World Food Day lesson at Winterbourne Academy

Exploring how different families around the world have very different resources available to buy food.

Nicola Richardson teaches Mathematics at The Ridings’ Federation Winterbourne International Academy (TRFWIA), an 11-18 co-educational Academy in rural South Gloucestershire. For World Food Day she gave Key Stage 3 students (age 11-14) the chance to see how different families around the world have very different resources available to buy food.

What did Nicola want to achieve?

World Food Day lesson at Winterbourne Academy
World Food Day lesson at Winterbourne Academy

Students carried out a comparative study of the cost of living in various countries of the world by calculating the price of a typical weekly shopping basket in those countries. The objectives were to promote students’ responsibility as global citizens and apply mathematical skills to real-life situations.

How did she set about doing this?

This was a discrete lesson designed to raise awareness of World Food Day with KS3 students.

In small groups students were given a weekly food budget for families in different countries. They used an average food price list to produce a daily menu for a family of four sticking to the budget given. Pupils had to come to decisions like only having one meal a day; not buying luxury goods or a treat; or how the diet could be supplemented with food aid, collecting water or farming their own produce. They quickly realised that for a lot of countries their own diet would be impossible to maintain. Each group produced a poster showing the menu for the day and a breakdown of the costs.

How well did she achieve the aims?

Students' work
Students’ work

Teachers reported that the students involved enjoyed the activity and it was clear they had rarely considered the implications of not having the resources we have in the western world. Students found out about the challenges that some families have to face and considered how important food aid is in certain parts of the world.

Follow-up activity

The lesson has been a great success and has already been shared with other staff within the mathematics faculty. Teachers in the mathematics department are now exploring ways to build on the lesson using eLanguages as a medium of exchange. This will offer an opportunity for students to exchange data with students from across the world related to food and build on graphical and presentation skills vital in mathematics.

Watching food crisis news clips will further enhance the real element to the lesson and keep the lesson alive.

Find out more

Winterbourne Academy: Winterbourne Academy website

Teaching resources:

With thanks to Nicola Richardson and Shelley Swift at Winterbourne Academy. Case study © Think Global. Pictures © Winterbourne Academy.

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