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Climate Change, Physical Geography


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography


60 minutes

Regional Focus



Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Forms


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Why Does What I Eat Matter? (Climate Change, Food Production, and Food Security #1)

Created By Teachers:
Last Updated:
Apr 27, 2024
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This lesson encourages students to think about their food choices and where their food comes from.
Step 1 - Inquire: Students think about the factors that go into their food choices and fill out the food choice factor survey.
Step 2 - Investigate: Students conduct guided research on where different ingredients are produced.
Step 3 - Inspire: Students review the Food Tracker to prepare to track their food choices.
Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson gets students thinking about what they eat, why they eat what they do, and where some of those foods may come from.

  • The guided research gives students independent time to explore where their favorite meal’s ingredients might come from.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 1 of 6 in our 6th-8th grade Climate Change, Food Production, and Food Security unit.

  • Students should understand that healthy foods like fruits and vegetables provide certain vitamins and nutrients that junk food does not.

  • Students should know the consequences of an imbalanced diet can include diabetes, obesity, and other health issues.

  • Teachers should be mindful that some students might be sensitive to topics surrounding food tracking, diet, and body image.

  • For students to access the Food Tracker, teachers can print the Google Document or assign a copy to all students digitally.


  • If teachers choose to teach this lesson without teaching the following lessons in the unit, teachers can end the lesson by having students explore this climate change food calculator after completing their Food Trackers.

  • Teachers can assign the Teacher Slideshow or Student Document on Google Classroom and students can submit their work independently.

  • Teachers can group students for the guided research section and assign them level-appropriate resources.

  • Teachers can eliminate options in the guided research section if the options are overwhelming.

  • Teachers can review the Teacher Slideshow as a class and answer the questions as a whole class assignment.

Scientist Notes

The lesson introduces students to analyze the origin or source of their food and explore and track the factors that determines their food choices. This lesson provides understanding on the implications of our food choices on achieving food security. There are no scientific misconceptions in this lesson. On that account, this lesson has passed the science credibility process.


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: Geography
      • D2.Geo.11.6-8 Explain how the relationship between the environmental characteristics of places and production of goods influences the spatial patterns of world trade.

Supporting Standard

  • 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.
Climate Change, Food Production, and Food Security Unit Lesson Plans


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  • I taught this lesson twice, once with my 8th graders and currently with my 7th graders. Having a second go around with this lesson I was able to maximize the lesson plan to its fullest potential, following it to a T and the response has been amazing. I paired this with my class's cooking class (we do a 2 week cycle making connections to food, justice, climate change, and health). My students learned their favorite foods came from countries they didn't even know existed. My dusty globe finally had purpose as excited students rushed to see the oceans their food crossed to get to America. The topic of food always has a magical way of bringing up culture and connecting students to one another, as well. Students shared their families recipes and felt a connection to self, each other, and the world as they researched. I am so excited for the end of the week conversations we will have surrounding their food trackers. It is so funny to read through a typical middle schooler's snack list and I don't think they ever imagined a class where writing "hot cheetos and cheese" or "gummy bears soaked in chamoy" would give them full credit. Will share updates along my journey with this unit!
    1 year ago