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Super Size Me: Educationally Enhanced DVD

By Sally Finley - Posted Jan 1, 2007
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Overall Rating:4 Stars
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Company: Hart Sharp Video, 575 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10012. Phone: (800) 870-9879; Fax: (212) 475-5487; Internet:

Price: $39.99.

Audience: Grades 6-12.

Format: DVD, CD-ROM: PG Rating, 100 minutes run time.

Minimum System Requirements: Computer with DVD drive, Adobe Reader software (free from, and/or a DVD player connected to a television.

Description: This educationally enhanced DVD offers a re-edited version of the Sundance Award-winning documentary, Super Size Me, in which filmmaker Morgan Spurlock spends 30 days eating only food from McDonald's as he examines the consequences of a fast food lifestyle. The additional interactive features focus on teaching children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the life-threatening consequences of poor diet, inadequate nutrition, and lack of exercise.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Access: The DVD can be viewed on a television attached to a DVD player or on a DVD-equipped computer. The printable lesson plans, student handouts, and links require computer access. Users can access the CD-ROM without installing it on a computer. Installation/Access Rating: A

Content/Features: This DVD features a re-edited PG version of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Super Size Me, a film that examines the American way of life and exposes how we are eating ourselves to death. The film addresses America's obesity epidemic in a startling look at the fast food industry and raises the issues of corporate responsibility, nutritional education, and school lunch programs. 

Teachers should keep in mind that, although the film focuses on one restaurant chain, the issues and questions apply to all of the fast food companies in America.

Some language and scenes were removed from the documentary to create this new PG version. Learning tools were added; these can be accessed through a series of pop-up screens that provide additional facts and figures related to the movie scenes.

The enhanced mode includes supplemental content tied to teachable moments in the film. Some content permits the user to branch out to slides and video clips, and then return to the film.

The program offers 24 standards-based lessons (12 for middle school and 12 for high school) that provide activities related to health education, life skills, and language arts integrated with math, science, and social studies.

Assessments and quizzes are provided in game format. The Cafeteria Counter is an interactive food calculator that helps users learn the consequences of their food choices. Super Quiz Me is a trivia game for individuals or teams.

Each DVD comes with a teacher's guide, printable lesson plans and handouts, and links to resources and Web sites.

Classroom Applications:

The Super Size Me educationally enhanced DVD can be viewed in its entirety in the classroom or shown in segments by using the Chapter Search feature. The classroom lessons offer a series of interactive slides and film clips to facilitate discussions and to launch class activities. The student handouts can be printed from a computer to be used in cooperative learning group activities.

This enhanced DVD does a superb job of providing tools for teachers. The pop-up screens provide additional facts and figures related to scenes in the movie and can greatly assist in focusing class discussions. Content/Features Rating:  A

Ease of Use: An on-screen menu makes it easy to navigate through the various pop-up menus using a DVD remote control. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Support can be accessed through a toll-free telephone customer service number, by e-mail, or online at Product Support Rating:  A

Recommendation: This was my first experience with an educationally enhanced DVD-ROM and I loved it. The format offers a great teaching tool to use with today's students who spend so much time in front of a video screen.

The lesson plans are excellent, providing standards-based objectives, materials, and day-by-day lessons complete with discussion prompts, activities related to film clips, and procedures. 

With a minimum of preparation time, the teacher can provide instruction that relates to real-life issues. I would caution teachers to preview the DVD before showing it to their classes. The footage showing liposuction surgery was too graphic for me. I would have preferred its inclusion as a pop-up so that I could have decided if I wanted my students to view it.

Assuming your students are mature enough to understand the concepts shared in this enhanced DVD, I would highly recommend its use in the classroom. Every adult and child in this country needs to view this story. It is one that needs telling, not once, but over and over. By focusing on the importance of taking personal responsibility for a healthy lifestyle, this film is a valuable asset in sending a message about the essential need for a healthy balance of nutrition and exercise. Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Sally Finley, Gifted/Technology, Country Hills Elementary School, Coral Springs, FL.

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