Creating Convincing Speeches Around Food Choices

Part of the "The Presence of Poppies and the Possibilities of Potatoes" Collection


Students will learn about and create speeches around Food Pledges

Estimated Time

45 Minutes

Setting Required



  • SS5H8  The student will describe U.S. involvement in World War I and post-World War I America
    • a. Explain how German attacks on U.S. shipping during the war in Europe (1914 – 1917) ultimately led the U.S. to join the fight against Germany; include the sinking of the Lusitania and concerns over safety of U.S. ships, U.S. contributions to the war, and the impact of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
  • HE5.2. Students will analyze the influence of family, peers, culture, media, technology, and other factors on health behaviors.


  1. Explain to students that during World War I, President Wilson solicited widespread support for the war at home and abroad, largely through an organized group called the “Four Minute Men,” a virtual army of volunteers who gave brief speeches anywhere they could get an audience – movie theaters, churches, lodges, etc. It’s been estimated that 75,000 men delivered over 7.5 million speeches to more than 314 million people.
  2. Display the primary source on Food Pledge Week for students to explore.
  3. Lead students in developing their own “4 minute” speech to convince their neighbors to sign the food pledge of 1917.
  4. Challenge students to develop a 4 minute persuasive speech to convince a specific audience about food concerns of today. Examples could include: to their neighbor about buying local food, to their principal about healthier lunch options, or to their parents about growing a garden.