Activity 3-3
Consumerism and the Consumer Society



  • Develop an understanding of the term consumerism
  • Understand the social, psychological, and environmental costs of a consumer society
  • Practice outlining


Student Handout: excerpt from How Much Is Enough by Alan Durning - parts a, b, and c


One class period


Students can hand in their outlines and responses to the article for evaluation.


consumerism consumer society commercial messages advertising expenditures

Suggested Procedure

1. Pass out the article and ask students to predict from the title and subtitles what they think the article is about.

2. Have students create two columns on a sheet of paper. As they read the article, have them record the author's main point for each paragraph on the left hand side of the page.

3. After reading the article, have them write their responses or questions concerning the main points on the right hand side of the page.

4. Write the following questions on the board. Break students into groups of three-four or discuss as a class and have them use their reading logs as the basis for discussion on the questions.

Would the author support the idea of having educational T.V. programs broadcast in classrooms complete with advertisements? Why or why not? Do you support the idea?

What are the effects of our commercial culture on teenagers? Do you think teens would be willing to live more frugally as the author implies?

How might a business person, someone dependent on advertising to make a living, respond to this article?

In your opinion, are most ads beneficial to society, detrimental, or neutral? Give an example of an ad that illustrates your perspective.

5. Ask each group to turn in one sheet of paper listing all the names of the students in the group and their answers to the questions. Make sure they record those questions where there were agreements and disagreements and what the different points of view were.

6. Collect the assignment and, if there is time, discuss the questions as a whole group.


copyright information