really important to you! Enjoy the game!

4. Activities

Activity 1: What makes you happy?
Activity 2: The length of happiness...
Activity 3: How happy?
Activity 4: The objects we need
Activity 5: Giving away
Activity 6: Presentation


 Activity 1: What makes you happy?

 a1_flickr daehyun park

What made you happy recently? List 3 things– it doesn't necessarily have to be just objects, it can be a person or an event as well!


Ask 3 members of your family what has made them happy recently and record their responses (the family member can be your mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather etc.)

 Activity 2: The length of happiness…

a2_flickr smlp.co.uk

Mark in the table how long in days the things listed in the table would make you happy for!

 Activity 3: How happy?

a3_flickr bingbing

On a scale of 1 - 10 record how happy you would be with each of the things listed in Activity 2 (1: not at all happy; 10: very happy).  Use this table to record your answers

Mark on the same table how happy you would be if you got the same item again the following week!


 Activity 4: The objects we need

a4_flickr ross


You are going camping at the weekend. You will setting up your tent somewhere different each evening and hiking from one place to another. There will be a natural spring at some of the campsites, but washing facilities will not always be available. Your best friend, who usually helps you with carrying stuff, is not able to come, so you will have to carry all your luggage yourself. What would you take with you from the list of items in the table ?


 Activity 5: Giving away

a5_flickr wednesday elf mountainside crochet

Before every Christmas my friend's mum and dad ask him what his favourite toy is. After choosing his favourite toy they give it as a Christmas present to a child who has not got any toys at all. The first time my friend cried because he didn't get his favourite toy, but in the second year he couldn't wait because he was excited about giving something to someone who didn't have many toys to play with!

What would you choose as your favourite toy or belonging? Would you be able to give it to someone without buying a new one to replace it?


 Activity 6: Presentation


In small groups of 3 or 4 talk about your experiences and what you have learned. Present your conclusions to the whole class by the help of a poster or computer.

Try to consider that there are pleasures that we can purchase and there are others that can not be bought for money.

5. Reflection

Write down three things you have learnt about the real value of goods.

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

According to international surveys people in rich countries are not any happier than those in poorer ones so we shouldn't look for the key to happiness in objects and items. What about your results? Did you come up with a similar conclusion?

Connections to people, an interest in many things, noticing the beauty of the natural world, living an active life, learning new things and gaining knowledge and giving are moments in life that make us feel better. Do you agree?

7. Teacher notes

Age: 8 - 12

Activity 1: What makes you happy? (5 minutes plus homework)
Activity 2: The length of happiness (20 minutes)
Activity 3: How happy? (20minutes plus homework)
Activity 4: The objects we need (10 minutes)
Activity 5: Giving away (10 minutes)
Activity 6: Presentation (30 minutes)

Curriculum / Subject (cross-curricular links):

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the quest all students will:
Think about what makes them happy and whether material things really make us happy or just mislead us into thinking we have found happiness.

Consider the real value of goods.

Teacher assesment framework


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