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What is Intersectionality?

(for middle school learners)


In this lesson, students will learn about intersectionality and the role it plays in approaches to food justice. Students will build an analysis of food insecurity and systemic racism through an intersectional lens. This lesson will guide students to apply an intersectional lens to climate change and climate justice work and aid them to build important context regarding their study of food insecurity and food justice. 

Essential Questions

  • What is justice? What is injustice?

  • What is intersectionality?

  • How are issues of injustice (food insecurity, environmental racism) related to intersectionality?

  • Why is it important to understand intersectionality?

  • What is food insecurity?

  • What is systemic racism? How is it related to food insecurity? How is it related to intersectionality?

  • What is food justice?

Learning Objectives

  • Students will define intersectionality.

  • Students will apply their understanding of intersectionality to food insecurity and systemic racism.

  • Students will analyze the video content and apply their understanding of intersectionality to the specific context of the video.

Learning Standards

This lesson was created for middle school learners. Standards will be sent with the lesson upon request. 



45 minutes


  • Intersectionality

  • Food insecurity

  • Systemic racism

Learning Tasks

Warm-Up (5 min): 

Warm-Up Prep:

  • Sticky notes

  • Tape a large piece of butcher paper, poster board or chart paper to the board

Warm-Up Tasks: 

Step 1 (3 min): Hand each student a sticky note. Ask students to identify the 3 most important parts of their identities and write them on the sticky note. 

Step 2 (2 mins): Ask students to place their sticky notes onto the paper on the board. 

Activity 1 (15 mins): 

Goal: Students will define ‘intersectionality’ and apply it to themselves.

Activity 1 Prep:

  1. Project the Food Justice Story Maps onto the board

Activity 1 Activities:

Step 1 (2 min): Ask students to identify different  forms of oppression and  injustice (racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, ableism, xenophobia, classism). Tell them to keep these in mind as they watch the video.

Step 2 (3 mins): Using the Food Justice Story Maps, scroll down to the video ‘What is intersectionality?’ and play the video. 

Step 3 (5 mins): Ask students to work in small groups to define intersectionality for themselves. Ask them to consider: What is intersectionality and how does it impact people differently in our society?

Step 4 (5 mins): Allow each group to share their definition to the whole class. 

Activity 2 (15 mins): 

Goal: Students will relate intersectionality to food insecurity and environmental racism. 

Activity 2 Prep:

  1. Food Justice Story Maps

Activity 2 Activities:

Step 1 (10 min): In the Food Justice Story Maps, scroll down to the section “Who is most impacted by food insecurity?” Take students through the slides and the video. 

Step 2 (5 mins): Turn and talk: What is systemic racism? What is the link between food insecurity and systemic racism? 

Wrap-Up (10min): 

Goal: Students will identify how food justice is an intersectional issue. 

Wrap-Up Prep: 

Wrap-Up Tasks:

Step 1 (5 min): In the Food Justice Story Maps, scroll down to the “What is Food Justice?” section. Ask students to volunteer to read. 

Step 2 (5 min): In a whole class discussion, ask students: What is food justice to you? What would you do to bring food justice to your community? How does intersectionality affect food justice?

Supplemental Lessons



Curriculum Suite © 2024 by Start:Empowerment is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 


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