Workshop experiment: product free (he) live it – mifactori

Workshop experiment: product free (he) it lives

(TIP: Watch the video at double speed, just click on the gear, the video is also available in landscape mode.)


In this workshop, we are concerned with the production of products and the often associated environmental problems. We produce a child-friendly version of the educational video “Story Of Stuff”. In addition, we write and illustrate a “book of product-free life”.

DANGER! This workshop experiment was only partially effective. Nevertheless, we document our steps and always write “criticism” about it. So you can possibly improve on a separate version of the workshop.

Schedule / modules:

The workshop was developed and carried out in the context of “Palace of the projects – the ecological future city” in the Fichtelgebirge primary school Berlin. Documented is a performance with 22 children between 6 and 9 years (1-3 grades), 3 adults (2 artists, 1 teacher * in) over 3 days with 3 to 3.5 hours working time for the children (8: 00-12: 00). Individual elements can be detached and carried out separately.

(Documentation written down quickly, no proofreading)

DAY 1: Watch movie and script creation

After an introduction in which we explain to the children what we want in the workshop and what we want to do as an “experiment”, we look at the German translation of the movie “Story Of Stuff”. We stop the film at regular intervals. The children should summarize or in their own words reflect what they have heard and understood. We log this live on the Smartboard. So we create together our script for the next day.

DOWNLOAD: Detailed schedule Day 1 including TIMES to stop the video: As .PDF | As editable .DOC

Story of Stuff Original

In between, we always do it exercise breaks and play Charade with products. The products that the children come up with are recorded – a list of various products is growing. Every child who has presented a product enters it in a document afterwards.

At the end we go to nearby supermarkets and get us cardboard for the next workshop day.

CRITICISM: The film Story of Stuff as a source material has the advantage that it brings a very well-done division and visualization. However, the presentation of the content part is a bit too harsh and generalized. Maybe this movie is not the best choice. One might try to approximate the content of each step differently with other sources and perhaps even excursions.

DAY 2: prop building and video shooting

We divide the class into five groups and give each of them a part of the finalized script, which we have revised once again and also divided into five sections.

DOWNLOAD: Final script as .PDF or editable .DOC

In their groups, the children discuss what they need to script for props and begin to cut out of old packaging cardboard, paint with street chalk and stick on skewers. This is how a kind of hand puppet becomes.

Then they should decide who reads the text and together develop and rehearse a choreography of the props to the text: What is shown in which text passage?

We are building a professional video station with Molton fabric, tripods, lighting controls and tripods. There, the groups go and record their part of the script. Since this does not work very well with the real-time sound in a class with 24 active students, we record the sound tracks individually in a quieter side room, thus underpinning the movie pictures later.

CRITICISM: Several things did not go well here. The children needed more preparation and closer support in creating their props and rehearsals of their choreography than we could give. In addition one would need a quiet side room, in which one always with a group the respective part films. And last but not least: In the finished video you can see that we ourselves have not mastered our camera and lighting technology. Here you would have to think about a different setting or plan more time for the device. Probably a simple smartphone in a simple light would be enough but as for example.

DAY 3: Book The Product Free World

While the film is cut in the background, we talk to the children about strategies for less consumption. How can you live well with less stuff? We show you e.g. the zero-waste movement and the many ideas for a life without garbage that produces this movement. (Examples: Our workshop on Laura’s podcast with very many ideas, for example in the collected episodes).

We play a round of charades with products again and expand our list of sample products. Then the children should choose products from the list and consider “product-free” alternatives. We provide a word frame for this:

Example: “People used to play PlayStation, today they walk in the park”. For that they make first drawings.

We introduce all the ideas in the classroom and develop them in a joint brainstorming session. Then the kids go back to the drawing tables. Each one creates a page for our “Product Free Life” book (similar to our “Car Free City Book” from PdP Workshop 6). At the end we put the book together and put it together.

Journey through the book:

(Tip: Watch video at double speed by simply clicking on the gear in the video player.)

Then we make a visit to the already quite filled Palace of Projects. Based on the already available online documentation, we explain what the other classes have done and what ideas for a sustainable city we have tried so far.

Then Tristan is done with the video editing and we celebrate movie premiere.

CRITICISM: “The Book of Product Free Life” is a good idea. However, the formula we have suggested is “I used to …. today I do … “not the best solution for it? It does not always make sense and sometimes makes product-free life barren. Maybe there can be a better solution. There are also two three places in the book that show where a product-free life may also be in need of discussion. You could go into that more if you wanted. But all in all, the idea of ​​this book worked out well.


A project from the eco-city.

The workshop was developed and carried out in the context of “Palace of the projects – the ecological future city” in the Fichtelgebirge primary school Berlin.


The text as well as all pictures on this page are under an open license (CC-BY). So you are free to use. What you have to pay attention to is here.

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