Why Teach Consumer Awareness?

Learn about why teachers should use consumer awareness lessons in your classroom to help students think critically about the advertisements and information they consume.

Do you teach consumer awareness lessons?

No matter who you are and where you live, you are a consumer.  As consumers, our lives are full of choices – which brand to buy, where to shop, what to eat, and even how much is reasonable to pay for something. These are all things we must contemplate on a daily basis. Students are consumers too and it is important that they learn to think critically about all of the advertising claims presented to them daily.  

Let’s talk about seven reasons it is important to actively teach our students about consumer awareness.

Why Teach Consumer Awareness Lessons?

Reason One: Help Students Develop Decision-Making Skills

When we are young our parents make our consumer choices for us – what toys we play with, what food we eat, even what diapers we wear. As we get older though, we begin to make choices for ourselves. Our students are just starting to step into this independence. Teaching consumer awareness can help your students gain the background knowledge to make informed and intelligent decisions instead of just going with what the advertisements tell them to do.

Reason Two: Help Students Develop Fiscal Responsibility

Most students need help to develop fiscal responsibility.

Purchasing items that you want is fun. Walking out of the store with that new shade of eyeshadow or the latest ball cap for your favourite team gives satisfaction. But do you really need those things when you already have five other eyeshadow palettes in similar colours and your ball cap collection doesn’t fit on its shelf anymore?  

Advertisers and our culture want us to believe that yes we do need these things (and so much more); they tell us it is just a little bit of money and money is meant to be spent, we deserve them, and we will look so cool/pretty/on-trend/etc., if we just go make these purchases. Without lessons on fiscal responsibility and consumer awareness, students have few other voices to listen to when deciding how and where to spend their money.

Reason Three: Help Students Develop A Social Consciousness

Consumer awareness is also about developing socially conscious individuals. We live in a culture that tells us that new is best, appearances are a reality, and self-gratification should be our number one priority. But in reality, buying new clothes every year impacts the environment, bottled water is not always purer than tap, and the decisions we make for ourselves often have significant consequences well beyond us. By helping your students understand these lessons, you help them develop into socially conscious individuals.

Reason Four: It Impacts Student Health

Teaching consumer awareness impacts the health of our students. How do we know that what we put on and in our bodies is healthy? We have to navigate claims like:

  • The salad has to be better than the hamburger—look at all the veggies on it!  
  • Well, it’s organic…  
  • I don’t smoke.  I only vape, so that is fine.  
  • Look, the label says “low fat”!  

Teaching our students to understand labelling, what things mean (and don’t mean), and how companies affect our opinions and decisions means that students gain the skills necessary to make healthy and informed decisions for life.

Reason Five: Help Students Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Teaching consumer awareness means helping your students develop critical thinking skills. Improving thinking and questioning skills in our students is something teachers strive for every day. Not only is it important when reading and responding to literature and history, but the skills to read critically and question assertions are also important in every aspect of students’ daily lives. Where is my money going, why do I want to spend it here, should I buy this  – are all valid and important questions. By helping our students establish these questioning habits, we help them apply critical thinking and questioning skills to life. 

Reason Six: It’s Important to Everyone 

As pointed out above we are consumers, and the companies that make the things we consume spend billions upon billions of dollars trying to convince us which goods to consume. With that kind of money and therefore power and influence, it is important to develop the skills necessary to recognize marketing tactics and outside influences when we make our decisions. Am I purchasing this because I personally like/need/want it or because someone else has made me like/need/want it?  By teaching our young people how to recognize these marketing pressures, we set them up for success in the future.

Reason Seven: It’s Really Engaging

Consumer awareness lessons are really enjoyable for both students and teachers. They generate really good discussions and student thinking.

Ready To Go Consumer Awareness Lessons

I created several consumer awareness lessons to cover my media literacy curriculum standards. 

Each lesson contains: 

  1. Introduction to Consumer Awareness
  2. Comprehension Questions + Answer Key
  3. Journal Entry Assessment
  4. Quiz + Answer Key
  5. Extend Your Learning Assignment

Media Literacy Bundle 1

Help your students develop an understanding of consumer awareness and media literacy with this engaging 10 lesson bundle.

Topics Covered:

  • Checkout Charities
  • Clothing Waste
  • Gender Price Differences
  • Outlet vs. Retail
  • Bottled Water
  • Misleading Food Labels
  • Breakfast Sandwiches
  • Makeup Testers
  • Healthy or Junk Food?
  • Orange Juice

Teacher Feedback

“Absolutely fantastic resource for Media Literacy! I had purchased a few of the lessons separately and they were so great I decided to buy the entire bundle. Thank you!”

Media Literacy Bundle 2

Your students will develop a deeper understanding of consumer awareness and media literacy with this fantastic10 lesson bundle.

Topics Covered:

  • Composting Myths
  • DNA Testing
  • Fake Products
  • Food Prices in Northern Canada
  • Plastic Waste
  • Product Returns
  • Shrinking Products
  • Smartphone Addiction
  • Smartphone App Privacy
  • Expensive Shoes

Teacher Feedback

“Your media literacy lessons are always, current, informative, and engaging. The students love them.”

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