Lesson Plans

Analyzing Reporting on the Fight Against Malnutrition


Students will be able to analyze how an author structures various articles on the fight against malnutrition in order to determine which details are emphasized and ultimately create a resource for their own community.


1. What is malnutrition? What does it look like? What causes it? Think about these questions and be prepared to share your answers with the class.

2. Today’s lesson will explore changes to how the world is addressing the problem of malnutrition by exploring the project “1,000 Days: To save women, children and the world.” The lesson will explore how the project’s author, international journalist Roger Thurow, structures articles from different perspectives for different reasons.

3. Look at the following images/quotes from Thurow’s project. Consider the following:

  • What is being emphasized?
  • What is the impact?
  • What do you suppose is the author’s purpose for including these items?

Quote: “In essence, malnutrition keeps poor countries poor.”

Quote: “What might a child have contributed to the world had he or she not been stunted during the first 1,000 days?”




Quote: “India, for all its billionaire businessmen, high-tech progress, and Bollywood glamour, has some of the world’s highest stunting and malnutrition rates.”

Quote: “A decade into the 21st century, Uganda’s under-five death rate of 90 per 1,000 live births, with many of these deaths attributed to malnutrition, was among the worst in the world.”

4, Discuss your responses with the partner, or with the class. Consider the following:

  • What do you think is the author’s purpose for this project?
  • Based on the warm up, what kinds of support might the author use to achieve his purpose? Why?

Introducing the Lesson:

Journalists use a variety of different methods to inform the public about an issue or event. Today, we will analyze what elements (statistics, quotations, narratives, images, videos) journalist Robert Thurow uses to inform the public about malnutrition and initiatives to combat it.

Begin with resource 1, “1,000 Days: The Period That Decides the Health and the Wealth of the World” and then continue to resources 2-5, which focus more deeply on the efforts of specific countries.

Introducing Resource 1:  “1,000 Days: The Period That Decides the Health and the Wealth of the World”

1. Read the following article and answer the accompanying questions.

2, As your read, also consider the following:

  • What elements the author has chosen to include and in what order?
  • What do you think is the author’s intended purpose and how does this structure demonstrate that purpose?

Introducing Resources Focusing on the Efforts of Specific Countries:

In any order you choose, explore the following articles:

  1. “Chicago: From Hoop Dreams to Hoop Houses”
  2. “India: Doing the Right Things”
  3. “Uganda: Learning in the Shade”
  4. “Lunchtime in Uganda”
  5. “Guatemala: Gimme Nutrition”

For each resource, consider the following and be prepared to share your responses with the class:

  1. What is the focus of the article?
  2. How does the author structure the article? What details are emphasized?
  3. What is the author’s purpose for this article and how do you know?


Using the information you’ve gained about malnutrition, its causes and efforts around the world to put an end to it, consider the following: 

  1. Which of the projects described in the articles could your community possibly benefit from?
  2. How could your community contribute to supporting one or more of the projects that you read about?

Final task: Pick one of the questions above and design a letter to a powerful figure in your community that addresses that question. The letter should clearly articulate what you want your community to do/address and should use evidence from the articles you read as part of its structure.

Educator Notes: 

In this lesson plan, students analyze how an author structures articles in different ways to report on malnutrition. The articles come from the project “1,000 Days: To save women, children and the world” by Roger Thurow.


Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person's life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.

Note: In addition to independent investigation of the attached resources, this lesson includes warm up and reflection exercises that are designed to be facilitated in small groups or by the instructor. However, the student instructions for this lesson can be adapted if students will be exploring these resources independently.

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