Teacher Sign Up
Sign In
Investigate the History of Candy

Students will identify their favorite candy and conduct research to learn about its history, including in what ways, if any, the product's packaging has changed over time. They will then redesign the candy's packaging and explain why they think the changes they made will make the candy more attractive to consumers.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, review the article to learn about the history of the Tootsie Roll. Discuss how taste, price and packaging each contributed to the candy's success. Then examine how a government contract and an iconic commercial helped secure its longevity.
  2. Point out that the Tootsie Roll is not an isolated example. Every product has a story. And in every story there bumps in the road or lucky breaks along the way that determine the product's fate.
  3. Have students identify their favorite candy and investigate its history. How long has the candy been around? Is there an interesting story behind its creation? Remind students that Tootsie Rolls were WWII energy bars. Has their favorite candy ever been marketed or used in an odd way? 
  4. Have students examine the candy's packaging. In what way, if any, has the product's packaging changed over time? Why do students think these changes were made? Instruct students to use what they learned to design a new package for their favorite candy. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their work with the class. Challenge them to identify key elements in their package redesigns. Then have them explain why they think the changes will make the candy more attractive to consumers.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON: 

Grades 3-4:
Instruct each student to identify his or her favorite candy. Create small groups of students who prefer the same type of candy. Have groups conduct research to learn about the history of their favorite candy. Give each group a piece of paper and access to art supplies. Instruct each group to design a new package for their favorite candy. Challenge them to identify one valid reason the package redesign will make this candy more attractive to consumers.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a type of candy all group members like. Then have groups conduct research to learn about the history of their favorite candy. Encourage them to discuss what they like and dislike most about how the candy is packaged. Give each group a piece of paper and access to art supplies. Instruct each group to design a new package for their favorite candy. Challenge them to identify two valid reasons the package redesign will make this candy more attractive to consumers.
Grades 7-8: 
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct partners to select a type of candy each partner likes. Then have them conduct research to learn about the history of that candy. Encourage students to identify what they like and dislike most about the candy's packaging. Challenge them to note specific ways it could be improved. Give each pair a piece of paper and access to art supplies. Instruct partners to design a new package for their favorite candy. Then have them create a print ad for their candy highlighting the packaging change. As partners present their work to the class, challenge them to identify two or more valid reasons the package redesign will make this candy more attractive to consumers.
Grades 9-10:
Instruct each student to identify his or her favorite type of candy. On their own or with a classmate who identified the same product, have students conduct research to learn about the history of that candy. Once their research is complete, have students brainstorm ideas to improve the candy's packaging and create a mockup of their ideas. Then have them draft a television commercial highlighting the package redesign. As students present their work to the class, challenge them to explain how and why the redesign will make the candy more attractive to consumers.