Lesson Two: Media Biases in Chocolate Production Part II

29 Mar

Subject: Social Studies
Cross Curricular Competencies: To use information and communication technologies. To exercise critical judgment.
Broad Areas of Learning: Media literacy. Consumer rights and responsibility. Citizenship and community life.
Map of the World
Maps of the Ivory Coast
Child Labour in the Ivory Coast video

Time: 1 1/2 hours

To become critical readers of the media by examining biases in information coming from different sources.
To demonstrate knowledge of where the Ivory Coast is located on a map of the world.
To demonstrate a basic knowledge of working conditions in the Ivory Coast plantations.


This lesson is introduced by reminding student that sources of media are subject to biases and that it is important to be critical users of media.


  • The teacher reminds students of the magazine article from the previous lesson that referred to forced labour in the chocolate industry and explains that the class is going to spend some time examining this social injustice and its portrayal in the media.
  • The teacher asks the students if any of them knows a country where a cocoa plantation might be. Students are prompted to think about a country where tropical forests might harvest cocoa beans.
  • The teacher explains that the largest cocoa producing country is the Ivory Coast of Africa. The teacher produces a large map of the World and shows them where Africa and the Ivory Coast are on the map.
  • Students each receive a map of the Ivory Coast.
  • The teacher explains that although corporations like Hershey’s and Nestle do not publicize this information, the working conditions in the Ivory Coast cocoa plantations are not ideal. The teacher explains that children as young as the students in class are often working on the farms and are not treated nicely.
  • Students watch a video on unfair labour practices in the Ivory Coast, mentioning the long hours of hard labour, the use of pesticides and dangerous tools and low food supplies available to workers.
  • Students discuss what they have seen in small groups. Each group of about five students works on one of the following questions:
    What are five things you saw in the video that surprised you?
    What are five problems that plantation workers face?
    What are five things the workers could have that you think might protect them during their work?
    What are five things we have in our classroom that the children don’t have in the Ivory Coast?
  • One student from each group reads their list to the class.
  • The teacher informs the students that the video came from the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) which is an organization of labour unions, NGOs, and other companies that are devoted to fighting the exploitation of children involved in cocoa production.
  • Students are given a handout with the following questions concerning the video and are asked to answer them individually:
    What are the intentions of the ICI video?
    Who is this video aimed at?
    What is the message of the video?
    Do you think the video would have been different if it had been produced by a chocolate company like Nestle or Hershey’s? What would be different about it?
  • After turning in their reflections, the class discusses the answers together.

Conclusion: This lesson ends by reminding students that there are hidden intentions behind any source of media and that every source portrays a particular ideology to the audience. The students’ progress and understanding of the unit is assessed with contribution to discussions as well as the answers from the ICI video handout.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: