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Buy Nothing Trend ESL Lesson

The 'Buy Nothing' Trend On Social Media

Student Level


Video Length: 2:56

Updated on: 06/30/2024

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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Buy Nothing Trend ESL Lesson Description


This ESL lesson plan on the 'buy nothing' trend provides activities, PDF worksheets, and digital materials designed for intermediate B1 - B2 students. In this lesson, students will:

  • Discuss some questions about second-hand exchange
  • Learn vocabulary about online marketplace exchanges for second-hand products
  • Watch a video report on a 'Buy Nothing' trend on social media
  • Learn and study grammar on non-defining relative clauses
  • Write lists of items they would like to get and give away
  • Have conversations about these items and describe them


In the preview section, students begin by reading a comment from a girl named Nadia and a reply from her friend, Dora. They complete Dora’s response with 2-3 possible ideas, then compare their answers with a classmate or the teacher.

Next, they discuss questions about the pros and cons of using second-hand items, sharing personal experiences and thoughts on online platforms for second-hand exchanges. Finally, students imagine a new 'Buy Nothing' project in their community, making predictions by combining provided adjectives and nouns.


During the viewing activity, students watch a news report video about the rise of the 'Buy Nothing' trend. In the first activity, they write short answers to questions about rising costs and the purposes of the 'Buy Nothing' project. They learn about participants' experiences, such as items received for free and money saved. Following this, students match sentences about the project to reinforce their understanding. They then focus on listening skills by selecting the correct words or phrases from a segment about Freecycle.


In the follow-up, students discuss whether their opinions on using second-hand items have changed after watching the video. They explore local gift-giving services, considering if they would join such initiatives. Students also read a post from an online Buy Nothing group, choosing correct grammar options related to non-defining relative clauses. They practice rewriting posts using non-defining relative clauses to enhance their grammar skills in context.


In this engaging activity, students list items they would like to give away and receive, considering different categories such as furniture, clothing, and electronics. Working with a partner or the teacher, they share and describe their lists, discussing the potential usefulness of the items. They practice using relative clauses during their discussions. As a bonus, students write posts for an online Buy Nothing group, describing items they want or wish to give away, incorporating relative clauses for clarity. They then share their posts for feedback.


Listening Skills

Develops listening comprehension through video content about community projects.

Critical Thinking

Encourages students to think about the impact of consumer habits and alternative solutions.

Engaging Topic

New social and cultural trends tend to engage students. This is an original idea that students might find interest students, and it could even have a positive impact in their personal lives.

Cultural Awareness

The lesson introduces students to concepts of community support and sharing economies.


Video Description

Learn all about the 'Buy Nothing' project becoming popular due to soaring costs of living and inflation.

Lesson Activities


Buy Nothing Trend, Second-Hand Exchange


Short Answers, Matching, Word Choice


Collocations (adjectives + nouns)


Relative Clauses


Buy Nothing, But Gain & Give Something!, Quiz & Review, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Social Trends, Second-Hand

Lesson Preview

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