Discovering People and Processes


15-20 Minutes

  • Learn about the process of making everyday items

  • Create a draft of your “My Global Connections Infographic


We’re thinking about

the question: 

“How do the things we use connect us to people and places around the world?”

Your challenge this week is to create a “My Global Connections Infographic” showing how the everyday items you consume connect you to distant people and places.

Let's Get Started!



Look back at the list of items you found in your home. Did you find a pencil? A phone? A T-shirt? 

The items you found went through a process, starting with raw materials extracted from the Earth and ending up as a product you consume.


The images on the left describe the process of turning raw materials into products. The steps of this process include:

  • Extract: Get raw materials from the earth

  • Produce: Make it into a product

  • Distribute: Get the product to the people who will use it

  • Consume: Buy or use the product

raw materials:


the basic materials used to make other products

Let’s explore a process like the one described above.

Chocolate is a treat enjoyed by many. Though we may buy it in a local store, neatly wrapped and ready to eat, it has traveled a great distance to get to us.


Along the way, chocolate goes through a long process involving many people before it reaches our shelves

One of the main ingredients in chocolate is the seed of the cacao tree. 


These seeds are contained in the pods, or fruits, that grow on the trees.



Cacao trees grow in tropical locations, which have warm and humid climates.


Click on the map to the left to make it bigger. The countries labeled with colors indicate where cacao trees grow.


Notice that these countries are mostly located on the continents of South America, Africa, and Asia (with a few spots in the southern part of North America).

So what is the process that brings chocolate to our local store?


Step 1: Extract


Harvesting from the cacao tree involves cutting the ripe pods with knives on long poles. This is difficult and delicate work, as farmers need to take care not to damage other flowers or buds on the tree. The harvested cacao pods are then cut open to reveal white, mushy seeds.


Step 2: Produce

The seeds are processed. There are many steps involved and it takes many days.


The first step is fermentation, where the seeds are put in boxes so they get very hot. This stops the seeds from growing. This is when seeds turn from white to brown. 


Next, the seeds are spread out to dry. They can lose up to half their weight in this part of the process! At this point, we call them cocoa beans.


Then, the beans are roasted at a high temperature to kill any bacteria. They are separated from the shells, ground into powder, and then heated and cooled to make a ”mass;” this thick liquid is the basis for all chocolate products.


Step 3: Distribute

It gets transported by ship to factories all over the world to be made into chocolate, which will be packaged and distributed.


Think of all the people involved in getting chocolate to you, from the crew on the ship, to the workers loading and unloading the cargo, to the people in the factories.


Step 4: Consume


Finally, the chocolate is packaged into your favorite varieties of candy bars and distributed to retail stores, where consumers buy it.

“My Fairtrade Adventure” video

from Fairtrade Foundation

Pulling it all together:


  • Watch this video to learn more about the people and places behind the chocolate so many people enjoy!



Take another look around you and notice all the objects you use. 

Ask yourself:

  • How do these connect you to people and places far away?

  • Are there connections you already knew about?

  • Are there connections that surprised you?

  • Are there any objects or items you’d like to add to the list of items you created?

Your challenge this week: Create a “My Global Connections Infographic” showing the way you are connected to people and places through the items you consume.


Today, you will use the information you’ve collected about your items to start creating your infographic.



a visual that uses images and words to communicate information quickly and clearly

Today, you will only create a sketch of your infographic using pencil.

Your infographic will show how the everyday items you consume connect you to distant people and places.


Let’s look at another student’s draft to give us ideas.

  • Notice how this infographic shows everyday items that a student consumes. 

  • Notice how this infographic shows the places in the world where those items came from.    


Now it’s your turn to create a sketch of your “My Global Connections Infographic.” 


Review your goals: 

  • I will represent my items using symbols and words

  • I will create a chart describing which items come from which continent

  • I will write statements that demonstrate my learning about global connections


On a piece of paper, create a sketch in pencil of your “My Global Connections Infographic” (or use the “Infographic Template” handout if you like).


Once you've created your sketch, write down your thoughts and ideas after reading the sentence starters below:

  • My items connect me to people and places because…

  • Learning about these connections makes me wonder…

  • I noticed some similar things about my items, like...

    • For example: Do you notice that certain types of items come from certain places? Do you notice that certain continents provide more items than others? Are there any other patterns you notice in the information you found?

Remember to save your sketch! You’ll use it to create your final “My Global Connections Infographic.”

Read: “The Impact of Globalization on the Physical and Human Characteristics of Communities” article

  • How has globalization impacted physical places around the world?

  • How has globalization impacted cultures around the world?

Ready for Day 3?

On day 3, you will make a plan to improve your “My Global Connections Infographic.”