Teaching About Food Waste

This is a topic I’ve wanted to teach for a long time, not only because I  practice it, but think it’s an important lesson for everyone to know and implement in their lives!  However, that said, I was also a bit nervous introducing this lesson because I didn’t know how my students would receive it.  Would they think it interesting and practical?  Would they think it old-fashioned and a thing of the past?  Would they even engage?  Well, I can honestly say that my students were totally with me throughout this entire lesson!  They shared personal stories and examples!  They embraced the topic and were quite interested in the articles and stories I had them use, as well as the projects they were assigned!  In the future and for the record, I will definitely be teaching this unit again, but this time with complete confidence!


  • Survey the students using Google Forms and then project the results on the screen as each question is shared and discussed.  This is a great way to get a feel for where your students are with this topic.
  • I also had a story about this very topic from an old issue of the “Good Old Days” magazine about the 1930’s that I read to my students to show them that this is really not something new, but in reality has been practiced for a very long time, especially during the Great Depression, out of necessity. I know I learned how to practice this from my grandparents who grew up during the 1930’s!  It’s a great historical connection, but certainly an optional activity.


  • Laptops or iPads
  • Project & Screen
  • Note:  I use Google Classroom so all surveys, assignments, templates, etc. are shared directly with my students through that platform.


    • I begin by dividing my students into small groups and assigning each group a food waste article that they have to answer some questions about and then create a Google Slides presentation to share with their class mates. See the articles, questions and assignment below.
    • After students share their presentations with the class, I like to show this really interesting TED-Talk video” How to End the Food Waste Fiasco” to summarize all of the articles shared. Students really liked this video and a lively discussion ensued!

  • Next, I wanted students to create a 6 Word Memoir, using the Canva App, to express all that they were feeling about the story of food waste.  I gave each student a piece of paper and for 10 minutes they brainstormed words and phrases that came to mind regarding food waste.  Students were then instructed to circle the most powerful words and phrases and use them to write a 6 word memoir. Once satisfied with their 6 word memoir, they chose an image and saved it to their camera roll on their iPads and then used the Canva App to create their memoir.  Students then shared these with the whole class.  Note: Use the Canva website to create memoirs if you aren’t using iPads.  A couple samples:

  • Finally, students were placed back in their original groups (from the article assignment) and given the “Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle Food Scraps” Project.  Without feeding the food scraps to pets or composting them, students had to divide up the list of food scraps among their group members and research how they could utilize them rather than waste them. Students had to name the scrap, share a way to repurpose, reuse or recycle the food scrap, including link/source and a before and after picture. At the end of their presentation, students, had to individually answer exit questions, about all of the food scrap ideas their group found.  The exit questions were as follows:  Name 3 suggestions already being practiced in your home, Name 2 suggestions you don’t currently practice, but would be willing to try and Name 1 suggestion you would honestly never attempt with an explanation of why.
  • As a culminating activity, we discussed the various uses each group found for the list of food scraps as a whole class and shared those they already practiced, those they’d be willing to try and finally, those they never would attempt and why!  It was a very interesting project and students found some really cool ways to repurpose, reuse, and recycle their food scraps!


Image courtesy of clairdekens at Free Digital Image


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