Fast Food In Our World
Information about the Learners:
This is an interdisciplinary unit intended for Grade 7 students. Special needs students are included in the regular classroom setting as per the requirements of their IEPs. Students are not grouped by ability, but they are grouped heterogeneously into one of three, 100-student, grade level teams. Each classroom in the building has 3-7 classroom computers that are connected to the districtwide network and to the building wide media distribution system. All computers have internet access. Students and teachers have a working knowledge of AppleWorks, Netscape Communicator, Inspiration, and HomePage.
Expected Outcomes/ Objectives and Standards
1. Students will improve their problem solving skills in situations involving currency and nutrition.
2. Students will continue their development of information research skills using the internet.
3. Students will use the computer and related technologies to access, analyze, compile, and present information.
4. Students will develop skills and experience working as part of a team.
The following standards were obtained from The McREL Standards Database which is located at the following address:
Math Standard 1: Uses a variety of strategies in the problem-solving process:
•Understands that there is no one right way to solve mathematical problems but that different methods (e.g., working backward from a solution, using a similar problem type, identifying a pattern) have different advantages and disadvantages.
•Formulates a problem, determines information required to solve the problem, chooses methods for obtaining this information, and sets limits for acceptable solutions
Math Standard 3: Uses basic and advanced procedures while performing the processes of computation
•Selects and uses appropriate computational methods (e.g., mental, paper and pencil, calculator, computer) for a given situation
Language Arts Standards:
•Gathers and uses information for research purposes
Understands the historical perspective
• Knows different types of primary and secondary sources and the motives, interests, and bias expressed in them (e.g., eyewitness accounts, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos; magazine articles, newspaper accounts, hearsay)
Understands how species depend on one another and on the environment for survival
•Knows how an organism's ability to regulate its internal environment enables the organism to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce, and maintain stable internal conditions while living in a constantly changing external environment
•Knows relationships that exist among organisms in food chains and food webs
Understands essential concepts about nutrition and diet
•Knows the nutritional value of different foods
•Knows healthy eating practices (e.g., eating a nutritious breakfast, eating a variety of foods, eating nutritious meals and snacks at regular intervals to satisfy individual energy and growth needs)
Teachers: Interdisciplinary Unit Plan - Fast Food In Our World; computer network access; internet access; software - AppleWorks, Netscape Communicator, Inspiration, HomePage; telephone
Students: Computer access; internet access; software - AppleWorks, Netscape Communicator, Inspiration, HomePage; network printers, scanners, digital camera, telephone
Description of the Learning Environment
This is an interdisciplinary unit plan involving language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics. The students will be divided into 3 teams in order to collaborate in this role-playing activity that will require approximately 2 weeks to complete. Students will work on the project in all four of the curriculum areas. All four of the team classrooms are side-by-side which allows for both student and teacher collaboration. The teams will be named Team Burger King, Team McDonald’s, and Team Wendy’s. Each team will play the role of a media production team responsible for putting together a semi-structured website for their particular corporation’s fast food chain. The website will contain at a minimum information about the corporation’s history, nutritional values for a sampling of it’s products, and cost information for a sampling of its products. An international flavor will be added to the website by requiring the teams to consider similar information for the companies operations in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan.
Description of Teaching and Learning Strategies:
Lesson Activity #1 (Introduction):
The unit will be framed by the teacher leading a discussion regarding the students fast food eating habits - food items that they like and dislike, reasons that they go to particular restaurants, nutritional value of the meals, etc. The teacher will weave the internet websites of the three corporations into the discussion. Students will access the webpages and discuss some of the information made available.
Lesson Activity #1 (Introduction) - Supporting Web Information:
Organized Sites of the 3 Corporations are located at the following addresses:
Lesson Activity #2:
Activity #2 will continue the framing of the unit as the teacher presents the role-playing scenario. The class will be divided into three teams - Team Burger King, Team McDonald’s, and Team Wendy’s. Each team is a media production team for their particular corporation and have been directed by the company chairman to produce a new website for the corporation that includes at a minimum the following information: (1) a one page summary of the history of the company with links to other information that might be available (2) A cost and nutrition information page that highlights information for a meal in the United States that includes a premium sandwich (Big Mac, Whopper, Bacon-Cheese Deluxe), large fries, and a medium softdrink. (3) Information about the company’s operations in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan along with a brief, one page description of each of the three countries. (4) A price comparison page that includes the expected cost of the meal in each of the three countries based upon the currency exchange rate and the actual costs obtained through contacting a student from each of the three countries. Other information about the corporation or about fast food in general that the team wants to include, and has the time to include, as part of their website must be cleared with the chairman (teachers).
Lesson Activity #3:
The teams will conduct a team planning meeting, making use of the Inspiration program to brainstorm the activities they will undertake, and to develop a work plan. This will serve as a “living” Document for the team.
Student teams will explore the internet to gain and process information needed to complete their assignment. The teacher will serve as a coach and facilitator during this exploration. A number of sample internet resources are listed below, but the students might access other sites that provide equally valuable references.
Lesson Activity #3 - Supporting Web Information:
Currency converters may be found at the following three sites:
On-line encyclopedia may be used by students to begin their search regarding the history of the countries and company. The address for Encarta Online is
The World wide Web Virtual Library may also be accessed by students - the address is
Information about the history of the three countries may be obtained from sites such as the following two sites:
Students may access information about the company founders or chairmen at sites such as the following one for Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s:
A list of fast food hotlinks from About.com are located at:
A list of nutrition hotlinks from About.com are located at:
The Connecticut Association of Human Services has developed this list of hotlinks for teachers regarding nutrition:
Yahoo has developed a list of internet sites dealing with health and nutrition located at:
Nutritional information about a fast food company’s products can be generated with this interactive tool:
The next two sites are examples of the type of information available regarding international business:
References for searching the web and a list of hot links for various search engines is available a the following address:
Students might also use Kathy Schrock’s site and B.J. Pinchbeck’s site to lead them to other internet resources. The addresses for these two sites are:
The websites of the three companies are listed in Activity #1 above and are referenced here as examples of organized sites
The Fast Food Facts site provides information and tools related to the nutritional value of fast food from various companies. It can be found at the following address:
You Are What You Eat - A Guide to Good Nutrition is an organized site on nutrition developed by students as part of a project called Think Quest Net:
The University of Minnesota maintains an organized site called Nutrition Expedition that provides valuable information. It is located at the following address:
The site of the United States Department of Agriculture is located at:
Lesson Activity #4:
In this activity, students will use network elements of the internet to communicate with students from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. The students will ask the foreign students to provide the price of their company’s meal in the currency of the foreign country. This activity will provide students an opportunity to interact with other students and give them information that they will compare with the currency calculations that they performed. If the prices are different, appropriate teacher questions will guide the students to consider factors which influence international trade and business. The students might also correspond by e-mail with someone from their particular company.
Lesson Activity #4 - Supporting WebInformation:
A couple of example websites that provide students with Network Element links for foreign penpals include:
Kid’s on the Web at
PenPal Classbox at:
Lesson Activity #5:
Student teams will create their webpages. Students will use the program HomePage 3.0 available from Filemaker, Inc.
Lesson Activity #5 - Supporting Web Information:
Information about webpage creation is available at sites such as the following:
Lesson Activity #6 (Wrap-Up):
Student teams will present their websites to the other teams. The teacher will lead a discussion to review the team’s work and findings. Students will discuss their experience working as a member of the team as well as things that they learned about doing research on the internet and creating webpages.
Description of Assessment Measures
Teacher observation of student team work, and student participation in class. Websites created will be reviewed by fellow students and by the teacher, and evaluated by the teacher..
Relationship to Other Learning Experiences
This lesson requires active student participation as part of a team, responsible for generating a particular product. It provides curriculum connections. It provides students an opportunity to engage in role-playing activities similar to those actually found in the corporate world. Students will plan and organize their work making use of the Inspiration program. The teams will be involved in research, processing the information they obtain through the internet to include presenting the information in the form of a website. Students will also gain experience contacting others outside the school, to get information that might not otherwise be available. These learning experiences have application to other curriculum areas and grade levels 7-12.