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Climate Change, Nonfiction


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences


70 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Food Waste & Our Planet

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Apr 15, 2024
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This lesson explores the complexities of food waste and its connection to climate change.


Step 1 - Inquire: Students think about food waste and how it may be connected to climate.


Step 2 - Investigate: Students learn about different sources and areas of food waste, how food waste is rooted in inequity, and how food waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students discuss different solutions and actions being taken to address food waste and reflect on the actions they can take within their own community.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson includes a diverse set of perspectives, communities, and solutions.

  • Students are able to learn about the complexity of food waste from different contexts.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students are likely to have different perspectives and emotions regarding food waste. It can be an overwhelming experience to learn about the severity of this problem. This lesson embeds questions to give students time and space to process these emotions and inequities.

  • The Big Waste video contains some statistics from 2012-2013, so some data may be outdated and obsolete.


  • Seeing the severity and inequities of food waste might cause feelings of anxiety, sadness, anger, despair, or surprise in some students. It is recommended for teachers to remind them that those feelings are normal and natural. Sharing those feelings with the class can help support students’ social-emotional learning. It is recommended to encourage students to share their honest reactions.

  • This exploration and these discussions might naturally lead into the “What can we do about it?” discussion.

Scientist Notes

This lesson illustrates the concept of food waste and food loss and provides initiatives to reduce food waste. This will not only help in improving food security but is a good alternative to drawdown greenhouse gas emissions from food waste. All materials have been fact-checked, and the lesson is credible for teaching.


Primary Standards

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.1.6-8 Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of citizens, political parties, interest groups, and the media in a variety of governmental and nongovernmental contexts.

Supporting Standard

  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.10 By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
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