“I can’t even read this!” stated one student.
I asked him why and he emphatically replied, “It makes me so mad!”
This was not the answer I was anticipating from this High School student, as it is often the case that he is in uninterested and therefore unwilling to do the reading. This however was different and I encouraged him to read what he could knowing that after reading the assignment this would be a great point of discussion.
After about 15 minutes everyone had finished reading and I asked the student
“What made you so frustrated in reading in this article?”
“Nobody tells us what our food actually is and it’s all a big lie!”
This powerful statement by one student sparked an extremely emotional discussion regarding food, how it is made and what is used to make it. Students then participated in an activity and looked at the nutrition labels of a variety of types of bread including 100% whole wheat, organic and wonder bread. In looking at these labels, I instructed the students to, for the time being, disregarded the nutrition facts and focuse solely on the ingredients. The students’ responses were once again filled with disbelief and passion.
“The third ingredient in my bread is high fructose corn syrup!”
“The third ingredient in mine is sugar!”
“One of the ingredients in my bread is sixteen letters long, I think they just randomly took letters from the alphabet and wrote them down, what is this?!”
The students were engaged, their interest was sparked and they could not believe the ingredients’ lists they were reading was for bread, something they thought was healthy and something they ate virtually everyday. Amidst they anger, frustration, shock and disbelief however, was a valuable lesson for these High School students. They learned to look beyond what is written on the package and consider the ingredients listed, but importantly they started to think about where their food comes from, how it is made and what they are putting into their bodies.