Circular Economy Lesson Plans

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation sponsors the Circular Economy Lesson Plans collected on the AskNature website. They provide six lesson plans that they say will encourage students to question the linear economy and move toward a circular one.

They explain that the circular economy is a biomimetic concept, inspired by the flow of resources and energy within ecosystems. This series of six lesson plans provide a good introduction to the circular economy, and can be taught in sequence or as stand-alone lessons. The site also provides other resources for learning about the circular economy. Lessons take from 45 to 120 minutes each and longer ones can be split into two classes. Several of the activities include looking at how nature is a good place to find models for circular economies.

  • Lesson 1, Challenging Common Conceptions, uses 9 YouTube videos of ~1 minute each to stimulate classroom discussions.
  • Lesson 2, Exploring the Circular Economy, consists of a card activity to explore both the linear and circular economies.
  • Lesson 3, Understanding the Challenge of “Finite” Resources, uses videos and classroom discussions.
  • Lesson 4, Designing for a Circular Economy, presents case studies and a video, then has the students design a product or service.
  • Lesson 5, The Circular Economy and Modern Agriculture has videos, case studies, and student discussions. Lesson 6, Redesigning Plastics, uses slides, discussion, and ends with hands-on designing.


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