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Design Thinking


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Computer Science


110 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey


Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Forms


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Is Non-Dairy the Future?

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Apr 24, 2024
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In this lesson, students examine the nutritional value and environmental impact of non-dairy alternatives as a replacement to traditional dairy.


Step 1 - Inquire: Students discuss their current knowledge about both the dairy and non-dairy industries and compare those predispositions to graphical data.


Step 2 - Investigate: Students deliberate about the perceived worth of non-dairy alternatives based on nutritional value before revisiting the graphical data to further compare the positive and negative aspects of each industry.


Step 3 - Inspire: Students create a flier promoting the inclusion of non-dairy alternatives in the cafeteria.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • Students undergo the process of identifying a possible issue, gathering evidence to prove or deny it, and proposing a solution to it.

  • Students have a voice in their school environment and culture.

  • Students learn about new foods and lifestyles.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Teachers may need to prepare for the possibility of their students presenting to the school administration and/or board.

  • Teachers may need to clarify the meaning of “dairy” and “non-dairy” to students.


  • Students work in small groups, providing multiple opportunities for students to problem solve before asking the teacher.

  • Teachers can have students explore the more advanced table in the science article or look through FoodData Central if that is too advanced.

Scientist Notes

Milk sourced from cows has, by far, the largest environmental impact of all of the milk options. But when it comes to the non-dairy competitors, there is no clear winner, as this lesson investigates. All of the resources in this lesson have passed the scientific review process.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Primary Standards

  • Computer Science & Design Thinking
    • Design Thinking
      • 8.2.8.ITH.4: Identify technologies that have been designed to reduce the negative consequences of other technologies and explain the change in impact.
      • 8.2.8.ETW.4: Compare the environmental effects of two alternative technologies devised to address climate change issues and use data to justify which choice is best.
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