Lesson One: Media Biases in Chocolate Production Part I

30 Mar

Subjects: Social Studies/ Media Education
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.
Cocoa beans
Nestle Chocolate Handouts

Time: 1 1/2 hours

To become critical readers of the media by examining biases in information coming from different sources on the internet.
To demonstrate a basic understanding of how chocolate is processed in a chocolate factory.
To demonstrate a basic understanding of where chocolate comes from.

To introduce this lesson, students are prompted to engage in brainstorming about the chocolate industry. Discussion questions may include: What does chocolate mean to us? Where does chocolate come from? Who makes chocolate? What makes chocolate sweet?


  • The teacher informs students that chocolate is made from cocoa beans that look very different from the chocolate we buy from the store.
  • The teacher passes cocoa beans around the classroom so students may experience what a cocoa bean looks, smells and feels like before it becomes chocolate.
  • The teacher informs students that while chocolate is processed in developed countries like Canada, the beans come from tropical rain forests in Third World countries.
  • The teacher explains that turning beans into chocolate is a process that requires many steps, beginning with roasting the cocoa beans and making them into chocolate liquour and ending with kneading, moulding and packaging for distribution.
  • Students watch a series of short videos from the Hershey’s website that show the processing of chocolate in the Hershey’s factories.
  • Students are be given an opportunity to clarify their understanding of the videos by engaging in a discussion prompted by the teacher. Questions may include: What did you see in the videos? What surprised you about the chocolate process?
  • The teacher then prompts a discussion of biases in the media by asking students to think about where the video came from (Hershey’s) and what their intentions might have been. Questions may include: Who made these videos? Why did they make the videos?
  • Students take a trip to the computer lab and are directed to the Nestle website. Students are asked to form groups of two and answer questions about Nestle chocolate using the website. They are given a handout to complete.

                                  -Where does Nestle chocolate come from?
                                  -Who makes Nestle chocolate?
                                  -Who receives the profit from the sales?
                                  -Do you think the workers are treated fairly? In a few sentences, explain why or why not.

  • When they are done answering the questions, students are directed to an article from Forbes magazine discussing Nestle’s association with forced labour. They are given a second identical handout and asked to answer the same questions again, but using the information from this article.
  • A final discussion takes place where the class shares their two sets of answers and discusses where the answers seem to differ. The teacher again prompts the students to think about where the information came from and what might be the intentions of the Nestle website versus the Forbes magazine article.

This lesson closes with a return to the discussion questions from the beginning of the class. Students are asked if their perceptions of chocolate have changed now that they have heard two different explanations of where it comes from and how it is made into the chocolate we see on our store shelves. Assessment can be arranged by collecting the student responses to the Nestle website and Forbes article.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 30, 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: