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Angel Chang


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Chemistry, Economics

Resource Types

  • Videos, 5 minutes, 23 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Articles and Websites
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessments

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, Asia

The Wildly Complex Anatomy of a Sneaker

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  • This video describes the environmental effects of sneaker manufacturing, synthetic materials used in these shoes, unfair labor practices, and harmful chemicals used to produce them.
  • The resource includes multiple-choice questions, discussion questions, and additional resources on the topic. 
Teaching Tips


  • This animated video uses effective visuals to explain concepts such as manufacturing and fossil fuel extraction.
  • The video ends with the proposal of a few key solutions to increase the sustainability of sneaker production, such as supporting producers using clean energy and using eco-friendly materials in manufacturing.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers and students must create a free account to answer the questions in the Think section or comment in the Discuss section.
  • The links to the Global Fashion Agenda in the Dig Deeper section do not work.


  • Sneakers and clothing are often high-interest topics for students. Teachers can make the most of students' interests by assigning additional exploration and research activities as a follow-up to this video. Students could research where and how their favorite brands of sneakers are manufactured.
  • The Dig Deeper section links to several helpful resources on sneaker and clothing manufacturing. Teachers could select articles from the Dig Deeper section for students to read and discuss in small groups. 
  • Teachers may want to focus on solutions rather than consumer guilt when approaching this topic. Students can generate action steps, such as writing to sneaker brands to voice their concerns or pledging to keep their sneakers in good condition so they last longer.
  • Economics classes could use this video to connect globalization, consumerism, development, and carbon emissions.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on making clothing more sustainable and ethical and this TED-Ed lesson on the life cycle of a t-shirt.
Scientist Notes
The products we buy every day have many hidden costs that we don't consider. One such example is the cost of carbon emissions. This TED-Ed video dives into the process of manufacturing sneakers to look at the carbon cost. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.6-8 Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
      • D2.Eco.15.9-12 Explain how current globalization trends and policies affect economic growth, labor markets, rights of citizens, the environment, and resource and income distribution in different nations.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
  • Related Resources


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