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The Kid Should See This, Ellen MacArthur Foundation


10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Economics

Resource Types

  • Videos, 3 minutes, 49 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus


What Is the Circular Economy?

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  • This video explains how we could use the natural world as a model for a less wasteful economy. 
  • Students will learn about reducing waste through biodegradation, repurposing products, and rethinking our economic infrastructures. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video connects concepts from biology and the natural world to our economic systems and our relationship with products.
  • A brief article provides links to more information on circular economies.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with terms such as biodegradable, compostable, landfill, and soil nutrients.
  • The video does not mention our consumption habits; instead, it focuses on repurposing products and updating systems.


  • Students could write an explanation for why they think it's called a "circular economy."
  • Students could brainstorm ways they can reuse, recycle, and reduce waste at home and school.
  • Students could design sustainable products that would belong in a circular economy.
  • Other resources on this topic include this ClimateScience course on climate economics, this video on building an economy that is meant to thrive, not grow, this video on doughnut economics, and this video about recycling technology.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a 4-minute video and accompanying article that explores potential methods for transforming our purchase-use-dispose economy into a more circular economy that mimics the natural world and allows us to reduce or eliminate waste. This resource focuses on updates to technologies and systems and does not emphasize other behavioral changes such as reducing consumption. Nonetheless, this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS.ESS3.4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • Social Sciences
    • Economics: National Economy (9-12)
      • HS.21 Analyze the ways in which incentives and competition influence production and distribution in a market system.
  • Related Resources


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