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I received an e-mail about this guide this afternoon and as soon as I downloaded the the guide and started reading it, I knew I hit educational resource gold! The guide is separated into nine chapters, each to go along with a segment of the film. Each chapter has a focus question that the discussion for that lesson surrounds, multiple discussion questions, an activity and a reflection. The educational philosophy of this guide is to use the Socratic method - one that teaches through questioning. It is a fabulous technique, especially for such thought-provoking and discussion building topics such as food and its industry.
Here is a list of the nine chapters, with the corresponding film clip length and the focus question for that lesson to give you a little taste of all of the rich discussion material provided in this guide:
1 FAST FOOD TO ALL FOOD (running time of corresponding film segment 12:52)Writing as a teacher in this moment, I can tell you that one of the fantastic things about the design of this guide is the flexibility of it. Each chapter is a lesson in and of itself - there is nothing saying that these nine chapters must be done in order, or that they even have to all be done if your schedule/curriculum does not allow. After reading this all the way through I can imagine it in so many different realizations - a two-week unit, a long-term class project (Food Fridays for nine - ten weeks), or even an after school activity for an environmentalist group! There is nothing more powerful to students than activities that a re RELEVANT - how much more relevant can you get than what they are eating every single day?!
Focus Question: Do animals have the right to a certain quality of life?
2 A CORNUCOPIA OF CHOICES (running time of corresponding film segment 7:54)
Focus Question: Do people have the right to know what is in their food?
3 UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES (running time of corresponding film segment 13:56)
Focus Question: Who is responsible for keeping our food safe?
4 THE DOLLAR MENU (running time of corresponding film segment 5:12)
Focus Question: Should access to healthy food be a right for everyone?
5 IN THE GRASS (running time of corresponding film segment 13:44)
Focus Question: When deciding what to eat, how much should we consider the workers who pick, process, and transport it?
6 HIDDEN COSTS (running time of corresponding film segment 8:00)
Focus Question: Does it matter to you which food companies produce your food?
7 FROM SEED TO THE SUPERMARKET (running time of corresponding film segment 10:07)
Focus Question: Should companies be able to own the DNA contained in plant seeds?
8 THE VEIL (running time of corresponding film segment 7:59)
Focus Question: Should a company have the power to decide what information to give consumers about the food it produces?
9 SHOCKS TO THE SYSTEM (running time of corresponding film segment 7:07)
Focus Question: What individual or collective actions are you willing to take to improve our food system, and what would be their impact?
I know of many teachers that love to teach using the film Fast Food Nation, I also know that many of my students were getting kind of sick of "the McDonald's movie" because they had seen it so many times! This is why I really like this guide: 1. it is something different, and 2. it takes the time to truly focus on the issues raised in the film in a way that is so much more powerful than watching the movie, beginning to to end and then having a discussion about it!
So here it goes:
TEACHERS DOWNLOAD THIS GUIDE NOW - IT IS FREE!!
PARENTS! I KNOW SPRING TIME PARENT-TEACHER MEETINGS ARE COMING UP!!
Download this guide and give it to one of your kid's teachers that you think would appreciate it!
Download this guide and bring it to a teacher that you think will respond to a request to teach more about food (even if they can't fit it in this semester, think of what a great thing you are doing for the students who come after you!)
I haven't forgotten about you!! Check out those focus questions!! Intrigued?! Well, have you ever been to a book club meeting where people sit down and discuss a books major points together? Why not download this guide and set up a Food Inc. Club to discuss this movie with a group of food-conscious friends who then can decide, together, what kind of actions you can take for food!
...I think I made my point.
Enjoy the guide. Enjoy the film. Enjoy the discussion. Enjoy your food!
Here's my reaction after The First Time I Watched Food Inc.
Which focus question/chapter do you think is the most important one to discuss? Why?