Lesson Plan Feature: Nutrition and the American Consumer

Food Inc.In Food, Inc., a POV film that premiered in August 2011,  filmmaker Robert Kenner lifted the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that’s been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA.  The documentary reveals surprising — and often shocking truths — about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

The following lesson plans can be used individually or as  a unit, with the film Food, Inc. as a learning tool in the subject areas of Economics, Civics, Current Events, U.S. History, Health and Language Arts, and are written for grades 6-12.

Lesson #1: Evaluating Information on Food Labels
In this lesson, students can use these materials to explore what consumers should be able to learn about food from Nutrition Facts panels.

Lesson #2: U.S. Agricultural Subsidies and Nutrition
Classrooms can use this lesson plan to investigate how agricultural subsidies influence food choices, health and the economy.

Lesson #3: The Impact of Genetically Modified Seeds
This lesson plan explores the benefits and controversies of using genetically modified seeds.

Please note that POV documentaries can be recorded off-the-air and used for educational purposes for up to one year from their initial broadcast. In addition, POV offers a lending library of DVDs and VHS tapes that you can borrow any time during the school year — FOR FREE! Get started by joining the POV  Community Network.

Lesson Plan: “They’re Coming to America: Immigrants of Past and Present”

In this lesson, students will explore the history of United States immigrants. In the Introductory Activity, students will identify their own countries of heritage, as well as those of their classmates. Students will then identify ethnic groups that migrated to the United States during various historic “waves” of immigration. In the Learning Activities, students will explore video segments to develop an understanding of key motivations for immigration, and explore online resources to examine specific immigrant experiences from various points in American history. In the Culminating Activity, students will utilize their historical knowledge and examination of case studies to develop a brief narrative summarizing the experiences, aspirations, and emotions of a hypothetical immigrant to the United States in the past or the present.

The activities in this lesson plan have been designed for students in grades 5-7.  Time allotment is approximately three 45-minute periods for the entire unit.  For a printer-friendly version, download here.

This lesson plan was adapted for the original PBS program Faces of America.  If you would like to borrow the program from the WGBY Video Lending Library, its Library ID is 1986; borrow it from the WGBY Collection at the Springfield Public Library.

Watch the teaser trailer here: