Lesson Four: Fair Trade Chocolate and Consumer Choice

27 Mar

Subject: Social Studies
Cross Curricular Competencies: To use information. To exercise critical judgment.
Broad Areas of Learning: Consumer rights and responsibilities. Media literacy. Citizenship and community life.
Computer and projector.
Fair Trade handouts.

Time: 1 1/2 hours

This lesson begins by reminding students of the unfair labour practices taking place in the Ivory Coast and of the connections between the money we pay for chocolate, the profits of the chocolate industry, and the exploitation of child slaves in Africa.


  • The teacher asks if anyone in the class can remember the problems experienced by workers in the cocoa plantations. Once one or more students have answered, the teacher identifies three main problems and writes them on the board. These are: working with unsafe equipement, receiveing little to no wages, and poor living conditions.
  • The teacher informs students that while these problems are real and very serious, there are organizations that are working hard to stop them and things we can do ourselves to help.
  • The students are introduced to the idea of Fair Trade Chocolate- and how offering farmers a fair price for their chocolate allows them to buy proper equipement for their workers and to pay them a fair salary so they may live better lives.
  • The teacher explains that certain organizations like Anti-Slavery International make it their mission encourage chocolate companies to offer farmers a fair price for their services. Students are introduced to one such company in the United States called Theo Chocolate with this video from FairTadeCertified.
  • After the video, students are invited into a discussion about buying Fair Trade. Do you think many people buy Fair Trade? Why or why not? Do you think many people know about Fair Trade?
  • Students are introduced to the idea that consumers have the choice to choose to buy Fair Trade and that their decisions can make a real difference in ending the forced labour in chocolate plantations. Students are introduced to the Fair Trade logo with this video on shopping with a conscience from FairTradeCertified.
  • The teacher explains that most chocolate companies do not have this label, and therefore it is important for consumers to be aware of the Fair Trade logo and to look for it on the shelves.
  • Students are each given a handout to take home where they will answer questions about what they have learned:
    What does it mean for a chocolate company to be Fair Trade?
    Name 2 different products besides cocoa that might be involved in Fair Trade practices.
    Is there a way for consumers to tell if a chocolate company is Fair Trade?
    Name two chocolate companies that are Fair Trade.

Conclusion: The lesson ends by leaving the students with a reminder of the importance of being critical readers of the media so they can make informed decisions in their lives. Assessment will be ascertained through evaluating student responses to the Fair Trade handouts.

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Posted by on March 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


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