From Cradle to Grave: Product Lifecycles
Mar 20 2011
TeachEngineeringDigitalLibrary's picture
Source: TeachEngineerin...
Summary Information


life cycles, product, assessment, inventory, environmental impact, manufacture, materials, reengineering


Earth Science
Computer Science

Estimated Time Required:

less than 1 hour

Target Grade (Ages):

Grade 7 (Ages 12-13)

Diversity Indicators:

This activity engages different types of learners. It may be difficult for students with limited fine motor skills to manipulate a screwdriver, etc. to disassemble products so be sure to group students with limited motor skills with students who can use a screwdriver.

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Your Rating: 

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)


Great Lesson

zkorth's picture

It'd be awesome to post some actual footage of this lesson being done. Any takers? I'd like to see pros/cons and good/bad and what you reflected on as you finished the lesson.

This is a unique, rich,

Kelishs's picture

This is a unique, rich, constructive lesson. I really like the intent of the lesson comparing the life cycle of animals and product. I modified the lesson but kept the integrity of the lesson. As an activator I use a short clip from "How Things are Made" and another clip from Journey North on the life cycle of a butterfly. My second grade students and I discussed and recorded what we know about butterflies. I asked the students if they agreed with a posted statement if goods (products) also have life cycles? Most of the students stated no, which was what I expected. I did not address or implement the worksheet but as I stated before the integrity of the lesson stayed in the forefront of my objectives. Moreover, I added several book resources that provided discussion points, background knowledge, and comparison sources of life cycles. The books may be too elementary for seventh graders, but sometimes simple is better. Anyway, I used several books from a series called Start to Finish by Shannon Zemlicka, "From Rock to Road," "From Wheat to Bread," "From Sea to Salt," "From Milk to Ice Cream," From Tree to Paper," "From Sheep to Sweater," and four books from a series titled "Materials, Materials, Materials Wool" and "Materials, Materials, Materials Glass" by Chris Oxlade. I intend to implement the lesson again with modifications. I want to spend more time on the construction of products. However, at the end of the session, which in the future I plan to expand to several days, my second graders wrote the close "I used to think but now I know" and stated that yes, products have life cycles. In fact, since the lesson, which was over one month ago, my students are stating that this product has a cycle!

This is a fun lesson. I

dawnm44's picture

This is a fun lesson. I really like the way it connects the products life cycle to living things life cycle. You could open it up to have each group come up with (or research) the life cycle of an animal or plant from a different ecosystem or biome to increase variety in their answers.

Great lesson. Gives students

Mikkel Svarre Jakobsen's picture

Great lesson. Gives students a good insight into how a product is produced and whether the product has large or small impact on the environment. Remember to make the students separate the physical products and examine them.

Felicito el trabajo realizado

Ruth Loranca's picture
Felicito el trabajo realizado. Solo tengo una pregunta: ¿Tienes evidencias de los resultados de los trabajos realizados? ¿Cómo ha impactado la actividad en tus alumnos?

I enjoyed your lesson! In my

JasonWilson's picture
I enjoyed your lesson! In my school years I had so many boring lessons that discouraged me to be active and participatte during the lesson. I didn't even listened what the teacher is speaking of, what he was trying to explain. But if all lessons were like this one, that would change a lot. I love the approach the teacher selected in the classroom. As you know, theory has nothing to do with practical tasks and this is good when kids are involved practical task designing and building biodomes, resulting in acknowledgement how the energy flow between consumers and producers in an ecosystem work.This is the best site with plans for the lessons and assignment grader generally.



Me parece muy interesante y

mariana.torres's picture
Me parece muy interesante y valiosa la lección, así como la vinculación con todos los procesos de aprendizaje. Solo tengo una duda: dentro de los requisitos previos se mencionó tener conocimientos de los principios básicos de ingeniería; por lo cuál creo que eso es determinante para lograrlo en menos de 1 hora. ¿Hay alguna información de apoyo para facilitar dichos conocimientos a los alumnos que no tienen acercamiento aún con esos conocimientos?Me sería de mucha utilidad.Felicidades por la Lección realizada y los complementos y extensiones propuestas.

Esta unidad está bastante

Ana Luisa Martínez Garibay's picture
Esta unidad está bastante completa.Fortalezas:Se lleva un paso a paso de lo que debería estar pasando durante la sesión La extensión de actividades para los estudiantes son retadoras y a su vez factiblesÁreas de oportunidad:En la meta se podría hacer de su conocimiento que ellos podrán explorar y crear formas de minorizar el efecto en el medio ambiente durante el ciclo de vida de estos productos.Se podría relacionar en mayor medida a su vida cotidiana. Quizá especificando cuales son los proximos pasos por parte de los estudiantes para sumar a la causa, pueden ser acciones muy sencillas que esten dentro de su locus de control. Gracias por compartir.