Teacher's Resources

Classroom Activities & Projects

50 Ways to Look at a Big Mac Box


  1. Smell it.
  2. Taste it.
  3. Feel it all over.
  4. Does it make a noise?
  5. What are its measurements? Height, weight, diameter?
  6. Describe its shape, colour and any decoration.
  7. Can you write a description of it that would give a clear picture to someone who has never seen a Big Mac box? (A sketch would help).
  8. Why is it the size it is?
  9. Are all MacDonald's boxes the same size?
  10. Have the sizes of MacDonald's boxes changed over the years?
  11. How much has the box's shape been determined by the material used, the method of construction and the box's function?
  12. Why isn't the box plain white (or black, or purple)?
  13. What is the function of the decoration?
  14. What does the lettering tell you?
  15. Why are symbols, logos and trademarks so important in our society?
  16. How much is the name "Big Mac" a reflection of the fashions of our time?
  17. What does the circled R signify?
  18. What material was used to make the box?
  19. What raw material was used to produce this material?
  20. Is this a renewable resource?
  21. What does this say about attitudes towards conservation in our society?
  22. Why was this particular material chosen?
  23. What are its advantages, disadvantages?
  24. How might the box have been different is a different material had been used, for example, wood, ceramics, metal or paper?
  25. What can you learn from looking at the box and lettering about how the box was made?
  26. At what stage of manufacture do you think the lettering was applied?
  27. Have you ever seen anything like this being made? What does this suggest to you about our society?
  28. Is the box well designed?
  29. Does the box work well for the purposes for which it was designed?
  30. How might the design be improved?
  31. If someone 20, 50 or 100 years ago had set about to design a container for a hamburger, how might they have done it differently?
  32. Did people eat hamburgers then?
  33. What might the hamburger container of the future be like?
  34. What does the number on the inside bottom of the box signify?
  35. Is this a clue as to where the box was made?
  36. Where was the box made?
  37. What did these boxes replace?
  38. Why not just serve a hamburger on a plate?
  39. What does the box tell us about the people who use it, the people who pass it out and our society in general?
  40. Show the Big Mac Box to as many people as you can within a 10–minute period. How many people failed to recognize the box? What does this tell you?
  41. Would you get this response in Moose Jaw, SK, Bourbon, CA or Perth, Australia? What does this tell you?
  42. Where is the headquarters of MacDonald's? What does this tell you?
  43. Do you deserve a break today?
  44. How many of these boxes are used across North America every day?
  45. For how long is each box actually used?
  46. What is done with them after they have been used?
  47. Why do you find Big Mac boxes on sidewalks and lawns and beaches?
  48. Is there anything that could be done to recycle these boxes?
  49. Is there anything that could replace them?
  50. What do you think is the single most significant thing about a Big Mac Box? Why?

Source: "Teaching Yourself to Teach with Objects" by John Hennigar Shuh, Journal of Education, Volume 7 (4) p. 15
Reproduced by permission of the Nova Scotia Department of Education, 2008.