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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Junk Food

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Euro junk food warning



 

Friday January 21, 2005
Pre-Intermediate +

THE ARTICLE

The European Union has threatened a clampdown on advertising junk food and alcoholic drinks to children if the food industry does not tighten its rules. The tough new stance is an attempt to battle obesity in Europe, particularly amongst children. About 25% of Europe’s kids are obese. EU health commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, has issued food companies a one year ultimatum to voluntarily improve its standards, especially of food labeling, or be faced with bans on advertising similar to those put on cigarettes. Chocolate and soft drinks manufacturers will be placed under particular scrutiny.

Kyprianou is afraid Europeans may reach levels of obesity seen in the USA, “ [we] considered obesity to be a US problem...we made fun of Americans ... It is a European problem now. … We have to protect children from marketing because they are vulnerable, but at the same time we have to promote accurate information to all consumers so they can exercise their judgment.” Many European countries want health warnings on junk food similar to those on cigarette packets. Kyprianou prefers better information about balanced diets, “It's not a question of eliminating sugar and other things from the diet; it's just a question of the right amount of consumption.”

Lesson & plan in Word.doc     Example Class Handout in .pdf

POSSIBLE WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about junk food / soft drinks / obesity / food labeling / health warnings / cigarette advertising / balanced diets …
To make things more dynamic, try telling your students they only have one minute (or 2) on each chat topic before changing topics / partners. Change topic / partner frequently to energize the class.

2. JUNK FOOD BRAINSTORM: Brainstorm types of junk food and write them on the board. Students use these words as a springboard for conversation.
Extension 1: Ask students to put the junk foods on the board into different categories (they choose their own).
Extension 2: In pairs / groups, students have to agree on which are the three healthiest and three least healthy junk foods. Find a new partner and explain your reasons / convince them of their choices.
Extension 3: Students pretend to be junk food marketing executives. They choose one junk food and think of an advertising campaign to promote the health benefits of that food. Present to new partners.

3. MY JUNK DIET: Students talk about how much junk food they have eaten today, in the past week, in their lives; how it affects their mood / feeling / weight; and how they would feel without any junk food.

4. 2-MINUTE DEBATES: Students face each other in pairs and engage in the following (for-fun) 2-minute debates. Students A are assigned the first argument, students B the second. Rotate pairs to ensure a lively pace and noise level is kept:
(a) Chocolate is good for you. vs. Makes you fat.
(b) Candy gives you energy. Your body needs energy. vs Bananas. Eat bananas.
(c) McDonalds is healthy. vs Have you seen the movie Supersize Me??? (see links).
(d) Chocolate and potato chip (crisp) companies shouldn’t target kids. vs. Why not?
(e) Free toys with burger sets is junk food blackmail. vs. It’s a great idea.
(f) All junk food should have health warnings. vs. Nutritional info is enough.
(g) All junk food should be banned. vs. But I like junk food.
(h) Junk food advertising should be banned. vs. It’s not dangerous like cigarettes.
(i) Obese kids and their parents need counseling. vs. That’s too much.
(j) Other teacher / student created mini-debates – dependent on cultures of students.


 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. WORD SEARCH: Students look in their dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … of the words ‘junk’, and ‘food’.

2. TRUE / FALSE: Students look at the headline and predict whether they believe the following statements are true or false:
(a)  The European Union has threatened to ban all junk food.  T / F
(b)  The junk food industry has six weeks to tighten its rules.  T / F
(c)  Less than 5% of European kids are obese.  T / F
(d)  Food labeling standards will soon be compulsory.  T / F
(e)  Chocolate manufacturers will be placed under particular scrutiny..  T / F
(f)  Europeans are now more obese than Americans.  T / F
(g) Many European countries want health warnings on junk food similar to those on cigarette packets.  T / F
(h)  The EU health commissioner said sugar should be eliminated from children’s’ diets.  T / F 

3. SYNONYM MATCH: Students match the following synonyms from the article:

(a)

clampdown

advertising

(b)

tighten

observation

(c)

stance

overweight

(d)

obese

strengthen

(e)

ultimatum

use

(f)

scrutiny

precise

(g)

marketing

crackdown

(h)

accurate

threat

(i)

exercise

sensible

(j)

balanced

position

 

4. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases based on the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a)

The European Union has threatened

of obesity seen in the USA

(b)

tighten

ultimatum

(c)

tough new

their judgment

(d)

a one year

its rules

(e)

placed under particular

labeling

(f)

food

scrutiny

(g)

Europeans may reach levels

a clampdown on advertising

(h)

exercise

diets

(i)

balanced

the right amount

(j)

a question of

stance

 

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Euro junk food warning

The European Union has __________ a clampdown on advertising junk food and alcoholic drinks to children if the food industry does not __________ its rules. The tough new stance is an attempt to __________ obesity in Europe, particularly amongst children. About 25% of Europe’s kids are obese. EU health commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, has __________ food companies a one year ultimatum to voluntarily improve its standards, especially of food labeling, or be __________ with bans on advertising similar to those put on cigarettes. Chocolate and soft drinks manufacturers will be __________ under particular scrutiny.

 

tighten
faced
threatened
issued
placed
battled

Kyprianou is afraid Europeans may __________ levels of obesity seen in the USA, “ [we] considered obesity to be a US problem...we __________ fun of Americans ... It is a European problem now. … We have to protect children from marketing because they are __________, but at the same time we have to promote accurate information to all consumers so they can __________ their judgment.” Many European countries want health __________ on junk food similar to those on cigarette packets. Kyprianou prefers better information about balanced diets, “It's not a question of eliminating sugar and other things from the diet; it's just a question of the right __________ of consumption.”

 

made
exercise
vulnerable
warnings
reach
amount

2. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.

3. SYNONYMS:  Students check their answers to the synonyms exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH: Students check their answers to the phrase match exercise.

5. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

6. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.


 
 

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the discussion questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class. Pool the questions for all students to share.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.

5. ‘JUNK’/ ‘FOOD’: Students make questions based on their findings from pre-reading activity #1.

6. DISCUSSION:  Students ask each other the following questions:
(a)  What do you think of this article?
(b)  Is the EU right to clamp down on the junk food industry?
(c)  Should the EU have gone further and imposed laws on food manufacturers?
(d)  Should health warnings be placed on junk food?
(e)  Should companies like McDonalds be allowed to advertise their food as healthy?
(f)  Isn’t it the responsibility of parents to ensure a balanced diet?
(g)  In some countries obese kids must take extra exercise lessons after school. What do you think of this idea?
(h)  Junk food should have age limits just like cigarettes and alcohol. What do you think?
(i)  Are you a junk food junkie?
(j)  Is it wrong for food companies to target kids by advertising free toys with their products?
(k)  Is chocolate good for you?
(l)  How about Coke or Pepsi?
(m)  Can you live without junk food?
(n)  What will / do you tell your children about junk food ?
(o)  Teacher’s / Students’ additional questions

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on junk food. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. POSTER: Create a poster about the benefits of a balanced diet.

4. LETTER TO RONALD: Write a letter to Ronald McDonald explaining what you think of their food and advertising campaigns. 

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:
(a)  The European Union has threatened to ban all junk food.  F
(b)  The junk food industry has six weeks to tighten its rules.  F
(c)  Less than 5% of European kids are obese.  F
(d)  Food labeling standards will soon be compulsory.  F
(e)  Chocolate manufacturers will be placed under particular scrutiny..  T
(f)  Europeans are now more obese than Americans.  F
(g) Many European countries want health warnings on junk food similar to those on cigarette packets.  T
(h)  The EU health commissioner said sugar should be eliminated from children’s’ diets.  F

 

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a)

clampdown

crackdown

(b)

tighten

strengthen

(c)

stance

position

(d)

obese

overweight

(e)

ultimatum

threat

(f)

scrutiny

observation

(g)

marketing

advertising

(h)

accurate

precise

(i)

exercise

use

(j)

balanced

sensible

 

PHRASE MATCH:

(a)

The European Union has threatened

a clampdown on advertising

(b)

tighten

its rules

(c)

tough new

stance

(d)

a one year

ultimatum

(e)

placed under particular

scrutiny

(f)

food

labeling

(g)

Europeans may reach levels

of obesity seen in the USA

(h)

exercise

their judgment

(i)

balanced

diets

(j)

a question of

the right amount

 

GAP FILL:

Euro junk food warning

The European Union has threatened a clampdown on advertising junk food and alcoholic drinks to children if the food industry does not tighten its rules. The tough new stance is an attempt to battle obesity in Europe, particularly amongst children. About 25% of Europe’s kids are obese. EU health commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, has issued food companies a one year ultimatum to voluntarily improve its standards, especially of food labeling, or be faced with bans on advertising similar to those put on cigarettes. Chocolate and soft drinks manufacturers will be placed under particular scrutiny.

Kyprianou is afraid Europeans may reach levels of obesity seen in the USA, “ [we] considered obesity to be a US problem...we made fun of Americans ... It is a European problem now. … We have to protect children from marketing because they are vulnerable, but at the same time we have to promote accurate information to all consumers so they can exercise their judgment.” Many European countries want health warnings on junk food similar to those on cigarette packets. Kyprianou prefers better information about balanced diets, “It's not a question of eliminating sugar and other things from the diet; it's just a question of the right amount of consumption.”

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