Category: Consumerism

GMO’s

Genetically Modified Foods, known as GMO’s, are foods that have had their genes altered through science or genetic engineering, which is monitored through the EPA, the FDA and the USDA. Did you know that many of the foods found in our grocery stores contain at least one ingredient that has been genetically modified? Should we be informed as consumers when this process is affecting the foods we eat? Should genetically modified foods be labeled? There is a huge debate surrounding this dispute. How do your students weigh in on this topic?

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Differently Abled Children & Toys

While I teach lessons on birth defects early in the year when talking about pregnancy, I like to spend more time at the end of the year in a special topics unit teaching about special needs children. This is one of those areas that I love to teach and students really need to be more aware and understanding about because they never know if this will be something that will affect them as future parents or with a family member or something they will need to know because of job or career interests in day care, education or even therapy.

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Hot Cocoa Mix Comparison Lesson

My junior high classes rotate every six weeks which doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to cover all the material that I need or want to. Because of this, I find myself trying to piggyback multiple concepts and standards into a lesson or activity. So when I teach about how to calculate unit prices and read package labels, both ingredient lists and nutrition facts, it makes sense to combine the two into a hands-on hot cocoa mix taste testing lab. Not only does it get the students into the kitchen, but it ties back to everything we covered so far in the rotation, helping them to review the concepts previously learned. In the lab students determine which product they think tastes the best and then in the follow-up students use the product labels to compare everything from unit price to ingredients to nutrition. Do students know their brands like they think they do? Can they determine the healthiest brand for their dollars? This lesson helps them find out!

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Body Shapes & Redesigning Barbie Project

We all come in different shapes and sizes so why shouldn’t Barbie? As early as March we will be seeing different shapes and sizes of Barbie on toy shelves in stores across the country. This lesson and project is not about which body shape is best, but about the diversity in body shapes that exists and the beauty in all of them.This lesson and project look at the various body shapes and has students designing their own realistic version of Barbie complete with outfit just like Mattel did. Who knows, students may see themselves sitting on those shelves in the future if they submit their ideas to Mattel, as they continue to reinvent the product in this ingenious marketing strategy that’s been a long time coming!

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Insurance: Mayhem Project

Teaching about insurance can get a bit intense and to be honest, sometimes boring. In order to make the insurance unit aMayhem.Project.Scene little more exciting and hands on, I had students create 3-D scenarios and scripts as though they were pitching new material for an insurance advertisement similar to All State’s Mayhem commercials. Students created some humorous, yet realistic scenes and then rotated through the stations to apply their insurance knowledge. How do you make teaching insurance more interesting and fun? Share in the comment section below.

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The True Cost of a Habit

Habits are a part of life. Sometimes they creep up on us and sometimes we have to work hard to achieve them. For example, we don’t think about the fact that we might stop for coffee on our way to work every morning, but we certainly know how difficult it is to eat clean or exercise on a daily basis. Some habits are free and the benefits are priceless, but others are costly, not only to our wallets, but also to our health, our emotions and our relationships. This lesson has students looking at the true cost of the habits that might be part of their lives now or in the future. Hopefully, this activity will help them to really think about the consequences associated with habits before they decide to continue them or help them form healthier ones.

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Consumer Rights & Panera Bread

Panera Bread has taken a stand to raise the bar and become transparent in their new campaign to offer consumers the best nutritional quality possible. They even put their promise out there for the whole country to see in the form of a letter, ads and commercials. As I read the letter and watched the commercials, I was impressed with the measures they are taking and think it’s a great example of our consumer rights in action. That’s why I am using it as a realistic way to reinforce the consumer rights with my students, as well as include non-fiction reading and writing into my curriculum.

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Baby Gear Comparison

When choosing baby gear to welcome home a new little one, there are many options. While some of these items are required by law,Baby.Equipment others are not. Therefore, choosing between high, middle and low cost models becomes an investigation to make the best decision based on one’s needs and budget. There are pros and cons to every choice. In this activity students will put their consumer skills to the test by using the internet to compare high, middle, and low cost versions of baby gear and then analyze the results.

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Recycled Sweater Challenge

Lately I’ve seen a lot of really innovative projects made out of old sweaters, especially on Pinterest. This got me thinking about what a great project this would be for my students to practice the concept of recycling or repurposing materials. So I visited my local thrift store and lucky for me they had a clearance rack of clothing, much of it old wool sweaters. I gathered as many as I could find into my cart and headed for the check out. The possibilities that could be made with all of these sweaters were endless! I couldn’t wait to challenge my students and see how creative they could be and teach them to recycle/repurpose as well as teach basic sewing skills at the same time.

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Consumer Promotions Lesson

If you’re like me you’ve been at the cash register ready to check out when the clerk tells you about some new rewards card or store credit card offer that may sound appealing. To make matters worse you may have rewards credit cards that beg you to use them to earn points towards your next airfare, or cash back. You may have thrown up your hands and declared I’ll take no special offers or you may be one to take most special offers. How do you navigate in the world full of offers for EVERYTHING? Which deal is the best? This lesson gives students an opportunity to look at specific scenarios with REAL companies’ offers and do the math.

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