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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.
  • 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.
      • MS-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.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading (K-12)
      • R.8.1 Cite textual evidence that strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly/implicitly and make logical inferences. (RI&RL)
      • R.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases, including figurative and connotative meanings. Analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning, tone, and mood, including words with multiple meanings within a text. (RI&RL)
      • R.8.7 Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different media—print, audio, video, stage, or digital—to present a particular subject or idea and analyze the extent to which a production remains faithful to or departs from the written text. (RI&RL)
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