An everyday object
Pen and paper
Choose an everyday object you own (something in your possession), ideally an uncomplicated one – nothing with circuitry. Where did you buy it? Go over it closely: notice labels, stamps, brand names, materials. Make educated guesses as to what everything is made of if there’s no indication. (In class, we used Marcha’s hat. Thanks Marcha!) Do some quick Googling. Can you figure out where it was manufactured? Where it was sourced? How it moved around before coming into your possession?
You want to assemble something approximating an inventory of all the materials and all the processes necessary for your object to exist. Draw these out on a single sheet of paper in some kind of arrangement or display: you can use a timeline, or a map, or a flowchart, or something of your own invention.
Your goal is for this map (or whatever) to go as far back to the beginning of the existence of the object – and components – as possible, and then to extend it into the future: where does it go, what happens to it, when and how will it cease to exist? On a singe page, try to produce a map of the logistics that go into even this simple thing over its entire lifespan.