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ELA G8:M4

Sustainability of the US Food Supply Chain

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The version of the Omnivore's Dilemma that EL Education referenced when writing the original module lessons (in 2013) is no longer available and has been replaced by the publisher with a redesigned paperback edition. This chart provides a lesson-by-lesson cross walk between the pagination in the original module lessons (based on the original paperback version of the text, (ISBN #9780803734159) and the pagination based on the new paperback edition (ISBN #9781101993835).

In this module, students analyze arguments and the evidence used to support arguments to determine whether sufficient evidence has been used and whether the evidence is relevant in support of the claim an author or speaker is making. They then research to gather evidence to make their own spoken and written arguments. Students will read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma (930L), a literary non-fiction text about where food comes from and about making decisions about what food to buy and eat. They build background knowledge about what happens to food before it gets to the consumer, and the different choices the consumer can make when buying food while analyzing Michael Pollan’s arguments and the evidence he uses to support his claims.

In Unit 2, students engage in a robust research project in which they further investigate the consequences of each of the food chains and the stakeholders affected in those food chains. To help students grapple with this issue, they use a decision-making process called “Stakeholder Consequences Decision-Making” (see the end of this document for details). This process will help students understand the implications of various choices, and will scaffold their ability to determine, based on evidence and their own values,  to take a position on which food chain they would choose if they were trying to feed everyone in the US. Students finish the module by writing a position paper explaining which of Michael Pollan’s food chain they would choose to feed the US and why, and creating a poster stating their position. This task addresses NYSP12 ELA Standards RI.8.1, W.8.1, W.8.1a, W.8.1b, W.8.1c, W.8.1d, W.8.1e and W.8.9.

Week-at-a-Glance

Each module is approximately 8 weeks of instruction broken into 3 units. The "week at a glance" chart in the curriculum map gives the big picture, breaking down the module into a detailed week-by-week view. It shows how the module unfolds, the focus of each week of instruction, and where the six assessments and the performance task occur.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • Which of Michael Pollan’s food supply chains would best feed the US?
  • How do we make decisions about what we eat?
  • What journey does food take before it gets to your plate?
  • Has the author or speaker used sufficient relevant evidence and sound reasoning to support his or her claim?
  • The food we buy comes to us from various different routes and processes. We can make more informed decisions about what food to buy when we understand those processes and the stakeholders affected by the food choices we make.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards as students read literature and informational text about the Second Sudanese Civil War. However, the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies Practices and Themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections to this compelling content.

These intentional connections are described below.

Big ideas and guiding questions are informed by the New York State Common Core K-8 Social Studies Framework:

Unifying Themes (pages 6–7)

  • Theme 4: Geography, Humans, and the Environment: The relationship between human populations and the physical world (people, places, and environments); impact of human activities on the environment; interactions between regions, locations, places, people, and environments.
  • Theme 9: Science, Technology, and Innovation: Applications of science and innovations in transportation, communication, military 
technology, navigation, agriculture and industrialization.  

Social Studies Practices, Geographic Reasoning, Grades 5–8:

  • Descriptor 2: Describe the relationships between people and environments and the connections between people and places (page 58).
  • Descriptor 3: Identify, analyze, and evaluate the relationship between the environment and human activities, how the physical environment is modified by human activities, and how human activities are also influenced by Earth’s physical features and processes.

Social Studies Practices, Gathering, Using, and Interpreting Evidence, Grades 5-8:

  • Descriptor 1: Define and frame questions about events and the world in which we live and use evidence to answer these questions.
  • Descriptor 2: Identify, describe, and evaluate evidence about events from diverse sources (including written documents, works of art, photographs, charts and graphs, artifacts, oral traditions, and other primary and secondary sources).
  • Descriptor 4: Describe and analyze arguments of others.
  • Descriptor 6: Recognize an argument and identify evidence that supports the argument; examine arguments related to a specific social studies topic from multiple perspectives; deconstruct arguments, recognizing the perspective of the argument and identifying evidence used to support that perspective.

Texts

Texts to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.


Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat, Young Readers Edition
by Michael Pollan
One per student
ISBN: 9781101993835

Texts included in the module

Texts that are included in the lesson materials.

Cover Text Quantity Publisher
Organic Eggs vs. Conventional Farm Eggs, Free Range Chickens, & Ethical Animal Treatment Vital Farms
by Vital Farms
Birke Baehr: What’s wrong with our food system
by Birke Baehr
Lunch or Junk
by Scholastic
The Cultivation of Agricultural Subsidies
by PBS
Food Deserts
by Betsy Dru Tecco
Nitrogen fertilizer is bad stuff-and not just because it could blow up your town
by Tom Laskaway
Interview with an Organic Farmer
by Expeditionary Learning
Understanding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Their Impact on Communities
by Carrie Hribar and Mark Schulz
Genetically Engineered Crops-What, How and Why
by Pamela Ronald
The Economic Impact of the Indiana Livestock Industries
by Carlos Mayan and Kevin T. McNamara
Antibiotic Debate Overview
by PBS

Outcomes

CCS Standards: Reading—Informational TextsLong-Term Learning Targets
  • RI.8.2. Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.

a.  Self-select text to develop personal preferences.

b.  Establish and use criteria to classify, select, and evaluate texts to make informed judgments about the quality of pieces.

  • I can determine a theme or the central ideas of an informational text.
  • I can analyze the development of a theme or central idea throughout the text (including its relationship to supporting ideas).
  • I can objectively summarize informational text.
  • RI.8.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.
  • I can determine the meaning of words and phrases in text (figurative, connotative, and technical meanings).
  • I can analyze the impact of word choice on meaning and tone (analogies or allusions).
  • RI.8.6.  Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
  • I can determine an author’s point of view or purpose in informational text.
  • I can analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
  • RI.8.8.  Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
  • I can identify the argument and specific claims in a text.
  • I can evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text (assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims).
  • I can identify when irrelevant evidence is used.
  • RI.8.9a. Read, annotate, and analyze informational texts on topics related to diverse and non-traditional cultures and viewpoints.
  • I can read, annotate, and analyze informational texts on topics related to diverse and non-traditional cultures and viewpoints.
CCS Standards: WritingLong-Term Learning Targets
  • W.8.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

b. Introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

b. Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

c. Use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

d. Establish and maintain a formal style.

e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.

  • I can write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

a. I can introduce claim(s), acknowledge and distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and organize the reasons and evidence logically.

b. I can support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

c. I can use words, phrases, and clauses to create cohesion and clarify the relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

d. I can establish and maintain a formal style.

e. I can provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented

  • W.8.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing that is appropriate to task, purpose and audience.
  • W.8.5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.
  • With support from peers and adults, I can use the writing process to ensure that purpose and audience have been addressed.
  • W.8.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
  • I can conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question).
  • I can use several sources in my research.
  • I can generate additional research questions for further exploration.
  • W.8.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • I can gather relevant information from a variety of sources.
  • I can use search terms effectively.
  • I can evaluate the credibility and accuracy of each source.
  • I can quote and paraphrase others’ work while avoiding plagiarism.
  • I can use a standard format for citation.
  • W.8.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.]

a. Apply grade 8 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced”).

  • I can use evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.
CCS Standards: Speaking and ListeningLong-Term Learning Targets
  • SL.8.2. 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.

a. Use their experience and their knowledge of language and logic, as well as culture, to think analytically, address problems creatively, and advocate persuasively.

  • I can analyze the purpose of information presented in different media and formats.
  • I can evaluate the motives behind a presentation.

a. I can use their experience and their knowledge of language and logic, as well as culture, to think analytically, address problems creatively, and advocate persuasively. 

  • SL.8.3. Delineate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, evaluating the soundness of the reasoning and relevance and sufficiency of the evidence and identifying when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
  • I can determine a speaker’s argument and specific claims.
  • I can evaluate the reasoning and evidence presented for soundness and relevance.
  • I can identify when irrelevant evidence is introduced.
  • SL.8.4. Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • I can present claims and findings in a focused, coherent manner (use relevant evidence, sound reasoning and well-chosen details).
  • I can use effective speaking techniques (appropriate eye contact, adequate volume and clear pronunciation).
  • SL.8.5. Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.
  • I can integrate multimedia components and visual displays in a presentation to clarify information, strengthen claims and to add emphasis.
  • SL.8.6. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
  • I can adapt my speech for a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when indicated or appropriate.
CCS Standards: LanguageLong-Term Learning Targets
  • L.8.4. Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

b. Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., precede, recede, secede).

c. Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.

d. Verify the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase (e.g., by checking the inferred meaning in context or in a dictionary).

  • I can use a variety of strategies to determine the meaning of unknown words or phrases.
  • L.8.6. Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.
  • I can accurately use 8th grade academic vocabulary to express my ideas.
  • I can use resources to build my vocabulary.

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