This adapted scientific paper is about the carbon and water footprints of different foods and includes an introductory video about why our food requires so much land and water to produce.
Students will learn how much they can reduce their environmental footprint just by substituting just one food in their meal.
By the end of the article, students have an actionable way to reduce their environmental footprint and tackle climate change.
The resource includes additional lesson ideas, related articles, and a glossary of key terms.
The article is also available in Bulgarian.
Teachers must fill in a form with their name, email, and school information to access the teacher's key, which includes answers to the comprehension questions.
Students should be familiar with the causes of climate change and the importance of access to fresh water.
Although the information in the article can be applied globally, the study and some of the data mentioned in the video are focused on the United States.
It may be helpful for some students to use the video version of the article.
Younger students can work in pairs to answer the comprehension questions.
More advanced students can look into the sources of emissions from producing different foods or read the original research paper.
The lesson plan ideas and related articles listed include experiments, worksheets, and videos that can be used to better students' understanding of the environmental effects of food production.
As an extension, have students research five more foods and potential substitutes using this Environmental Impacts of Food Data Explorer. Have students address the issues related to land use and water use, including deforestation, water pollution, and biodiversity loss.
Use this other lesson to have students learn more about how food production affects the planet and this video to teach students about the environmental impact of beef.
A significant portion of the world consumes beef products as their primary source of protein. But beef requires more water and energy per pound of food product than any other. This resource explains how reducing beef consumption could significantly reduce carbon emissions across the globe. This resource is thoroughly researched and cited and is recommended for teaching.
Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
HS-ESS3-3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
D4.7.6-8 Assess their individual and collective capacities to take action to address local, regional, and global problems, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
D4.7.9-12 Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
National Health Education Standards
Standard 3: Students will demonstrate the ability to access valid information, products, and services to enhance health.
3.12.5 Access valid and reliable health products and services.