I use documentaries as a teaching tool very often in my classes. Students love them, and if you choose the films well, they love you too. To keep students awake and engaged, I always create a film guide that they fill out as they watch the film. Of course, showing the whole film would be preferable, but most of us are working with short class periods, so I’ve cut each film to an hour or less.
Here’s the first of many video guides I’ll share to accompany documentary films to watch in Sociology classes:
Film: FOOD, INC.
Course: I showed this in Intro to Sociology. Would also work well in any course or section on Food, the Environment, or Capitalism.
Selections: Beginning to 27:30, 35:45 to 58:45, 1:25 to 1:29
Film Guide: (Food Inc Video Guide)
[Have students answer these questions as they watch the film in class and then give them a few minutes after the film to finish:
- Why are the products on the shelves in the supermarket so misleading? (give a few examples)
- Why and how did fast food restaurants change the way we produce food? (the film gives several reasons)
- How has the practice of farming changed in the new food industry? (the film gives several reasons)
- Why is corn in so much of our food today?
- Why, despite the advances in technology, do we still see so many cases of food poisoning in industrial food?
- In the 1970s, there were thousands of slaughterhouses in the United States. Today, we have _________ slaughterhouses that process the majority of the beef that is sold in the United States.
- Why is it that unhealthy food is less expensive than healthy food (good calories vs. bad calories)?
- 1 in _____ Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes. Among minorities, the rate will be 1 in ______.
- How has the meatpacking industry changed over the last 100 years?
- How is the food industry connected to undocumented immigration?
- What policy changes would address the problems addressed in this film?