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ASU Global Futures


5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th


Science, Social Studies, Economics

Resource Types

  • Presentation Slides
  • Videos, 2 minutes, 55 seconds
  • Lesson Plans, 60 min
  • Worksheets
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus

North America, United States


Google Slides, PDF

Life Cycle Analysis of a Chicken Nugget

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  • In this activity, students will use prior knowledge, online research, and discussion to examine the production, distribution, use, and disposal of a familiar food item, the chicken nugget.
  • Students consider the sustainability impacts of this product and imagine “a day in the life” of one of the many people whose job includes a part of this lifecycle.
  • This resource includes a Google Slides presentation, worksheet, and activity cards.

Teaching Tips
  • This lesson is relevant to middle and high school students who will be easily engaged by the fast-food and consumer waste context.
  • The Engage component of this lesson has a hands-on student activity with cards, that encourages students to work together and share information.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should already have a working knowledge of sustainability and its three components (social, economic, and environmental).
  • The slide notes have extensive background information, which can help teachers better facilitate discussion. The slide notes also include videos to provide additional context.


  • This lesson could be taught in an economics class, especially if the topics of life cycle analysis and circular economy are relevant.
  • The videos linked in the slide notes could help provide context for English language learners who may be less familiar with the terms.
  • Students can connect prior knowledge and information from the PowerPoint to outline the environmental impacts of a specific stage in the manufacturing process using a role-play activity.
  • The lesson includes many opportunities for extension such as creating a life cycle system diagram or building a circular economy solution for the sustainability problems that this lesson highlights.
Scientist Notes
Students will understand circular economy, food production systems, and reactions with environmental variables. It is suitable and recommended to understand the concept of sustainability in multiple capacities.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: History/Social Studies (6-12)
      • 6-8.RH.1 Analyze what the text says explicitly as well as inferentially; cite several pieces of textual evidence to support primary and secondary source analysis.
      • 6-8.RH.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
      • 6-8.RH.7 Integrate visual information with other information in print and digital texts.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • 6-8.RST.1 Analyze what science and technical texts say explicitly as well as inferentially; cite several pieces of textual evidence to support the analysis.
      • 6-8.RST.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
      • 6-8.RST.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 5.ESS3.1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
      • 6.ESS3.3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • HS.ESS3.1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
      • HS.ESS3.2 Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
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