CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Lighter Side of Fluoride

Media Studies, Science
2 to 3 lessons
To support a position on a health issue, to use satire to present a position
Students present their view on the fluoride debate as an editorial (written or a rant) or an editorial cartoon.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Provide students with satirical essays, editorials, and editorial cartoons to examine and, if possible, have them view video clips of political rants performed by Rick Mercer on "The Rick Mercer Report." Have students make point-form notes to identify the main idea or message conveyed, the bias of the creator, the emotions evoked, the purpose and effect of words used in an editorial cartoon, how the characters and clothing in an editorial cartoon are rendered, and what techniques are used to focus on the issue in a rant.


Outline the Opportunity

Divide the class into groups of three or four students. Have each group view the clips "Lighter side of fluoride" and "Gordon Sinclair's rant" on the topic The Fluoride Debate on the CBC Digital Archives website and consider:


What does the headline tell you?

Is the opinion of the author obvious?

What points did the author raise that caught your attention? When were these points presented? Do you think their placement in the article was deliberate?

Did the author use sarcasm? If so, what effect did it have?

Was the article too long? Did it maintain your attention?

Students then view the clips "Myths about fluoride", "No happy medium", "Fluoride fight grips Vancouver", "No to fluoride" and "How much is too much?" to gather information on the positive and negative effects of fluoridation and the opinions of those on both sides. Using their information, they create their editorial.

Revisit and Reflect

Students present their editorials to the class. Have students analyze each editorial using the same questions they considered when examining the clips "Lighter side of fluoride" and "Gordon Sinclair's rant". 

Assessment Tip
Assess students' work for clarity of message, accuracy of the information, and amount of information. You might consider developing a rubric based on the points discussed in Before Exploring.



Students can search for editorials about the fluoride debate from cities mentioned in the clips. They can analyze the editorials using the criteria they used for their own work.

Related Content

Montreal says no to fluoride

Montreal continues to reject fluoride.

Fluoride fight grips Vancouver

Vancouver tries to rid its image as the rotten tooth capital of Canada.