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close this bookExploding the Hunger Myths - High School Curriculum (FF, 1987, 173 p.)
close this folderLesson 7: Can change happen?
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View the documentActivity 1: Making change
View the documentActivity 2: What would you do?

Activity 1: Making change

Students will discuss the concept of change, particularly social change. This activity is best done after students have worked on activities in other lessons so they will have ideas for changes they might like to see. Because this activity's focus is general, you could also work it into units on topics other than hunger.


· To analyze the meaning of social change and how formerly uninvolved people have become actively involved in changing their situations

· To pinpoint changes needed to solve problems at various levels of society from personal to schoolwide to global

· To discuss the factors that discourage or prevent change in students' own lives and in the lives of others


· Blackboard and chalk


One-half to one hour


Class discussion


change, obstacle, passive

Making change


1. Begin by asking the students to describe one change they have seen. This may be a change in the school, in the community, in an individual's life, or in national politics. List the changes on the board. What was the initial setting? What was the goal? What was the outcome? How did the process of change begin? Who got involved?

2. As you list changes the students suggest, you may wish to discuss different levels of change, such as personal, school, regional, national, and international.

Young people often see their futures as being out of control. It is difficult to see how small efforts to change things can add up to make a difference. It becomes easy to give up and try to hide from the problem. If you sense this kind of hopelessness, try to encourage a long-haul view. It may take many people working together and individually for a long time for a major change to occur. Each of the individuals is needed and is important. Examples of this long-haul change include the abolition of slavery, voting rights for women, and laws for workplace safety.

3. Ask someone to describe how events can trigger change. Does anyone know someone who was moved to become active by a certain event or experience?

4. Discuss why changes sometimes do not occur. What factors might prevent change in our personal lives? Students may suggest various fears. What factors discourage change in the lives of poor people?

5. Discuss whether all change is good. Ask students to think of examples of changes that produce more hunger and suffering. Examples could be increase in unemployment, cuts in social programs (including student aid), increases in the arms race and foreign aid to governments blocking reform, or revocation of civil rights by the Supreme Court.

6. Discuss how the changes the students have suggested above might involve losers as well as winners. On the other hand, you might want to ask students to think about ways in which all people - or almost all-might gain from the social changes they have suggested. For example, ending the poverty in many countries might mean a more fair distribution of farmland, with the largest landowners having to give up some land. But might the whole society benefit from such a change? How? Are healthy people more able to contribute to society? Might there be less fear and violence in such a society?

7. Refer to the common assumption that hungry people are passive. What impressions do students get of poor people when they see them on television? Media images of hunger often portray the hungry of the world as hopeless people reaching out with cups to accept donations from wealthy citizens. Are there exceptions to this portrayal? What are some examples? Discuss with the class some of the reasons that poor people might feel passive or hopeless in some situations.

8. Wrap up by moving the discussion into the future. Ask students for some changes they would like to see in their lives, in the city, in our country, and in the world. List these on the blackboard. (Remember to list changes at all levels.) Brainstorm about students' possible roles in making these changes occur. If there is time, you can ask students to write a poem or song or draw a picture about change.