Lesson Plans

Getting the Word Out About Food Waste


Students will be able to analyze the purpose and impact of presenting information about food waste with diverse media in order to create media plans that communicate food waste issues to members of their community

Essential Questions:

  1. How is an author’s purpose communicated differently through different media?
  2. How do authors use diverse media to communicate their purposes and motivations?


The purpose of different kinds of media

Think and Respond: What might be the purpose of the following forms of media? (inform/entertain/persuade)

  1. A commercial for McDonalds on television.
  2. A sign in your class listing the class rules.
  3. A stop sign.
  4. A news article about a pop star’s new album.
  5. A school newsletter
  6. A facebook post about a current event

Think and Respond: What kind of media (article/sign/commercial) would you use to do the following? Why?

  1. Make your friend laugh.
  2. Inform your class about a new law in your district.
  3. Sell a new invention you created.
  4. Ask your community to donate money to a cause that’s important to you

Introducing the Lesson:

Today’s lesson will focus on an author’s purpose for using different media. To do that, we will look at three different pieces of media by journalist Karim Chrobog. All three pieces focus on food waste.

Chrobog is a journalist whose work on food waste is supported by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. Here is a little more information about Karim from the Pulitzer Center’s website:

“Karim Chrobog is an award-winning filmmaker. He started his career at Time Warner's international public policy office where he worked with the company's Warner Bros., HBO, and Turner divisions. His debut film War Child chronicles the life story of Emmanuel Jal, a former South Sudanese child soldier who became an international hip-hop artist. War Child premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and is the winner of over 18 international film awards including the Tribeca Film Festival Audience Choice Award, Crystal Heart Award, ABC News Award, Bologna Best Documentary Award, and Norway Best Documentary Award. Over the past years, Karim has worked on a slate of documentaries including Magic Bus about girls living in the poorest slums of Mumbai and Netting a Better Future, a film about disappearing fishing communities in West Africa produced for the World Bank Group. He also produced Her Aim Is True, a feature documentary film on Jini Dillaccio, the first woman rock 'n' roll photographer. Karim is currently producing and directing a new slate of feature documentaries as well as The Other America series commissioned by Al Jazeera America. Karim is also producing his first motion picture The Faithful on Algerian independence fighter Emir Adel Kader.”

Consider: This biography came from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting’s website. What might be their purpose for posting this information?

Introducing Resource 1: “Wasted USA”

As you read the following article about food waste, use the analysis questions to consider Chrobog’s purpose for writing the article. Underline information that you find interesting. Consider how this information contributes to Chrobog’s purpose for writing the article.

After you read, consider and discuss (in groups or in a whole –group discussion facilitated by the teacher) who Chrobog’s intended audience would be for this article and why.

Introducing Resource 2: “The Big Waste: Why do we throw away so much food?”

1. This video was created to communicate some of the same information as the article you just read. As you watch and answer the analysis questions, consider “What information from the article was included/not included in the video? Why?”

2. Think and discuss (in groups or in a whole-group discussion facilitated by the teacher) the following:

  • How does the purpose of the video compare to that of the article?
  • How does the intended audience of the video compare to the article?
  • What is the impact of structuring the video differently from the article?

Introducing Resource 3: “In South Korea, an Innovative Push to Cut Back on Food Waste”

The next resource was created alongside the video and article already discussed in this lesson. As you watch and answer the analysis questions, consider the author’s purpose for exploring food waste by investigating this particular topic. Why might this video be included alongside the video and article we have already seen?


Reducing food waste in our own communities

1. Using the article and videos in today’s lesson as inspiration, create short media plans for the following purposes:

  • Informing your school about food waste in the USA
  • Convincing someone in your community to reduce their food waste using one of the methods described in the videos.
  • Informing travelers to Seoul, South Korea about what to do with their food waste when they arrive.

2. For each plan, include the following:

  • A description of what form of media you will use and why.
  • At least three facts from the article/videos
  • A rough draft of what the media will look like (ex: a drawing for a billboard/facebook post, an outline of the script for a commercial, a draft of a flyer, etc.)
Educator Notes: 

In the following food waste lesson, students analyze the purpose and impact of reporting about food waste in Washington D.C. and South Korea. They then create their own media plans on reporting food waste issues in their communities.


Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.

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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