In 2010, New York’s Governor suggested a 1¢ per ounce tax on all sugared beverages.10th graders from the Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering worked with CUP teaching artists Valeria Mogilevich and Nikki Chung and English Language Arts teacher Aisha Haynes to explore soda consumption in the Bushwick area and to understand both sides of the NYC soda tax debate.  

Students hit the streets to conduct interviews across the neighborhood and collect information from locals through their “soda census.” Using recycled soda cans and sugar packets, they developed visualizations of their data to inform others about their findings. Finally, each student took a stance on the issue, using their own charts and other peoples’ articles and data to support their arguments.

The Soda Tax Booklet presents a survey of news articles on soda taxes, student-generated survey data, and opinion essays written by students to help you make up your own mind about the soda tax. It might even help you find ways to figure out your opinion on some of the other controversial issues out there!

The booklet is a great tool for math classes, food justice groups, and teachers interested in integrating current events into their classrooms. Buy or download your own copy today!

Resources & Links

The Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering (AUPE) is a public school in Bushwick with an urban planning theme-based curriculum.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; the Bay and Paul Foundations; and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Carrie Fox, Gabe Friedman, Leslie McBeth, Anna Mueller, Zach Postone, Maria Sotiropoulou, Patrick Trasher, Marlisa Wise


  • Project Support
  • Christine Gaspar
      • Academy of Urban Planning and Engineering
      • Students
      • Evita Benavides 
      • Elna Boodramsingh
      • Alberto Figueroa
      • Juanita Flores 
      • Kathy Robinson 
      • Jasmine Sanders 
      • Raymond Santiago 
      • Rita Stanley
      • Julissa Taveras 
      • Tywan Tyson 
      • Ivan Valdez
      • Larae Williams
      • Classroom Teacher
      • Aisha Haynes

      • Program Coordinator
      • Joshua Lapidus


      The People of Bushwick vs. Fizzy Drinks
      • Edible Geography
      • August 13, 2010

      The booklet offers a handy how-to guide for soda-tax decision-making, starting with close readings of statements from the major players and a review of existing data, before moving onto the fun stuff: original, micro-local research.