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Madhavi Venkatesan


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


Social Studies, Economics

Resource Types

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 33 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Interactive Media
  • Assessments

Regional Focus


The Life Cycle of a Pair of Jeans

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  • This video from TedEd explains how changes in the production practices of jeans have worsened their environmental impact. 
  • Jeans were first created to be durable work pants and used natural dyes and threads. Today, jeans last on average a year, include synthetic threads, and are dyed and distressed with toxic chemicals. 
  • The video ends with suggestions for how companies and individuals can reduce the environmental impact of jeans.
Teaching Tips


  • There is a short quiz to test students' comprehension of the video.
  • There is an additional list of sources that students can use to further learn about the denim life cycle.
  • The video uses creative animation to keep the viewer engaged, and actionable advice is given at the end.

Additional Prerequisites

  • There may be an ad before the video.
  • Students can answer questions without signing in, but for their work to be saved they must create a free account.
  • Students should be familiar with the metric system.


  • This would be a great resource to use when learning about climate change and consumerism because so many people buy jeans and denim products.
  • This would be a great video to watch in an economics class when talking about the true cost of products, and why things are made overseas instead of in the U.S.
  • The video discusses how jeans can be associated with poor labor practices, forced labor, and child labor, which could be used to open a broader discussion about workers rights and ethical manufacturing.
  • Some related resources are the video The True Cost of Coffee, the video The True Cost of Cheap Clothes, and the StC lesson plan Calculate Your Own Carbon Footprint.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a 5-minute animated video that explores the history, manufacture, and environmental impact of jean pants. This resource covers a lot of material in a short amount of time, but does so in a clear and understandable manner. This resource moves through cotton growth, thread and cloth manufacturing, dying, distribution, before concluding with a discussion of consumer-end choices for reducing the climate, environmental, and social impacts of jean consumption. This resource includes multiple choice questions, additional links, and a space for discussion. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • 6.SL.2 Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
      • 7.SL.2 Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.
      • 8.SL.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats and evaluate the motives behind its presentation.
  • Social Sciences
    • Economics (K-8)
      • 7.8 Examine how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
    • Economics: Global Economy (9-12)
      • HS.24 Explain how current globalization trends and policies affect economic growth, labor markets, labor conditions, human rights, the environment, and resource and income distribution in different nations.
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