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Design Thinking


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Computer Science and Design Thinking


110 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey


Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Forms


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Is Non-Dairy the Future?

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Dec 1, 2023
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In this lesson, students examine the nutritional value and environmental impact of non-dairy alternatives as a replacement to traditional dairy.


Step 1 - Inquire: Students discuss their current knowledge about both the dairy and non-dairy industries and compare those predispositions to graphical data.


Step 2 - Investigate: Students deliberate about the perceived worth of non-dairy alternatives based on nutritional value before revisiting the graphical data to further compare the positive and negative aspects of each industry.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students create a flier promoting the inclusion of non-dairy alternatives in the cafeteria.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students undergo the process of identifying a possible issue, gathering evidence to prove or deny it, and proposing a solution to it.

  • Students have a voice in their school environment and culture.

  • Students learn about new foods and lifestyles.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers may need to prepare for the possibility of their students presenting to the school administration and/or board.

  • Teachers may need to clarify the meaning of “dairy” and “non-dairy” to students.


  • Students work in small groups, providing multiple opportunities for students to problem solve before asking the teacher.

  • Teachers can have students explore the more advanced table in the science article or look through FoodData Central if that is too advanced.

Scientist Notes

Milk sourced from cows has, by far, the largest environmental impact of all of the milk options. But when it comes to the non-dairy competitors, there is no clear winner, as this lesson investigates. All of the resources in this lesson have passed the scientific review process.


Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to New Jersey standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on the New Jersey Climate Education Hub.
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