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Food first curriculum for grade 6 students

by Laurie Rubin

Foreword by

Frances Moore Lappé

An integrated curriculum to help Grade 6 students learn the paths of the food they eat, the roots of hunger here and abroad, and how they can act locally on a global problem; with modifications for Grades 4-5 and 7-8

Institute for Food and Development Policy

San Francisco, California U.S.A.

Copyright ©1984 by Institute for Food and Development Policy

All rights reserved.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number:

ISBN: 0-955028-17-X

Printed in the United States of America

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To order additional copies of this book, please call or write:

Institute for Food and Development Policy

1885 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA 94105 USA

(415) 864-8555

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Distributed in the United Kingdom by:

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Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Rubin, Laurie, l956

Design and Illustrations: Constance King

Illustrations: Tom Schneider



The list of those deserving thanks is very long. People have been so genuinely helpful every step of the way. My most special thanks to Gretta Goldenman of the Institute for Food and Development Policy (IFDP), who has been a constant source of ideas and encouragement from the birth of the idea for a children's curriculum to the final design.

The following people all gave invaluable criticisms of the first draft, which also served as my Masters Project at the University of California at Davis: my good friend and hunger teaching partner, Glenn Schoenfeld; my Masters Committee, Isao Fujimoto, Marc Pilisuk, and Miriam Wells; plus the many other educators who helped.

I am grateful to these people who took so much time out of their busy schedules to help me improve the second draft: Therese Caroll Grant, Sister Linda Laine, Jim McGinnis, Jeff Tracy, and Susan Van Dreser.

I am indebted to the teachers who took responsibility for classroom testing the activities of the Food First Curriculum, especially Bea Krivetsky and Rhea Irvine. It was truly an inspiration to watch them communicate such important concepts to their eager students. Also, thanks to Eileen Atkinson, E lien Champlin, Gil Guillermo, Ethel Kirk, Alice Lucas, Annette Mannix, and Nancy Zimmerman.

Throughout the writing process there have always been IFDP volunteers, staff members, and interns who have made important contributions. Thanks to all of you. In particular, I am grateful to Russell Norvell for the energy he put into getting the curriculum into the schools; to Julia Rosenbaum, who always has just the right helpful idea; to Mal Singer for his help with the schools; to Lori Simon and Merle Goldman for help with the songs; to Steve Goldfield for his work on the word processor; to Chris Glazek and Mabel Dennison, who helped prepare the revised manuscript for the word processor, and to Mary Lou Carlson for copy editing. Finally I would like to thank Frances Moore Lappé, who motivated me to work against hunger and who cofounded IFDP, where I was so touched and proud to become an intern in 1980.



To Harry Chapin

I distinctly remember hearing Harry Chapin sing Flowers Are Red (see next page) for the first time in Bailey Hall at Cornell University on December 7, 1977. I have been singing it to myself ever since. This curriculum was designed in the spirit of helping all children see all the colors of the flowers.

When I first wrote those words in June 1981, little did I know that one month later a car wreck would tear Harry from this world. In his brief lifetime (1942-1981), Harry Chapin gave endlessly of himself to build a better world. Each year he played more than 200 concerts, over half of them benefits. He raised money for the arts, for social services, for Ralph Nader-affiliated groups, for political campaigns, and predominantly for anti-hunger organizations. In 1975 he and Bill Ayres founded World Hunger Year, Inc. (see page 16 to write for more information on WHY).

Harry combined boundless, vibrant energy with intense self-honesty to form a powerful, gentle, caring person. with his amazing ability to understand human emotions he reached out and touched people everywhere. He touched me. Listening to and talking with Harry Chapin changed the course of my life. In 1979 I rearranged my life to commit my future to social change. Perhaps this curriculum will spread a little Chapin-style enthusiasm for ending hunger to children who will never have a chance to experience Harry's warmth and enthusiasm.


Flowers are red

by Harry Chapin

The little boy went first day of school,

He got some crayons and started to draw.

He put colors all over the paper

For colors was what he saw.

And the teacher said, "What you doin' young man?"

"I'm paintin' flowers," he said.

She said, "It's not the time for art young man,

And anyway flowers are green and red.

There's a time for everything young man,

And a way it should be done.

You've got to show concern for everyone else

For you're not the only one."

And she said, "Flowers are red young man,

Green leaves are green.

There's no need to see flowers any other way

Than the way they always have been seen." but the little boy said ...

"There are so many colors in the rainbow,

So many colors in the mornin' sun,

So many colors in a flower, and I see every one."

Well the teacher said, " You're sassy.

There's ways that things should be

And you'll paint flowers the way they are

So repeat after me ..."

And she said, "Flowers are red young man,

Green leaves are green.

There's no need to see flowers any other way

Than the way they always have been seen."

But the little boy said ...

"There are so many colors in the rainbow,

So many colors in the mornin' sun,

So many colors in a flower, and I see every one."

Well the teacher put him in a corner.

She said, "It's for your own good.

And you won't come out till you get it right,

And are responding like you should."

Well finally he got lonely,

Frightened thoughts filled his head.

And he went up to that teacher

And this is what he said ...

And he said, "Flowers are red,

Green leaves are green.

There's no need to see flowers any other way

Than the way they always have been seen."

Time went by like it always does,

And they moved to another town.

And the little boy went to another school

And this is what he found

The teacher there was smilin'

She said, "Painting should be fun.

And there are so many colors in a flower,

So let's use every one." but that little boy painted flowers

In neat rows of green and red.

And when the teacher asked him why

This is what he said

And he said, "Flowers are red,

And green leaves are green.

There's no need to see flowers any other way

Than the way they always have been seen." but there still must be a way to have our children say ...

"There are so many colors in the rainbow,

So many colors in the mornin' sun

So many colors in a flower and I see every one."



So often Americans think of the hungry in the third world as people totally unlike themselves--as hopeless, helpless, and ignorant. All of our work at the Institute, including this curriculum, attempts to break down such stereotypes by demonstrating the many parallels between the causes of hunger in the Third World and our own food and agricultural problems.

Though food is the most basic human need and human right, the hungry are increasing—both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the world's people. In the third world, twenty million people a year—mostly children-die each year from hunger and hunger-related diseases. In some U.S. inner cities, infant mortality rates linked to maternal malnutrition are as high as in some underdeveloped countries.

Why? Our research here at the Institute demonstrates that hunger is not caused by scarcity. The world produces enough in grain alone to feed every person 3,000 calories a day, as much as the average . American eats. Hunger is not caused by too many people, or insufficient technology, or ignorance. Both in this country and overseas, more and more people go hungry because they do not have the land, the jobs, or the other resources they need to feed themselves. Around the world, a privileged minority is concentrating its economic control over these resources at the expense of the poor.

Awareness of these trends could lead to frustration and discouragement. So many—young and old alike—feel overwhelmed by problems of a global scale. How can we counter this paralyzing despair?

In our experience, people overcome despair as they begin to understand root causes. As an understanding emerges, we begin to make sense of what before was a jumble of frightening facts. Most important, we begin to see how our own daily life choices--what we eat, where we shop, what we try to learn, where we work, and so on—connect us personally to the causes of hunger and to the solutions.

Many times, messages to children about hunger play upon feelings of guilt. We reject this approach We believe that many people, especially young people, are looking for ways to understand the world that will give greater meaning to their daily lives. Instead of a depressing and paralyzing subject to be avoided, we have come to see that understanding the roots of hunger can be a potent tool in awakening people to their power to change themselves and the world around them. It is in this spirit that we offer this curriculum guide.

Frances Moore Lappé

San Francisco, 1984



Why the food first curriculum

A sampling of the daily mail at the Institute for Food and Development Policy often offers comments like these: "All the children's hunger activities I've tried leave my students feeling overwhelmed and helpless. The books of the Institute offer so much hope. Do you have any resources for children?" "I want my children to learn ways to work against hunger that go beyond charity. Do you have any suggestions I can share with their teachers?"

Ending hunger is a long, hard job. To build a more just and democratic food system requires knowing the facts. Children need to understand where their food comes from, how it gets to them, and who gets bypassed. They need to learn about people already working to end hunger.

In addition, children need to develop skills for working for democratic change—how to communicate with other people, to analyze situations, to solve problems cooperatively, and to organize workloads.

Because children learn best when they are enjoying themselves, I've worked to make the curriculum as experiential and interesting as possible. During the development of the Food First Curriculum, I've circulated drafts to educators around the country for review. Each activity has been classroom tested.

The responses have been inspiring. One teacher described the powerful effects on her students, particularly during the activity, "How Does the World Eat?" (IV/1): "They really took it seriously. Each one watched carefully to see how much food the others received. The 'hungry' ones asked to be served more food. The ones with adequate portions were outraged that one 'rich' person could keep so much. They demanded a fairer distribution."


Goals of this curriculum

To enable students:

1. To think critically and independently about the world around them.

2. To be self-directed individuals capable of participating in shaping their world.

3. To develop an inquisitiveness about the world in general and our food system in particular.

4. To become aware of our food system--where food comes from, who produces it, who controls it, who is bypassed by it, and why.

5. To understand the roots of hunger.

6. To be aware of possible solutions to hunger and methods for bringing about change in the food system.

7. To practice forms of group problem solving and decision making.


Key Ideas

Unit I

• There can be more than one correct way to get some things done.

• Cooperation leads to problem solving.

• In this world there exists a rich diversity of ways of life. One can appreciate all of them.

Unit II

• The food we eat originates in places all around the world.

• The people who work on farms growing our food work very hard.

• The number of farms in the U.S. has been decreasing. The average size of farms in the U.S. has been increasing.

Unit III

• Most of the foods we eat follow a complicated path—from farmer to processor to distributor-before reaching our table.

• The extra steps food companies take to process and sell food are not always beneficial for the consumer. Examples: additives, energy-intensive packaging, deceptive advertising.

• A small number of manufacturing companies control many of the brands of food.

Unit IV

• One out of four people on this earth suffers from hunger.

• Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food or by too many people.

• People go hungry when they do not have access to land to grow food or to jobs so they can earn money to buy food.

Unit V

• Many people go hungry in the U.S.A.

• Some groups of Americans are more likely to go hungry than others--minorities, children, seniors, and women.

• Being unemployed or having a limited income makes it hard for people to buy enough food, even though they are hardworking, intelligent people.

Unit VI

• Ordinary people can make changes.

• Children, and others, can work on large problems by starting with themselves and their local areas.

• Charity will not end hunger (although it can ease the immediate suffering).

• Hunger can be ended by people working together to build a more just life for all.



Who this curriculum is for

I designed this curriculum for sixth grade children because I found a particular lack of good materials for the middle grades—crucial years during which children begin to integrate ideas and to form their own value systems, when they are curious and eager to learn.

Almost any activity, though, can be used for younger or older children. Often I give specific modifications for adapting an activity for younger students (fourth and fifth grades) and older students (seventh and eighth grades).

Much of the material is based on my own feelings on how to achieve an ideal learning situation. Since I was brought up in middle-class suburban neighborhoods, the activities may be slanted toward teaching in similar situations. To get the most from this curriculum, teachers will need to adapt the activities to their own special environments.

Though this curriculum is set up to become a part of daily classroom use in public and private schools, its usefulness is not limited to these environments. By using a shortened selection of activities, religious educators may find this curriculum to be a helpful addition to Sunday School classes. Activities in the last three units-Unit IV, "Why Are People Hungry?"; Unit V, "Who's Hungry in the USA?"; and Unit Vl, "What Can We Do?"--would be especially appropriate for religious school classes.

Youth organizations, such as Scouting and 4-H, might also successfully incorporate a selection of activities into their programs. Unit II, "Where Does Our Food Come From?"; Unit III, "How Do We Get Our Food?"; and Unit VI, "What Can We Do?" would be the most appropriate areas. Individual activities can be used in workshops with a wide variety of groups of children. For example, community food activists could put on special educational events for young people using these activities, possibly in conjunction with other hunger awareness programs for older people. Unit IV, Activity 1, "How Does the World Eat?" would make a useful and involving workshop session.



How to use this curriculum

The Food First Curriculum is a complete social studies unit of 35 lessons (50 class hours) designed to be used once or twice a week throughout the school year.

The following rating system used throughout the curriculum may help in further organizing lesson plans:

• Key activities put across the most central concepts of the unit. They can be used when time is limited to one-day workshops or short courses.

• Important activities, when used with key activities, will provide a general understanding of the unit material. These are good for use in courses with some time limitations, religious school classes, and weekly events.

• Useful activities, when used with key and important activities, will supplement and reinforce understanding of all unit concepts. These are suggested for classes that meet regularly throughout the year.

For those who have limited time for Food First activities, here is a suggested short course of ten activities:

1. Unit I: Activity Two. "If the World Were a Global Village"

2. Unit I: Activity Five. "We Can All Be Experts"

3. Unit II: Activity Four. "Where Have All the Farmers Gone?"

4. Unit III: Activity One. "Visit to a Supermarket"

5. Unit III: Activity Five. "Food Ads--What's in Them for Me?"

6. Unit IV: Activity One. "How Does the World Eat?"

7. Unit IV: Activity Three. "Voices from a Bangladesh Village"

8. Unit IV: Activity Five. "Puppets and Population"

9. Unit V: Activity Three. "Old and Hungry"

10. Unit VI: Activity Two. "What Does Change Mean?"

In addition, I strongly suggest the use of journals to help children digest newly learned ideas and to help teachers evaluate children's progress. At the beginning of the course, have the children prepare a looseleaf binder, notebook, or a file folder to store their work on food and hunger. Journals are also a good place for recording thoughts and feelings about each activity.

For a good background in the roots of hunger, I suggest reading World Hunger: Ten Myths by Frances Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins, available from the Institute for Food and Development Policy (see end of Curriculum for order information).


Teaching related areas

This curriculum focuses on the social science aspects of the food system, an area where I saw a great void in available educational resources. Optimally, this handbook should be used following a nutrition unit so that there is a strong understanding of the connection between proper eating and good health.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (1501 16th Street, N.W.,

Washington, DC 20036) has a wide variety of materials on nutrition. Their Food Scorecard is an excellent booklet on the subject written from a school child's perspective for nine to thirteen year olds.

Integrating school gardening into the curriculum will also enhance it. Most children live a life that is very far removed from the origins of their food. Growing food will put them in touch with this vital resource. An excellent resource for school gardening coms from Friends of the Harvest/Life Lab Science Programs (809 Bay Avenue, Capitola, Calif., 95010). Their The Growing Classroom, a garden-based science and nutrition curriculum for second through sixth grades, provides a host of creative experiences for children.

For additional resources, see the annotated bibliography at the end of this curriculum.



Using an integrated curriculum

by Rhea Irvine, Berkwood Hedge School, Berkeley, California

Because the Food First Curriculum takes a multidisciplinary approach to our food system, there are extensive possibilities for integrating language arts, science, and math. An integrated curriculum allows students to apply skills while immersed in the study of a topic. Students gain an appreciation of skills not possible through an out-of-context textbook. Children remember and relate concepts because they use them to understand and communicate ideas and information which have significance for them. Because the Food First Curriculum provides a context that children find compelling and motivating, it is an ideal vehicle for teachers who wish to attempt an integrated curriculum for the first time, or for those who wish to refine this powerful teaching technique.

Built into the Food First Curriculum lessons are these language arts experiences:

• Interviewing

• Role-playing

• Journal keeping

• Oral history

• New vocabulary

• Panel discussion

• Poetry

• Research

• Puppetry

• Reporting

• Letter writing

• Questionnaires

• Debating


Social studies and science units which can be developed to expand on Food First topics include:

• Map reading

• Plant genetics

• Advertising

• World geography

• Nutrition

• Natural resources

• Energy use

• Decision making

• Recycling

• Current events

• Consumer skills


Opportunities to apply math concepts appear in discussions of such topics as infant mortality, population density, protein, and distribution of resources. Students can put to use:

• Fractions

• Averages

• Percentages

• Big numbers

• Statistics

• Brainstorming

• Graphing

• Problem solving

• Charts and tables



A supportive classroom

I have always learned the most from those who had the highest expectations of my ability to improve. The more responsibility actively delegated to me, the more I worked to produce high-quality results. The teachers I remember now are those special few who stepped away from the rigid role of fact givers. They allowed us as students to explore new ways of thinking. For this reason, I believe in the importance of promoting democracy and independent thinking in the classroom.

To prepare a classroom atmosphere supportive of children learning to participate in the shaping of the world, I strongly recommend reading Chapter Two, "An Idea Grows," and Chapter Four, "Getting Started," from Prutzman et al.'s The Friendly Classroom for a Small Planet (Wayne, N.J.: Avery Publishing Group., 1978; available from CCRCP, Box 271, Nyack, NY 10960); along with "Peace and Justice in Schools: Mutual Education" from McGinnis and McGinnis' Educating for Peace and Justice (St. Louis, Mo.: Institute for Peace and Justice .4144 Lindell, #400, 63108 - 1980).

Some characteristics of a supportive classroom include the promotion of individual dignity and self-worth, an emphasis on cooperation and sharing, creative conflict resolution inside and outside the classroom, and mutual education - a process involving the democratic participation by students and teachers alike.

Feeling positively about oneself is a prerequisite to feeling positively about others and seeing other points of view. Conscious affirmation of every individual in the group is one tool in developing strong self-concepts and allowing caring to be communicated. Though affirmation is practiced in Unit VI, Activity 7, "Affirming teach Other's Efforts for Change," teachers may want to introduce it earlier in the curriculum by periodically setting aside time for all persons to talk about a nice thing that they witnessed or learned recently that is somehow related to our food system.

Participating actively in the classroom teaches young people to participate in other areas of life. Because it is important to give every individual a chance to be listened to respectfully by other classmates, I recommend the use of a circle structure. Circles show the equality of every person more eloquently than any verbal lessons on equality can.

One of the most important aims of mutual education is mutual responsibility, the sharing of decision making. Children who feel they have some control over their learning situation will contribute much more fully to and gather much more knowledge from their education.

To achieve mutual responsibility, it helps if the teacher views himself or herself as a facilitator of group learning rather than as simply a presenter of lessons. The facilitator keeps things moving in the classroom, balances the needs of individuals with the needs of the whole group, checks how the group feels about planned activities, and helps to modify the plans as needed to make the whole group comfortable.

Mutual decision making often utilizes the consensus process, a method in which an entire group tries to come to an agreement. This differs from voting. Voting involves choosing from among alternatives. Consensus synthesizes the viewpoints of all persons to arrive at a final decision acceptable to everyone.

Answer key to pretest/posttest (page 5): 1 ) yes; 2) 1 out of 4; 3) yes; 4) all over the U.S. or around the world; 5) fewer farmers today; 6) 75%; 7) Native Americans, women, people over 70 years old, people 1 to 15 years old; 8) fewer people deciding; 9) yes; 10) ordinary people.


Food first curriculum pretest/posttest

1. Is there enough food grown in the world today to feed all the people?




2. How many people go hungry in this world?

____Everyone (100%)

_____I out of 100 persons (1%)

____I out of 4 persons (25%)

_____No one (0%)

____I out of 10 persons (10%)


3. Can there be more than one correct way to describe an event?




4. Think about the food you ate yesterday. Where was it grown?

____Your neighborhood

____Your state (including your neighborhood)

____All over the United States (including your state)

____Around the world (including the United States)

5. Compare the number of farmers in the United States now with the number of farmers 100 years ago. Are there:

____More farmers today

____ The same number of farmers today

____Fewer farmers today

6. Many types of food we find in the supermarket are made by the same few food manufacturing companies. What percentage of all the breakfast cereals, all the canned soups, and all the packaged cookies are made by just one to four food companies?







7. Which people in the United States are more likely to be hungry? Check one of each pair below.

____People of European ancestry or ____ Native Americans

____Men or ____ women

____People over 70 years old or ____ people 30 to 40 years old

____People 1 to 15 years old or ____ people 20 to 30 years old

8. There are many more people in the world today than there were 100 years ago. Compare the number of people now deciding what food will be grown and for whose benefit to the number of people deciding this 100 years ago. Are there:

____More people deciding

____The same number of people deciding

____Fewer people deciding

9. Is it possible to make changes in this world?

____ Yes

____ No


10. In the task of working to end hunger, what group of people is most important?



____Ordinary people like you or me


Note to teacher: see page 4 for answer key.


Background readings for the teacher

Before using some of the activities in this curriculum many teachers will want to read up on some of the issues raised. To help these teachers I have put together a list of some background readings that would be helpful for particular sections.

• Unit II. Where Does Our Food Come From? To learn about the American farm system I recommend reading Empty Breadbasket?, a publication of the Cornucopia Project (Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press, 33 East Minor Street,18049--1982) and A Time to Choose: Summary Report on the Structure of Agriculture put out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Washington, D.C.--1981).

• Unit III. How Do We Get Our Food? One can learn about many areas of our food system by reading Lerza's and Jacobsons's Food for People, Not for Profit (New York: Ballantine Books--1975). 1 also recommend Hightower's chapter on "Food Monopoly" in The Big Business Reader (New York: Pilgrim Press--1980).

• Unit IV. Why are People Hungry? The Institute for Food and Development Policy's World Hunger: Ten Myths is an invaluable resource for preparing to teach about hunger. In its place, for teachers who want to devote more time to the study of hunger, I recommend the Food First: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity, also by Lappé and Collins (New York: Ballantine Books--1978). (See end of Curriculum for order information.)

• Unit V. Who's Hungry in the U.S.A.? Stallard's, Ehrenreich's and Sklar's Poverty in the American Dream: Women and Children First is an excellent resource on the growth of hunger in this country (Boston, Mass.: South End Press--1983). Amidei's Hunger in the Eighties: A Primer provides many facts on domestic hunger (Washington, D.C.: The Food Research and Action Center, 1319 "F" Street, Suite 500, 20004--1984).

• Unit VI. What C:an We Do? The chapter on "Food Self-Reliance" in Food First provides helpful information as does the chapter "Lessons for the Long Haul" in Lappé's Diet for a Small Planet (hew York: Ballantine Books, Tenth Anniversary Edition--1982). For Activity Three, "Is Giving Food the Answer?," it is important to read the section "Food Aid Disaster" in the Food First chapter "The Helping Handout: Aid for Whom?"


Unit I - Why do people around the world do things in so many different ways?


This unit adds a global perspective to the curriculum as well as providing students with a deeper understanding and acceptance of people's differences. It allows them to practice new types of social skills by learning creative methods of group problem solving. Groups that utilize these lessons will benefit from a much richer experience throughout the rest of this curriculum.

The teacher can use this opportunity to develop students' awareness and knowledge of different cultures and geography. Lessons in this unit also enhance mathematics, reading, vocabulary, language arts, and oral communications skills.

Why do people around the world do things in so many different ways?



1. To help children appreciate the diversity of ways of life on this globe.

2. To create an awareness that there are many different ways to work out problems and to look at situations.

3. To enable children to practice group problem-solving skills.

4. To enhance children's abilities to critically assess situations with an open mind.

Activity One

"Food—First Impressions" is a quick and easy useful activity that introduces children to food issues. They will gain vocabulary and communication skills by discussing their first impressions of words related to the food system.

Activity Two

"If the World Were a Global Village" is an important simulation exercise that demonstrates global inequalities in access to and control over resources. It will increase geographic knowledge and develop understanding of the differences found in countries around the world.

Activity Three

"There's More than One Way to Look at Something" is a key activity that prepares children for considering controversial issues. Reading comprehension and analytical thinking will be improved as students study essays on several subjects written from opposing viewpoints.

Activity Four

"Cooperation Squares Game" is an important and enjoyable activity that gives children a chance to practice the skills needed for cooperation. In addition, the game serves as a springboard to thinking about and trying to understand one's actions.

Activity Five

"We Can All Be Experts" is another key activity in this unit. By looking at how differently things are done in other lands, students will come to appreciate other cultures and to understand that there is not just one right way to get tasks done.

Activity Six

"Global Quiz Game" is a useful wrap-up of Unit I. The quiz game provides an enjoyable way for children to review the important concepts and global perspectives taught in this unit.


For more creativity and variety in your classroom you may want to add one or more of the following activities:

1. Global Poetry--Have students read poems written by people of other lands. Discuss the country the poem comes from, what it means, who wrote it, and how it compares to the other poems. Ask children to write their own original poems about our similarities to and differences from people around the world.

2. How Should We Decide?—If you are familiar with consensus decision making, you may want to have your group practice making decisions this way. Choose a topic that affects the lives of the children such as playground rules, classroom chores, or plans for an upcoming holiday. Try making a group decision on a particular topic in other ways. Examples: authoritarianism—one person decides; majority rule--a 51 percent share of the vote decides; consensus--everyone agrees.

Some of the main differences between consensus and voting are: (1 ) Consensus puts together many proposals to form one best one while voting requires persons to choose from among many proposals. (2) Consensus groups try to reach a decision that every person feels comfortable with while voting groups try to reach a decision that at least 51 percent of the people are comfortable with. (3) When deciding matters of personal importance, consensus can take a long time and be difficult to achieve.

3. Flowers Are Red—Have children sing the following song about education written by Harry Chapin. The song celebrates creativity and the ability to look at life from many perspectives. For the complete lyrics, see the dedication, pp. iii-iv.

The arithmetic of poverty

Reprinted from the Presidential Commission Report on World Hunger, Overcoming Hunger: The Challenge Ahead (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1980).

Reprinted from William 1. Kaufman, UNICEF Book of Children's Poems (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1970), used by permission.

Flowers are red

Flowers are red - continued



Activity one - Food: First impressions

* useful


The children will respond to words about food with the first thoughts that come to their minds and will list their ideas on what makes up the system that brings them their food.

Related Subjects

Social Studies, Vocabulary, Nutrition, Geography, Science.


1. To begin to think about concepts related to hunger and the food system.

2. To demonstrate how much is already known about food.

3. To acquire new vocabulary words associated with food and agriculture.

4. To appreciate the wide variety of impressions people have and to accept that these are not necessarily "right" or "wrong."



Blackboard and chalk, butcher paper and marking pen, pencils, paper, and list of words.


1. Explain to the group that they will be asked to give the first idea that comes to their minds when seeing a word written on the board. They are not expected to know the meanings of all the words. Stress that there are no right or wrong answers. Distribute writing materials if needed.

2. Either the teacher or a selected student should have the list of food words. Write the words on the board one at a time. You may want to have everyone silently write down reactions to each word before anyone gives a verbal response. Let one child respond out loud to each word. Go around the room so that everyone has a turn at at least one word.

Word examples: food, hamburger, rice, Pepsi, black beans, Hostess Twinkies, tortillas, hunger, Hershey, poverty, rich, wheat, farmworkers, corn, food stamps, prime rib, Safeway (or other large supermarket chain), tractor, bananas, hoe, Dole, Frosted Flakes, farmer, debt, peasant, cocoa, China, harvest, profits, co-op, seeds, water, land, commercials.

3. Discuss the responses after each word association.

4. Now ask the children to think about the system that brings food to them. Have them list steps that are related to food while one child writes all of these on the butcher paper. When all the ideas are listed, connect them with lines, showing the sequence of steps of the food system.

Examples of steps: selling seeds, cultivating crops, canning vegetables, milling flour, transporting food to the food store, shopping for food.

Note: Save this food system diagram for discussion in Unit III, Activity 6, "What Path Did My Food Take?"

5. Administer the pretest found on page 5. Emphasize that this is a survey and not a "test." Students are not expected to know the "correct" answers. Save the results for evaluation at the end of the Food First Curriculum.


For groups not knowing each other, have them divide into pairs of children who do not know each other. Ask each child to interview his or her partner asking questions such as: " What is your favorite food?" or "Do you know someone who has gone hungry?"

For younger students, omit step 4.

For older students, add these words to the list of word examples: legume, caviar, export crop, food additive, agribusiness, money lender, fertilizer, pesticide, organic, competition.



Activity two - If the world were a global village

** important


Students will participate in a simulation showing differences and inequalities in the use of and control over global resources and will make charts showing the proportions of people with access to certain resources.

Related Subjects

Geography, Math, Art, Social Studies.


1. To appreciate the global inequalities in control over and use of resources.

2. To understand differences and similarities in ways of life in other places around the world.

3. To practice putting information into a chart format.



3" x 5" information cards with names and/or pictures of the resource being discussed (one for each recipient in each part of the activity), paper, pencils, colored pencils, pens.


1. In advance, prepare a list of resources and the percentage of world population that has access to each resource. Determine how many persons in your group will make up each percentage. Make enough information cards—with names and/or pictures of the resource—for all children who will represent the global users of each resource. Resource use examples may be found at the end of this activity (use a-i for grade 6).

Optional--You may want the children to help in the preparatory stage by making the cards, writing the correct phrase, and drawing a simple illustration on each one.

2. Explain to the group that members will be taking part in a simulation to show how global resources are used. Explain that a resource is a supply of something. Discuss the children's concepts of the most important resources needed for human life.

3. For each resource, one at a time, randomly divide the group into "haves" and "have-nots." Ask the haves to move to a separate part of the room. Distribute the cards to them. Read the statistic aloud.

4. Discuss the resource, its importance to human life, the degree of inequality in its use, what it would be like to have the resource, what it would be like to go without the resource, and why everyone in the world does not have the resource.

5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for resource statistics through (i).

6. Journals—Allow time for the children to place their charts in their journals and to make entries on their thoughts and feelings about global inequalities in resource use.

Optional--As a follow-up, ask each person to draw a circle graph for one or more of the resources showing the haves and the have-nots.


For younger students, have them use rubber stamps or stencils of people to make posters showing each resource use example. Use a different color ink for the haves and the have -note.

For older students, add resource use examples j, k, and l.

Resource Use Examples


Activity three - There's more than one way to look at something

*** key


Students will read and discuss pairs of essays presenting varying interpretations of the same situation.

Related Subjects

Reading, Language Arts, Vocabulary.


1. To appreciate that there are many different ways to look at a situation and to learn how differently one event can be interpreted by different authors.

2. To develop critical thinking skills and to appreciate the importance of determining the source of a written article.

3. To improve reading comprehension.

4. To practice writing a comparative analysis.


Paper, pencils or pens, and copies of the handout at the end of this activity. Teacher may also provide other pairs of written descriptions from opposite perspectives of several events or policies—enough copies of each for everyone. Possibilities: Nuclear disarmament (hawk and dove perspectives), the Equal Rights Amendment (supporters and opponents), the death penalty (supporters and opponents), apartheid (South African government and black African perspectives).


1. Ask the children to be prepared to compare several interpretations of the same event. Distribute copies of the handout, paper, and pencils or pens.

2. Begin by reading and discussing the first example concerning a nighttime automobile encounter. How do the reports differ? Sample questions are found at the bottom of the handout.

3. Ask the group to read Examples 2 and 3 in the handout either silently or by taking turns reading aloud. Discuss.

4. Optional—Repeat with descriptions of one or more other events.

5. Ask each child to choose one pair of essays and to write one or two paragraphs comparing the two viewpoints.

6. When the essays are finished, have the group share some or all of the essays with each other. Discuss. Also, ask for examples of other issues that can be looked at in different ways.

7. Journals—Provide time for children to place their essays in their journals and make entries about appreciating many perspectives.


For younger students, give the group a chance to practice observing a situation and then describing it. Present a situation to the group (these can range from a television episode, photographs, drawings, slides, tapes, skits to machines or sculpture). Ask three children to leave the room. One by one have them enter and describe the situation to the group in their own words. Afterwards discuss why different people can have different interpretations of the same event.

For older students, have students read the original essays instead of the paraphrased ones.

Original sources for points of view given in the handout:

Examples (1) A and B are from African Studies Handbook for Teachers, 2nd ed. (Worcester, Mass: Worcester Teaching Corp./University of Massachusetts, 1971). Reprinted by permission.

Examples (2) A and B as given on the worksheet have been paraphrased specially for the Food First Curriculum. The original sources: (A) a letter from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to author, January 6, 1982:

"You wanted information on the reasons for reducing the Food Stamp Program budget. The Reagan Administration is committed to reducing the level of growth in Federal expenditures, to improving the current economic conditions and to controlling inflation in this country. Food stamp laws that have been passed by this Administration will curtail fraud, waste and abuse in the Program and will save Federal funds."

(B) from Action (March 13, 1981), a newsletter from IMPACT, an interreligious nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C. Reprinted by permission:

"The Food Stamp Program serves over 22 million persons. As unemployment and inflation rise, so does the need for the program. The recipients—mostly mothers with small children, the elderly, and the working poor—rely heavily on food stamps to meet their basic nutritional needs.

Proposed cuts would lower average benefits from 43 cents to 38 cents per meal. This loss of an eighth of a family's food assistance, coupled with inflation, would make a significant difference in an already inadequate diet. Maintaining the program at current levels is essential to millions of Americans."

Examples (3) A and B have been paraphrased for sixth-grade reading level. The original sources: (A) an advertisement in Business Week (June 29, 1981). Reprinted by permission:

"The Philippines has come a long way in the last decade. As S. Shahid Husain, World Bank Regional Vice-President for East Asia and the Pacific, told the press last January, the country's development record 'is one of the most impressive in the developing world.' ... Between 1972 and 1980, Philippine agricultural output gained an average 5 percent annually—one of the highest rates in the developing world.

The country has had remarkable success in other areas as well. The Philippines is now self-sufficient in rice, its staple crop.... Gerardo Sicat, Minister for the National Economic and Development Authority, ... adds, 'All our development programs are designed to lift up the poor, to enable them to participate fully in our country's growth."

(B) Walden Bello, "Rural Debacle: The World Bank and the Philippines," in Food Monitor (July/August 1981), available from World Hunger Year, Inc., 350 Broadway, Suite 209, New York, NY 10013. Reprinted by permission:

"The World Bank's fears were compounded by the results of a study done by a high-powered 'Poverty Mission' to the Philippines in 1979. According to the mission, in spite of the increasing application of modern technological inputs to agriculture and a real growth rate of 5 percent a year in agricultural output, the number of rural families living in absolute poverty grew by 23.1 percent between 1971 and 1975....

The study suggested ... most of the benefits from these investments were being reaped by large commercial operators producing export crops such as sugar, coconut, and pineapple.... 'One could argue therefore that the benefits from the high level of agricultural growth ... may not have reached the poor."'


There's More than One Way to Look at Something

Example (1) "An Automobile Encounter" -- (for discussion).


One night last summer I was walking in a rough part of town. It was late and no one was around. A taxi came up from behind and so startled me that I tripped on a broken bottle getting out of its way. I picked up the bottle and was looking for somewhere to put it when I noticed that the taxi had stopped a hundred yards ahead. Suddenly three doors of the taxi and four kids in leather jackets jumped out and started running towards me. I looked quickly in all directions to see where I could run but the houses were too close together and there were no lights anywhere. I only had a moment to think what to do. As they came close I ... and they ... and then I ...


One night last summer Jack, Ray, Dick and I were coming home late from the show. I knew my mom would already be worried so I suggested taking a taxi to get home quicker. After we got in I went through my pockets and realized that I had spent all my money and I remembered that the other guys had spent all theirs. I nudged Jack in front and then Dick next to me and gave each of them the sign and told Dick to nudge Ray. About three blocks from my house we turned the corner real fast and there was this crazy guy, or maybe he was drunk, standing in the middle of the road and we almost hit him. This got the driver real mad and we knew he wasn't thinking much about us. I said, "Right here, please," and he stopped suddenly. We opened the doors and ran as fast as we could back in the other direction. We figured if he tried to chase us we'd just split up at the corner. But before we got there we had a surprise waiting for us. The crazy guy was standing in the middle of the street, just waiting for us. As we got closer we saw the danger. He had a broken bottle in his hand, and we knew by his face that he meant business. As we got closer he ... and we ... and then he ...


Example (2) "The Food Stamp Program"


U.S. Department of Agriculture:

You wanted information on the reasons for reducing the Food Stamp Program budget. The Reagan administration is working to lower government spending, improve the economy, and control rising prices in this country. Food stamp laws that have been passed by this administration will end fraud, waste, and abuse in the Food Stamp Program and will save government money.


IMPACT, an interreligious nonprofit group:

The Food Stamp Program serves over 22 million persons. As unemployment and inflation rise, the program is needed more. People who receive food stamps are mostly women with small children, old people, and poor working people. They rely heavily on food stamps to meet their basic food needs.

The government plan cuts food stamp benefits from 43 to 38 cents per meal. This would make a big difference in the diet of people who already cannot afford to buy enough food. Millions of Americans need food stamp benefits to stay at the same level.


Example (3) "Development in the Philippines"


An advertisement in Business Week, a businesspeople's magazine:

The Philippines has come a long way in the last decade. A World Bank expert said it is one of the most impressive countries in the developing world. Between 1972 and 1980 Philippine agriculture grew more than most countries in the developing world.

The Philippines now does not have to buy rice from other countries. Rice is the food of the country. A minister in the Philippine government said that all his government's development plans are designed to help the poor share in his country's growth.

An article in Food Monitor, a magazine for people concerned about food, land, and hunger:

A study of poverty in the Philippines found that the number of families living in poverty grew between 1971 and 1975, even though more food was grown at the same time.

The study found that most of the help to farmers from government programs went to rich farmers who grew export crops such as sugar, coconut, and pineapple. The benefits from growing more food may not have helped the poor.


Choose example (2) or (3) and answer these questions:

1. How are these two statements different?



2. Who wrote each one?



3. Where was each one printed?



4. now can there be two views of the same idea?



5. When you read something, why is it important to know who wrote it and where it was printed?



6. Why is it important to look at more than one opinion before you make your own decision about something?



7. Choose one of the examples and write one or two paragraphs comparing the two viewpoints.



Activity four - Cooperation squares game

** important


Students will work together in teams to put together a puzzle that can only be solved cooperatively.

Related Subjects

Communication, Problem Solving.


1. To practice cooperation and develop social skills for helping others.

2. To develop an appreciation for the usefulness of cooperation.

3. To use comparative thinking skills to contrast the differences between competition and cooperation.

4. To begin to think about and analyze personal actions and feelings.


A rules sheet and a set of squares for each group of five persons.


1. Before class, prepare a set of squares and an instruction sheet for each five students. A puzzle set consists of five envelopes containing pieces of stiff paper cut into patterns that will form 6" x 6" squares, as shown in the diagram. Several individual combinations will be possible but only one total combination. Cut each square into the parts a through j and lightly pencil in the letters.

2. Then mark the envelopes A through E and distribute the pieces thus:


A – i, h, e


B --a, a, a, c


C --a, j


D --d, f


E --g, b, f, c

3. Erase the small letters and write instead the envelope letter A through E, so that the pieces can be easily returned for reuse. By using multiples of three inches, several combinations will form one or two squares. Only one combination will form five 6" x 6" squares.

4. Make a rules sheet such as:

Object of the game: To form five squares of equal size.

Rules: (1) No member may speak or communicate in any way by smiles, glances, hand signals; (2) No member may ask for a card or signal in any way that s/he wants one; (3) Members may give puzzle pieces to others.

5. Before distributing the envelopes, ask the group what cooperation means. List on the board the requirements for cooperation. For example: everyone has to understand the problem; everyone has to believe that s/he can help; everyone needs to think of other persons as well as him/herself.

6. Divide the group into teams of five and seat each team at a table with a rules sheet. Those persons left over can be appointed as observers and asked to take notes on the teams' interactions.

7. Explain that the puzzle can only be solved by cooperation. Read the object of the game. Explain the rules. Distribute the envelopes. Ask the group to begin.

8. When the game is over, review the ideas about cooperation from before the game. Discuss the following:

• How did you feel while playing the game? Did you have any problems in completing the game? If so, how did you solve them?

• How did you feel when someone held a piece and did not see the solution as you saw it? If you were that person, how did you feel?

• What was your reaction when someone finished his/her square and then sat back without seeing whether this solution prevented others from solving the problem?

• What were your feelings if you finished your square and then began to realize that you would have to break it up and give away a piece?

• Did you learn anything about yourself from this game? What sorts of things?

• Often there will be a person in the group who begins to grab pieces from other members, either to keep or redistribute. If this happened, how did the group react? Why did that person act the way s/he did? (While this behavior is contrary to the rules, the teacher may choose to let the group handle it or may intervene and say, "Members may only GIVE cards to others! ")

9. Ask the group to compare cooperation with the process of competition used in most games. To do this you may want to set up another round of the Squares Game changing the rules to make it competitive. For example, the winner could be the first person to complete one square. Persons could be allowed to take pieces from each other.

10. Ask the children to each write one or two paragraphs on the difference between cooperation and competition.

11. Journals—Ask each child to make a journal entry on what was learned about cooperation.

Note: This lesson has been adapted from An Experiment in Cooperation: Cooperation Squares Game, © 1970 by NTL Institute.



Activity five - We can all be experts

*** key


The children will each receive information on one or more aspects of global affairs and will help each other to fill out a questionnaire requiring the information of all.

Note: The important part of this activity is to show that differences exist around the world. It is not necessary for the children to memorize facts about other countries.

Related Subjects

Nutrition, Health, Reading, Oral Communication, Writing/Language Arts, Geography, Science.


1. To develop an appreciation for customs in other lands.

2. To understand that our way of doing things is not always the most sensible way for other people in other places.

3. To practice cooperation and realize how collaboration helps to get work done.

4. To increase geographic awareness of where countries are on the map.

5. To improve analytical thinking.

6. Optional—To gain research skills.


A questionnaire for every child, one or more 4" x 6" expert cards with information for the answer to one question for each child, pencils or pens, paper, world map, and optional reference materials, such as books and magazines, for the children to research the questions and answers about ways of doing things in other lands.


1. Optional—In advance, in addition to or as a substitute for the questionnaire and expert cards provided, you may want to have the children help prepare the questions and answers. Explain the types of information needed. Give examples of questions and answers, such as the ones provided at the end of this activity. Ask each child to create several question/answer pairs. Provide the reference materials. Assist with the researching as needed. Then prepare the expert cards and questionnaires. See step 3 to determine how many duplicates of each card are necessary.

2. Explain to students that they will be responsible for collaborating on a research project. You may want to increase the role-playing facet of this activity by calling this a "world research conference." Each child will be an "expert" on one or more topics of global affairs. Together they will be responsible for helping each other complete a copy of the research questionnaire. Have volunteers find each country that will be discussed on the world map.

3. You will probably want to break the group into teams of six to eight persons. If the group works well together, however, you may want to let them try to work on the questionnaires in one large group.

If you plan to divide the group into teams, you will need to make duplicates of the expert cards, one for each team. Most teams will need the supervision of an older person. Depending on the size of your group and the number of helpers available, you may need to run this activity at the same time that some children are working individually. For example, they could be writing essays for Activity Three "There's More than One Way to Look at Something."

4. Pass out questionnaires to each student in each team. Pass out one to three expert cards to each person. You may want to organize this so that each person has answers that are related to each other, either by subject area or by geographic region. Pass out writing materials as needed. Ask each child to fill out the questionnaire by using the advice of the other "experts." Allow the teams (or the big group) to decide on the process. They may choose to go around individually, to work together in one group, or to use some other process.

5. When all the teams are finished, bring the group back together. Go over the questions and answers.

6. Discuss the process—how it felt to work together and to be responsible for helping each other and how the group might have worked more effectively. Also, discuss the answers--what were the reactions to the information, which of the differences sounded better than life in this country, which sounded worse (and why), what are some other differences that were not mentioned, and what do other countries have in common with the United States.

7. Journals—Provide time for children to put their questionnaires into their journals and to make entries about how it felt to collaborate and what was learned about ways of life in other lands.


For younger children, do question/answer examples 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 12. Omit question/answer examples 1, 2, 5, 6, 11, 12.

For older children, try letting the teams work without adult supervision, giving the children more responsibility for problem solving.


‘Expert cards'

Expert cards

Q. What is one way that jobs are different in West Germany than they are here?

A. In West Germany the factories can't close without telling the workers a long time before the factory closes. A child from West Germany might not understand that in America a factory can close and move away quickly. A parent who worked for that factory might not have time to find a new job.

Q. What is one way that jobs are different in El Salvador than they are here?

A. In El Salvador jobs are hard to find. One out of three people has no job. A child from El Salvador might not understand why Americans think it is bad when one out of ten people cannot find work.

Q. What is one way meals are different for families in India than they are here?

A. In India the father gets food first because he has to be able to work. The sons and daughters and the mother get food if any is left. An Indian child might not understand that in America, when there is not enough food, children eat first.

Q. What is one way that eating meals is different on an Israeli kibbutz than it is here?

A. In Israel some families live and work together on a big farm called a kibbutz. On a kibbutz hundreds of people eat together in big dining rooms. A child from a kibbutz would think it was funny that in America families eat by themselves.

Q. What is one way farming is different in the People's Republic of China than it is here?

A. In China fertilizer to help make plants grow is made from animal waste. In the United States, most fertilizer is made from chemicals. A Chinese child might not understand why American farmers spend hundreds of dollars to buy chemical fertilizers.

Q. What is one way farming in Japan is different than it is here?

A. In Japan farmers grow one-third more grain on each acre than American farmers do. A Japanese child might not understand why our big American farms grow less food per acre.

Q. What is one way that having babies is different in Norway than it is here?

A. In Norway fewer babies die before their first birthday than the babies here. This is a sign that they are better nourished. A child from Norway might not understand why more babies in America die of hunger or sickness.

Q. What is one way that farming is different in Somalia than it is here?

A. In Somalia on small farms mothers in the family grow all the food that the family eats. A child from Somalia might not understand why some Americans think growing food is men's work.

Q. What is one way that drinking water is different in Ethiopia than it is here ?

A. In Ethiopia most homes have no running water. In small villages a mother and her children may have to walk five hours a day to get water. A child from Ethiopia might be surprised how easy it is to get water in America and how much water most Americans use.

Q. What is one way farming is different in Nigeria than it is here?

A. In Nigeria it is hard for small farmers to borrow money to buy seeds and fertilizer. Some spend 192 percent per year on interest. A child from Nigeria might be surprised that farmers in America can usually borrow money and pay interest of 20 percent per year.

Q. What is one way that food shopping in Sweden is different than it is here?

A. In Sweden half of the families go shopping in cooperative food stores, which they can help control by voting. A child from Sweden might not understand that most American families shop at supermarkets that they don't control.

Q. What is one way that having babies is different in Brazil than it is here?

A. In Brazil many more babies die before their first birthday than babies here. This is a sign that they are not as well-fed. A child from Brazil might think it unusual that American babies get more to eat and don't get as sick as babies in Brazil.

We can all be experts

1. What is one way that jobs are different in West Germany than they are here?


2. What is one way that jobs are different in El Salvador than they are here?


3. What is one way meals are different for families in India than they are here?


4. What is one way that eating meals is different, on an Israeli kibbutz than it is here?


5. What is one way farming is different in the People's Republic of China than it is here?


6. What is one way farming in Japan is different than it is here?


7. What is one way that having babies is different in Norway than it is here?


8. What is one way that farming is different in Somalia than it is here?


9. What is one way that drinking water is different in Ethiopia than it is here?


10. What is one way farming is different in Nigeria than it is here?


11. What is one way that food shopping in Sweden is different than it is here?


12. What is one way that having babies is different in Brazil than it is here?



Activity six - Global quiz game



The group will play a quiz game using concepts covered in this unit.

Related Subjects

Social Studies, Geography, Communications Skills.


1. To evaluate students' grasp of concepts taught in this unit.

2. To review concepts learned in this unit about looking at things from different perspectives and on appreciating values and customs of other cultures.

3. To improve analytical thinking.


A list of correct questions and answers with point scores for each (see samples below).


1. In advance, prepare question/answer pairs. Be sure to write questions based on what went on in your classroom. You may want to have the children submit possible question/answer pairs based on information learned in this unit. Assign point values to each question. Organize the questions into subject categories. Note: If you are familiar with the TV game show, "Jeopardy," you may want to enhance the creativity and fun of this activity by turning the quiz game into a Jeopardy game. The main factor is to reverse the question/answer process so that the contestant picks an answer to which he or she must ask the correct question.

2. On the day of the quiz game set up a "game board" on the blackboard or on butcher paper. This is a representation of the categories and point scores.

3. Explain to the class that they will be playing a quiz game. Divide the group into teams of five or six children. Explain the rules:

• Each team is trying to win as many points as possible.

• The moderator will decide when each team will have its turn. This will be done by following a specific order so that all teams have equal opportunities. First option—Only one child from each team may guess the answer at a time. Team members will take turns so that each child has an equal number of opportunities. Second option—Team members may quietly discuss each question when it is their team's turn. A team spokesperson will state the answer once all members have agreed.

• If a team fails to provide an answer after one try, the next team will have a chance until either the correct answer comes up or all the teams give up (decide they do not know the correct answer).

• When a correct answer has been given, points are awarded to the team that stated it. Then the next team has a chance to choose a question square. The team that chooses has the first chance at guessing the answer.

• In choosing a question square, for each category the chooser must choose the lowest point level on the board at the Time. The chooser may choose any category that has points left on it. You have the option of deleting this last rule, if you simplify the game by making all questions worth equal points.

4. Play the game. Discuss.

5. Journals--Provide time for making journal entries on the Global Quiz Game.

6. Evaluation—Ask the group to think about the entire first unit and to evaluate what they liked and disliked about the activities. You may choose to discuss these as a group or you may want to have the children write their ideas down.

Sample questions



First Category—Food Impressions

10 pts.

1. Q: What is another word for farming? A: Agriculture.

20 pts.

2. Q: Name two grains. A: Rice, corn, wheat, barley, oats, millet

30 pts.

3. Q: Name a food we eat that comes from another land. A: Bananas, pineapple, cocoa, coffee, coconut, sugar

Second Category—Inequalities

10 pts.

1. Q: Out of 100 people in the world only one is able to have this. A: A college education.

20 pts.

2. Q: What country uses more energy than any other in the world? A: United States of America.

30 pts.

3. Q: Out of 100 people in the world approximately how many are able to read? A: 30 (you might accept 20 to 40 ).

Third Category--Looking at Things from Two Sides

10 pts.

1. Q: What government program helps poor people buy food? A: Food stamps.

20 pts.

2. Q: Why does/did President Reagan cut back the food stamp program? A: To spend less government money.

30 pts.

3. Q: Why do poor families want the food stamp program continued? A: So they can afford to buy enough food to eat.

Fourth Category--Ways of Life in Other Lands

10 pts.

1. Q: Name a country where half the families belong to cooperative food stores. A: Sweden.

20 pts.

2. Q: Why do mothers and children in dry African countries have to walk up to five hours a day? A: To get water.

30 pts.

3. Q: Name an Asian country where farmers grow more grain per acre than in the United States. A: Japan.

Fifth Category--Definitions

10 pts.

1. Q: What is cooperation? A: Working together.

20 pts.

2. Q: Name a way of doing things that is the opposite of cooperating. A: Competing.

30 pts.

3. Q: What is a sign of whether babies are fed well enough? A: The number of babies dying before their first birthday (infant mortality rate).


Unit II - Where does our food come from?


This unit begins the core subject area of this curriculum. Students will start the step-by-step process of studying the path of the food we eat—where it comes from, who grows it, and what forces affect it. Unit II contains a variety of activities aimed at acquainting children with farms and farmers. This unit will be most effective if used in conjunction with or following a science unit on how plants grow and/or a school gardening project.

The emphasis for this unit should be placed differently for rural than for urban students. Teachers working with children from farm communities may wish to shorten this unit. Depending on your community, you may wish to omit part or all of the introduction-to-farmers material found in Activity Two, "What Does a Farmer Really Look Like?," and Activity Three, "Life of a Farmworker." You may choose to use a more in-depth approach than is described for Activity Four, "Where Have All the Farmers Gone?," and Activity Five, "Let Me Tell You a Story about a Farmer." Make use of your students' knowledge of local farm conditions.

Where does our food come from?




1. Children will gain an appreciation for the people who grow the food we eat.

2. Children will learn about the variety of farms that exist and discover some of the differences and similarities among these farms.

3. Students will understand the historical trend in the U.S. toward fewer farmers and larger farm units.

4. Children will improve their abilities to creatively portray subjects in a variety of media.

Activity One

"Breakfast Can Be a Global Activity" is a useful and enjoyable exercise which will spark interest in the origins of the food we eat. Students will plan a group breakfast and use research and geography skills while learning where the meal was grown.

Activity Two

"What Does a Farmer Really Look Like?" is a key activity in which children meet and talk with farmers. For nonfarm residents, this should provide essential insights into American agriculture.

Activity Three

"Life of a Farmworker," an important lesson, introduces the work of farmworkers, the people who cultivate and harvest much of this nation's fruits and vegetables. Students will read and discuss a descriptive narrative about a woman who has worked in the fields for over 50 years.

Activity Four

"Where Have All the Farmers Gone?" is a key lesson in this unit. Students will learn the history of American farming and practice role-playing and communication techniques in this simulation game.

Activity Five

"Let Me Tell You a Story About a Farmer" is a useful activity that will give students a chance to put together the concepts learned in this unit by writing original stories. It will help the teacher evaluate what has been learned in Unit II.


1. Farm Pantomimes. Have the children mime a variety of farm tasks. Examples: plowing a field with a tractor, picking apples on a cool autumn morning, milking cows, going to the bank to try to borrow money, feeding chickens and collecting eggs, hand-picking tomatoes on a hot summer day, bookkeeping in a study with piles of receipts to sort through, spraying a field with pesticides from an airplane, hand-planting seeds, and repairing a tractor inside a barn or garage on a cold rainy day.


Activity one - Breakfast can be a global activity



The group will plan and eat a breakfast which includes a variety of foods and will learn what parts of the world the foods came from.

Related Subjects

Home Economics, Geography, Art, Nutrition.


1. To increase awareness of the many places around the world our food comes from.

2. To improve geographic knowledge of where specific countries are.

3. To tie together the ideas from Unit I to those that will be studied in Unit II.

4. To utilize planning techniques.

5. To develop knowledge of sex stereotypes relating to food and agriculture.


Eating utensils, a variety of breakfast foods, world map, optional—oven or hot plate to keep foods warm, materials for a collage such as paper, pencils, magazines to cut up, construction paper, scissors, glue, drawing implements.


1. In advance, discuss the idea of a group breakfast. Have each child describe his or her favorite breakfast food. Make a list of these. Plan a breakfast menu together which includes a variety of common breakfast foods. Choose whether the meal will take the place of the children's breakfasts or whether they will only sample the foods. Organize a method for getting the foods to the classroom. Individual children can be responsible for different sections of the meal, or the group leader can bring in all the foods.

This is a good opportunity to involve parents in the classroom. You will need to alert them to what the breakfast is all about. You may want to invite fathers and mothers to prepare special breakfast foods and/or to come with their children to the group breakfast.

2. Ask each child to try to find out where his or her favorite breakfast food originates. See the list of suggested sources of information at the end of this activity.

3. On the day of the group breakfast have each person sample each food. Invite volunteers to point out the place of origin of the foods on the world map. M eke a chart on the board with columns for each food and its origin. Have each child fill in the information about her or his favorite food.

4. Discuss paths the food traveled before it reached the local store, the different types of people who grew the food, the types of countries the food came from, how the food was transported...

Examples of food origins:

pineapples--Hawaii; Mandarin oranges--Japan; oranges, grapefruits--California, Texas, Florida; bananas--Philippines, Honduras, Ecuador; sugar--Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, El Salvador; grain in cereal, toast, and pancakes—midwestern states; raisins—California; bacon, sausage—Iowa, other cornbelt states; Swiss cheese—Switzerland; coffee—Brazil, Nicaragua; Hershey chocolate (cocoa--Ghana; milk—Pennsylvania; corn syrup—Iowa; paper wrapper—Canadian lumber mill).

You will find that much of the food we eat has traveled a considerable distance from its place of origin. Some foods, such as bananas, can only be produced in special climates. Other foods, such as wheat, eggs, potatoes, and pork, can be produced in most places in the United States. You may want to consider the positive and negative aspects of a food system that requires the massive use of transportation. Discuss the effects on energy use, freshness of produce, variety of produce, livelihood of local farmers, and community preparedness for emergency conditions.

This is a good place to discuss male-female stereotypes surrounding food. Discuss who usually grows food, prepares food, and serves food in different situations. Give examples of both sexes contributing to all steps of the food process. Discuss what stereotypes are and why they occur.

5. Optional—You may want to expand on the idea of our connection to other places. Ask the children to make a list of other things they have at home that come from other countries, such as stereos from Japan, cars from West Germany, or clothing from India. Ask each student to make a collage of things in his or her life that come from other parts of the world, using packages, magazine pictures, or drawings.

6. Optional—This may be a good time to sing "The Bread Song" which can be found in Unit III Activity Six, "What Path Did my Food Take?"

7. Journals-Have the children glue their collages into their journals. Give them a chance to write down what they have learned about how they are connected to other parts of the world.

Note: To get information on the origins of food sold in your area you can contact the State Department of Agriculture, the local Cooperative Extension office, local farmers, or local farm organizations. By looking in the phonebook yellow pages under Food Brokers (wholesalers) and Food Products (manufacturers), you can find further resources on the subject. To find out about a canned product, submit the number on the can to the store where it was purchased. Employees can trace the origin of the can.


For older students, have them research farming in some of the countries which grow our food. Save the reports to compare with what will be learned about U.S. farming in future activities in this unit.

For younger students, prepare individual world maps. Have the children draw pictures of foods that come from other countries in the appropriate areas of the world.


Activity two - What does a farmer really look like?

* * * key


The group will visit several types of farms, if possible, ranging from a small organic farm to a large, highly mechanized, chemical-intensive farm. Or farmers will come to the classroom as guest speakers.

Related Subjects

Science, Music, History, Social Studies.


1. To improve observing and listening skills.

2. To experience people who grow food and places where food is grown.

3. To understand the variety of types of farms.

4. To gain exposure to concepts related to agriculture.

5. To practice music skills.


Some form of transportation for the group to farms in the area, if possible; pictures and/or stories of farmers around the world, pencils, paper, and clipboards or other hard writing surf aces.


1. In advance, find out about farmers in your area. You can contact the State Department of Agriculture, your local county Cooperative Extension office, state agricultural schools, produce managers of local food stores, high school Future Farmer of America organizations, local farm organizations such as the Farm Bureau, or local food wholesalers for information. Also, you might try to contact these national organizations for information about farmers in your area: National Farmers Organization (475 L'Enfant Plaza S.W., Washington, DC 20024), National Farmers Union (1012 - 14th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20005), American Agricultural Movement (100 Maryland Avenue N.E., Washington, DC 20002).

Find out if anyone in the group has farm contacts. If your class is in a city, you should also check with municipal agencies to discover if there are urban farms in your area. Many cities have areas of unused land that are being turned into producing farmland.

Contact local farmers to learn who would be willing to host a tour of their farms or come to the classroom to speak. Plan a trip to two to four farms. Try to include a variety of sizes, crops, and methods. If possible, visit one small organic farm and one large-scale farm where the management uses more highly mechanized, chemical-intensive methods. Set a date. Organize transportation. If a field trip cannot be arranged, invite two to four farmers to come to the classroom. Prepare a set of standardized questions. Ask each farmer to be prepared to discuss these questions, as well as to be ready to contribute other relevant information.

Note: Farmers can be extremely busy people. Most farmers will have more time for tours and speaking visits during the winter months.

Suggested Farm Questions

(1) What size is your farm?

(2) What crops do you grow?

(3) What livestock do you raise?

(4) How would you describe your method of farming?

(5) What type of fertilizers do you use?

(6) What type of pest management system do you use?

(7) What methods of soil conservation do you use?

(8) Where do you go to get information on farming?

(9) Who do you sell to?

(10) How much choice do you have over whom to sell to or what price to sell for?

(11) How much would it cost today to start a farm like yours?

(12) How could the government improve its farm policy?

(13) How was farming on your land done differently fifty years ago?

2. Before the field trip or guest speaker visit, discuss with the class the types of information they are going to be receiving. Remember that the purpose of this activity is to give children exposure to farming concepts. They will not be expected to achieve a thorough knowledge of farm techniques and problems. Ask each child or team of two to four children to be responsible for note-taking on one of the farm question topics.

3. Optional—If neither a field trip nor a guest speaker can be arranged, show a film on farming.

4. Visit the farms or have the guest speakers come.

5. As a follow-up activity, provide some information about farmers in other countries, since much of our food does come from other countries. Have pictures and/or stories available about farmers around the world for the children to look at and discuss.

Suggested sources for pictures and stories: U.S. Committee for UNICEF (331 E. 28th Street, New York, NY 10016), local libraries.

6. Teach the group to sing "The Garden Song," (found at the end of this activity). You may want to teach this before the visits with the farmers and have the group sing for the farmers.

7. Journals-Have the children make entries in their journals about what they have learned about farmers.

Action Ideas

Find out where you can buy farm products from local farmers in your area. Tell your family and friends how they can support local farmers through direct farmers markets, roadside stands, food co-ops, and local food stores that sell local farm products.


For older students, have the group research and compare different types and scales of farming. Make a chart using three scales of farming: (1) a home vegetable garden, (2) a small family farm, and (3) a large-scale farming operation. Consider differences in inputs needed to get started such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, tools, machinery, buildings, fences, and livestock. Look at costs, sources of funding, ease of getting started, and markets.

Garden song

Garden song - continued


Activity three - Life of a farmworker

** important


Children will read and discuss the narrative of a longtime farmworker.

Related Subjects

Reading, Vocabulary, Music.


1. To develop an appreciation for the role of farmworkers in cultivating and harvesting much of our food supply.

2. To improve reading comprehension.

3. To build vocabulary.

4. To practice music skills.



Copies for everyone of the narrative of Jessie de la Cruz. This piece is excerpted from an interview in American Dreams: Lost and Found by Studs Terkel (New York: Pantheon Books, 1980), used by permission.

Life of a Farmworker



1. Explain that the group will be reading a narrative on the life of a woman farmworker. Discuss what the children know about farmworkers.

2. Distribute copies of the narrative. Ask everyone to read it—either silently or taking turns to read aloud.

3. Discuss the story, what Jessie de la Cruz's life has been like, whether other farmworkers would have similar stories, and how the story changed students' perceptions of farmworkers.

4. Have the group sing the song "Pastures of Plenty," found at the end of this activity.

5. Journals—Allow time for the children to make journal entries of their thoughts and feelings about farmworkers.


For younger students, read the story aloud to the group.


The story of Jessie de la Cruz

A one-family dwelling in Fresno. A small, well-kept garden is out front.

"When I was a child growing up as a migrant worker, we would move from place to place. In between, I'd see homes with beautiful gardens, flowers. I always looked at those flowers and said: 'If I could only have my own house and have a garden.' We couldn't as migrant workers. Now, as you walk onto my porch, everything you see is green. (Laughs.) I have a garden now."

She has six grown children; the youngest is twenty-one. She is active in National Land for People.

"The American Dream for me is owning a piece of land. Something you can call home, where you can stay in one place all the time, raise a decent family, build a community. Where you have a job all the time and nobody's gonna fire you. My mother's dream was having a house, but she got sick and died in 1930."

She is fifty-nine.

How can I write down how I felt when I was a little child and my grandmother used to cry with us 'cause she didn't have enough food to give us? Because my brother was going barefooted and he was cryin' because he wasn't used to going without shoes? How can I describe that? I can't describe when my little girl died because I didn't have money for a doctor. And never had any teaching on caring for sick babies. Living out in labor camps. How can I describe that? How can I put into writing when I'm testifying about things that are very deep inside? About seeing all these many people that have their little children killed in the fields through accidents? It's things that are a feeling you can't put into words.

I think the longest time I went to school was two months in one place. I attended, I think, about forty-five schools. When my parents or my brothers didn't find any work, we wouldn't attend school because we weren't sure of staying there. So I missed a lot of school.

My children were picking crops, but we saw to it that they went to school. Maybe one or two of the oldest would stay away from school during cotton-picking time around December, so we could earn a little more money to buy food or buy them a pair of shoes or a coat that they needed. But we always wanted them to get an education.

I musta been almost eight when I started following the crops. Every winter, up north, I was on the end of the row of prunes, taking care of my younger brother and sister. They would help me fill up the cans and put 'em in a box while the rest of the family was picking the whole row.

In labor camps, the houses were just clapboard. There were just nails with two-by-fours around it. The houses had two little windows and a front door. One room, about twelve by fifteen, was a living room, dining room, everything. That was home to us.

Eight or nine of us. We had blankets that we rolled up during the day to give us a little place to walk around doing the housework. There was only one bed, which was my grandmother's. A cot. The rest of us slept on the floor. Before that, we used to live in tents, patched tents. Before we had a tent, we used to live under a tree. That was very hard. This is one thing I hope nobody has to live through. During the winter, the water was just seeping under the ground. Your clothes were never dry.

We followed the crops till around 1966. We went up north around the Sacramento area to pick prunes. We had a big truck, and we were able to take our refrigerator and my washing machine and beds and kitchen pots and pans and our clothing. It wasn't a hardship any more. We wanted our children to pick in the shade, under a tree, instead of picking out in the vines, where it's very hot. When I picked grapes, I could hardly stand it. I felt sorry for twelve, thirteen-year-old kids. My husband said: "Let's go up north and pick prunes."

A friend of ours said: "I'll rent you six acres." We started farming those six acres. We were out there from morning till late, on our hands and knees, planting tomatoes. There was the risk of a cold wave coming and killing our plants. So we had to use hot caps.

One day we had finished planting and said: "Tomorrow we'll put the hot caps on." They're cap-shaped papers with wire. Around two or three o'clock I heard on the radio—I always carry a little portable—I heard the weather was gonna be twenty-three degrees. It was gonna kill our plants. I was scared. I ran back to the group and said: "Hey, it's gonna freeze tonight, we're gonna lose our plants." Right away we started pulling the hot caps on.

We put dirt around it to hold it down. We had them by the thousands. It was very windy and very cold. We started out there on our hands and knees. I was crying. It was beautiful. I'm not calling it beautiful, my crying. But to have little children five, six years old helping us, because they knew how important it was to save those plants. The wind was very strong, it was just ripping those paper caps off of our hands, and you could see them rolling. (Laughs.) We ran out of caps. Okay, each of us got a hoe and started pulling dirt over our plants, very gently. We covered all of them. We came home, it was dark, cold, and wet.

The next morning we were all anxious to find out what had happened during the night. Oh, it was great to go out there and remove the dirt from those plants and watch 'em shoot straight up like anything. We saved every one of 'em. It took hard work to do it.

If it had been one of the big growers, what would have happened? The farmer would just go out there and look and see all the dead plants, and he'd say: "Oh, what the heck." He'd go home and forget about everything. He would get on his pickup, push a button, lift up a telephone, and call the nursery to bring over this certain amount of thousands of plants and call the workers to plant them over again. That's his way of farming.

When we own land and we're working it for ourselves, we're gonna save everything that we can. We're not about to waste anything or lose anything. We keep on working every day. There's no holidays. We're picking until, oh, November. That is work and income. That first year, we sorted our tomatoes and we took 'em to the shipper and we ended up making sixty-four thousand dollars. Six acres between six families.

From American Dreams: Lost and Found, by Studs Terkel. Copyright ©1980 by Studs Terkel. Reprinted by permission of Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Pastures of plenty


Activity four - Where have all the farmers gone?



Students will participate in a simulation of historical changes in the American farm structure.

Related Subjects

Drama, History, Social Studies, Music.


1. To increase knowledge of historical trends in American agriculture.

2. To understand the decrease in number of farmers and the increase in size of farm units in the U.S.

3. To improve communication skills by practicing role-playing.

4. Optional—To use music skills.


Masking tape, marking pen, measuring tape, 4" x 6" cards with information about families in a rural area for two time periods (enough for two for each team), reference materials on agriculture in your area (optional), paper, and pencils.


1. Optional—In advance, do some research on an agricultural county in your state. Look for information about farming for two different time periods, such as 1930 and 1980. Research the number of farms, farm sizes, types of crops, types of livestock, farming methods, and any other related information that seems relevant. One suggested source is the Census of Agriculture: State and County Data (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census), which can be found in most libraries. You might want to find books and articles on farming in your area so that children can research local farming changes themselves.

Sample information, which can be used in the simulations, appears at the end of this activity. The data are based on national averages found in U.S. Census agricultural statistics for the years 1930-1980.

2. Make cards—one for each team for each time period. Each card will describe one family's working, living, and eating information. In addition, for each farm family there should be a description of types of crops, types of livestock, and size of farm. For the second time period simulation, each team will represent one family of descendants of the family it represented in the first simulation. The number of teams needed depends on the researched information and the size of the class. You may choose to have the children help prepare the information cards.

3. On the day of the simulation, use masking tape to mark off proportional farm sizes on the the floor of the room where the simulation is to be done. Provide spaces for town and city inhabitants, too. The sample diagram is designed for a 30' x 30' classroom but could easily be adapted to rooms of other sizes.

4. Explain to the children that they will be acting out the changes in American farms that have happened over the last 50 years. Ask for the children's ideas on the types of changes that have taken place.

Divide the group into the appropriate number of teams of one to three children. If you use the sample information provided, divide the group into twelve teams. Issue one family information card to each team. Have each team stand or sit in the appropriately marked-off area.

5. Ask the children to read the information cards and to be prepared to pretend to be a part of the described family. They should feel free to add details such as the names of the farms or first names, ages, and personalities of family members.

6. Go around the room and have each family team tell the group about itself.

7. When the first part of the simulation is finished, adjust the masking tape floor markers to represent the new farm sizes. Explain that each team will now represent descendants of the first family described. Issue the second information card to each family team. Have the participants sit or stand in the appropriate spaces. Ask them to pretend to be a part of the described family. Again, they should feel free to add details.

8. Go around the room and have each team tell the class about its family and how life has changed since the first round.

9. When the simulation is finished, discuss the role-playing process, the farmers and townspeople portrayed, the changes in American farming over the last 50 years, the reasons for these changes, and how these changes have affected who has control over decisions about farming in this country.

10. Optional Have the group sing "The Farmer Is the One."

11. Journals—Allow time for journal entries on the people portrayed, how it felt to play the roles, and changes in American farming.

Sample data for family information cards

(This describes life in Agri County, U.S.A., a rural farming area containing the small town of Smallton. Metro City is fifty miles away from Agri County.)

(1) 1930:

Mr. and Mrs. Jones live with four children on a 25-acre farm. Their crops include apple trees, pear trees, raspberry bushes, and vegetables for home eating. (1930)

Mr. and Mrs. Sujimoto live with three children and two grandparents on a 25-acre farm. Crops include feed corn and vegetables for home eating. Livestock includes chickens for sale as roasters and fryers. (1930)

Mr. and Mrs. Kinsky live with two children and three grandparents on a 50-acre farm. Their crops include clover and timothy for hay or silage, oats, and vegetables for home eating. Their livestock includes dairy cattle. (1930)

Mr. and Mrs. Bradley live with one child and one grandparent on a 50-acre farm. Their crops include tomatoes for fresh market sale and vegetables for home eating. Their livestock includes chickens for egg-laying and one dairy cow for home milk drinking. (1930)

Mr. and Mrs. Milligan live with four children on a 100-acre farm. Their crops include potatoes, beets, and carrots for sale and vegetables for home eating. (1930)

Mr. and Mrs. Saentch live with one child on a 100-acre farm. Their crops include pastureland, feed corn, oats, alfalfa for hay, and vegetables for home eating. Their livestock includes dairy cattle. (1930)

Mr. and Mrs. Carlos live with four children and three grandparents on a 100-acre farm. Their crops include peach trees, plum trees, peas and green beans for fresh market sale, and vegetables for home eating. Their livestock includes one dairy cow for home milk drinking. (1930)

Mr. and Mrs. Baum live with two children on a 200-acre farm. Their crops include pastureland, oats, feed corn, and vegetables for home eating. Their livestock includes beef cattle, sheep, and two ponies for the children to ride and care for. (1930)

Mr. and Mrs. Larkin live with five children and one grandparent on a 500-acre farm. Their crops include pastureland, alfalfa for hay, wheat, feed corn, and vegetables for home eating. Their livestock includes beef cattle. (1930)

Dr. and Mrs. Schwartz live with two children and two grandparents in a house in Smallton. He is a doctor. She is a housewife. They have a small vegetable garden in their back yard. (1930)

Mr. and Mrs. Figaretto live with four children in a house in Smallton. The family runs a small grocery store. (1930)

Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins live with three children and one grandparent in a house in Smallton. He is a mechanic and manages his own gasoline service station. She is a housewife. They have a small vegetable garden in their back yard. (1930)

Sample data for family information cards - continued

(2) 1980

Mr. and Ms. Jones. He is a son of the 1930 Jones family. They live with one child on a 25-acre farm. Their crops include apple trees and pear trees and vegetables for home eating. She is a full-time high school teacher in Smallton. (1980)

Mr. Sujimoto is a son of the 1930 Sujimoto family. He moved to Metro City because he wanted the excitement of city life. He works in the electronics industry. He lives alone in an apartment and buys food in a supermarket. (1980)

Mr. and Ms. Kinsky. He is a son of the 1930 Kinsky family. They moved to a house in Smallton because they could not make enough money on the farm to support their family. They live with two children. They both work in the new food processing plant in town. They have a small vegetable garden in the back yard but buy most of their food at the new supermarket. (1980)

Ms. Bradley is a daughter of the 1930 Bradley family. She moved to an apartment in Metro City. The farm had to be sold to pay off farm debts. She lives alone. She works in a clothing store and buys her food at a neighborhood grocery store. (1980)

Mr. and Ms. Mallory. She is the daughter of the 1930 Mill;igan family. They live with three children in a small house near Metro City. He is an engineer; she is a housewife. The farm was sold because it was losing money. Prices for fertilizer and seeds increased greatly, but prices for the vegetables they grew did not. They have a small vegetable garden in their yard and buy the rest of their food at a supermarket. (1980)

Mr. and Ms. Saentch. He is the son of the 1930 Saentch family. They live with one child and one grandparent on a 125-acre farm that consists of the original family farm and the old Sujimoto farm, which they bought. They both work on the farm. The crops include elf elf a for hay and a vegetable garden for home eating. The livestock include dairy cattle. (1980)

Mr. and Ms. Carlos. He is a son of the 1930 Carlos family. They live with two children in Metro City in a house. He is an actor in the theater and she is a dancer. They sold the farm because prices for peaches and plums went down for a few years while prices for insecticides and the new tractor they needed went up. (1980) Ms. Baum and Mr. Milne. She is the daughter of the 1930 Baum family. She married Mr. Milne and kept her own name. They live in an apartment in downtown Metro City. The Baums sold the farm to pay off farm debts. She is a lawyer. He is a newspaper reporter. They shop for food at a food co-opt (1980)

Mr. and Ms. Larkin. He is a son of the 1930 Larkin family. They live with two children and two grandparents on a 1500-acre farm. The Larkins bought the old Kinsky, Bradley, Milligan, Carlos, and Baum farms. They decided that the only way to make enough money from farming for the family to live comfortably on was to have a larger farm, which would bring in more total profit. Their crops consist of wheat, corn, oats, and a vegetable garden for home eating. They have one dairy cow for home milk drinking. (1980)

Dr. Schwartz is the daughter of the 1930 Schwartz family. She is a medical doctor. She lives alone in a small house in Smallton. She shops for food at the new supermarket. (1980)

Mr. and Ms. Figaretto. He is a son of the 1930 Figaretto family. They live in the same house in Smallton with three children. They both run the small grocery store. The new supermarket is giving them some trouble because of its competition, but many people still prefer to shop in a smaller place from a family they know. (1980)

Mr. and Ms. Jenkins. He is a son of the 1930 Jenkins family. They live with two children in a house in Smallton. He and one of his brothers now run the service station as partners. She is a housewife. They shop at both the Figaretto small grocery store and the new supermarket. (1980)

The farmer is the one


Activity five - Let me tell you a story about a farmer

* useful


The children will create stories about people who work on farms with the help of farm pictures.

Related Subjects

Creative Writing, Language Arts, History, Science.


1. To serve as an evaluation of knowledge gained from this unit.

2. To review the concepts about farmers and farming learned in this unit.

3. To improve story-telling and creative-writing skills.


Paper, pencils or pens, folders full of magazine pictures of rural and farming scenes, optional—prints of farm paintings from local libraries, books with pictures of farming.

About a farmer



1. In advance, clip and save magazine pictures of farming and rural life. You may want to ask the children to bring in some of these. Possible sources: Mother Earth News, Organic Farm Worksheet, Redwood Rancher, California Farmer, Farm Journal, and Organic Gardening.

Optional—Obtain prints of farm scenes and books with pictures of farming. Suggested book: The American Farm: A Photographic History (Conrat and Conrat, Houghton Miflin, 1977).

2. Explain that the class will be writing stories about farmers. Pass around the folders of pictures. Ask each child to select one picture. Have each child write a creative story about the picture using information learned in other activities in this unit. Encourage them to add facts and details learned from meeting farmers.

3. Ask the children to write a second chapter to their stories describing farm life fifty years ago.

4. When everyone is finished writing, bring the group back together. Have volunteers read their stories to the group. Discuss.

5. Journals—Have the children put their stories into their journals.

6. Evaluation--Ask each child to write a short evaluation of the activities in this unit. These should also be placed in the journals.


For younger students—Have the group create a group story. Show a picture to the group or let a student choose a picture. Have the group plan the type of story it will create—comic, tragic, truthful, fantasy, past, future, or present. Make sure that the story-telling rules are agreed upon.

One procedure is to have a child begin the story. After finishing a short section, the story-teller suddenly claps her or his hands and points to someone else, who continues the story. This proceeds until the last child is pointed to, who then finishes the story.


Unit III - How do we get our food?


This unit continues the step-by-step study of the food system begun in Unit II, "Where Does Our Food Come From?" Unit III is a very important unit that will clarify students' understanding of the food system. They will learn how and by whom food is processed, packaged, transported, advertised, and sold. Because our food system is so vast and well-integrated, activities in this section will be of high relevance to groups in every section of the country.

How do we get our food



1. Children will understand the steps their food goes through between farm and table.

2. Students will learn some of the methods of consumer psychology used by processors, packagers, retailers, and advertisers.

3. Children will improve their abilities to critically analyze and compare different processes.

Activity One

"Visit to a Supermarket" is a key activity that involves researching a variety of topics at the supermarket. This exercise lays the groundwork for many of the following activities while teaching a variety of consumer, mathematics, and observation skills.

Activity Two

"Processed Foods—What's the Difference?," a useful lesson, asks the students to prepare and then compare and contrast three similar meals made from ingredients with different levels of processing. This enjoyable activity utilizes mathematics, home economics, and comparative analysis.

Activity Three

"What's in the Package?" is a short important activity which analyzes the packaging stage of the food system. Students will learn about ecology as well as discovering some consumer psychology methods.

Activity Four

"Petroleum Palace Restaurant" is an important activity that presents the interrelationship of food and energy in a very enjoyable way, using "menus" showing the energy "costs" of a meal.

Activity Five

"Food Ads—What's in Them for Me?" is a key activity that will enable students to analyze the role of food advertising. The children will observe and make a record of food ads in a variety of media. They will have a chance to employ drama techniques and creative writing skills by making their own truthful and informative ads.

Activity Six

"What Path Did My Food Take?" serves as an evaluation of what was learned during this unit. In this useful exercise, children create graphic and written presentations on the steps in the food system.


1. What's in a Name? For older students, ask each child to research the parent corporation of the company manufacturing his or her favorite food. Visit the reference section of a local library and ask to use the Standard Directory of Advertisers (Skokie, Ill.: National Register Publishing Co). This identifies parent companies for all advertised items.

For example, one corporation, Beatrice Foods, owns more than one hundred brands including Dannon Yogurt, La Choy Chinese foods, Sunbeam bread, Meadow Gold milk, Rosarita Mexican foods, Eckrich sausages, Louis Sherry ice cream, Holloway Milk Duds, and Butter Krust bread.

Another useful reference is Everybody's Business: The Irreverent Guide to Corporate America by Moskowitz, Katz, and Levering (New York: Harper & Row).

2. Food Monopoly. Discuss the concept of monopoly. Ask the students to picture a "Monopoly" game. At the start of the game there are many players, all with money, and "rents" for landing on spaces are very low. At the end of the game there is only one player with money—a great deal of it. Everyone else has gone "bankrupt." "Rents" for landing on spaces are very high.

Pretend that the object of the "Monopoly" game is to build supermarkets or to produce brand-name food products instead of houses and hotels. At the end of the game there would be one supermarket owner or food manufacturer left, charging very high food prices. The other supermarket owners would be bankrupt. Discuss how this applies to the increasing size and decreasing number of food companies today.


Activity one - Visit to a supermarket

*** key


Students will visit a local supermarket. They will observe and make records on a variety of topics.

Related Subjects

Mathematics, Nutrition, Home Economics.


1. To improve observing and note-taking skills.

2. To increase awareness about supermarkets, the place most Americans purchase their food.

3. To improve consumer skills and knowledge.

4. To use mathematics skills.


Transportation, paper, pencils, and clipboards, or other hard surfaces for writing on in a store.


1. In advance, organize a field trip to a local supermarket. Arrange for permission to visit the store from the store manager. If a group field trip cannot be arranged, plan to have the children visit a supermarket as a homework assignment. This is a good opportunity to involve parents.

2. Explain to the children that they will be visiting a supermarket to prepare for future activities. Explain that they will be expected to observe what a supermarket sells and how it displays the items it has for sale. They will research how certain foods, both processed and unprocessed, are available, and they will compare the prices of food items in different stages of processing. They will also look for how many companies produce different food items.

You may want to divide the class into teams of three to six children so that each team is responsible for finding one part of the information needed. For example, Team 1 could find the package weight and price of several types of potatoes—fresh, frozen, and canned. Team 2 could find the package weight and price of several types of prepared potatoes—potato chips, scalloped potatoes, and french-fried potatoes. Team 3 could find the package weight and price of several types of tomatoes—fresh, sauce, and ketchup. Team 4 could research which items have the most display space and which have the least. Examples to compare: pet food, breakfast cereal, grains, cheeses, and dried beans. Team 5 could research the total number of companies that produce particular items--breakfast cereal, soup, or baby food. A sample worksheet appears at the end of this activity.

3. Have the students visit the store and fill out their worksheets.

4. Afterwards, discuss what was seen. Have the teams share their records with the group. Help the group work through the mathematics to determine prices per pound as needed.

5. As a group, compare and discuss the results. Consider why the cost of similar food items varies and where the extra money goes. Discuss the items that were most obviously displayed, how nutritious they were, and their price per pound. Discuss the number of companies producing the different types of food and how much competition exists.

6. Journals—Allow time for the children to put their supermarket record sheets in their journals and to make entries on what they learned about supermarkets.


For younger students, limit the number of researched items. Have the children research three types of potatoes and three types of tomato products.

For older students, ask for additional information. Ask the children to make their own choice of a food and find out its price per pound in various stages of processing. Ask them to write an essay on why they think certain foods are displayed more obviously than others.



Visit to a supermarket

Find the products listed below in a supermarket. Give the price and weight of each. If you find more than one price, use the lowest price. (16 oz. = 1 lb.)

Visit to a supermarket

4. List some of the items that are displayed most obviously (for example, by the checkout stand or at the ends of the aisles).

1. ———————————

4. ———————————

2. ———————————

5. ———————————

3. ———————————

6. ———————————

For three of these items, give the price and weight.

Visit to a supermarket - continued 1

5. List a few of the types of items that take up the most display space (suggestions: pet food, breakfast cereal).

1. ———————————

3. ———————————

2. ———————————

4. ———————————

List a few of the types of items that take up the least display space (suggestions: grains, dried beans).

1. ———————————

3. ———————————

2. ———————————

4. ———————————

6. Find the following items in the store. Count the number of different companies that manufacture each item.

Visit to a supermarket - continued 2


Can you find any item in the store with five or more manufacturing companies?

Which item? ——————————— How many companies? ———————————



Activity two - Processed foods-What's the difference?

* useful


Students will prepare and taste one food purchased at different levels of processing.

Related Subjects

Nutrition, Mathematics, Home Economics.


1. To practice comparative analysis

2. To learn the differences in the cost, taste, nutritive values, and preparation of foods purchased at different levels of processing.

3. To utilize home economics skills in preparing food.

4. To practice mathematics.


Kitchen utensils (the list depends on the food to be prepared) and food at different levels of processing to be prepared.

What's the difference



1. In advance, discuss the purpose of comparing foods made from products with different levels of processing. Have the group choose a type of food to prepare that can be bought in three or more levels of processing. Example: frozen precooked macaroni and cheese; packaged macaroni and cheese (the kind you mix yourself); and macaroni, cheese, milk, and spices to cook from scratch. Other examples: enchiladas, spaghetti and sauce, and mashed potatoes.

2. Have ingredients, utensils, and recipes ready. Divide the group into teams. Each team will prepare one of the three levels of convenience food. Depending on the size of the group, the number of adult helpers, and the amount of kitchen space, you may have to stagger cooking times and plan quiet activities for the children while their team is waiting to cook.

3. Have everybody sample the results of the three different levels of processing after they have been prepared. Compare taste, nutrition, cost, and time spent to prepare. Discuss the advantages of processed foods (savings in time and labor) and their disadvantages (food additives, loss of nutritional value, higher cost). Review the advantages of buying unprocessed foods and cooking at home (more nutritional value, lower cost, control of taste) and the disadvantages (time of preparation).

Note: For more information on nutrition you can read Nutrition Scoreboard by Michael Jacobson (New York: Avon Books, 1975).

4. Journals—Provide time for the children to make journal entries about their experiences preparing and eating foods of different levels of processing.

Action Ideas

Find out where in your community you can purchase whole unprocessed foods. Tell your family and friends how to save money by purchasing and preparing unprocessed foods when possible.


Activity three - Whats in the package ?

** important



Children will bring in food packages from home and make a chart of their composition and uses

Related Subjects

Nutrition, Science, Reading, Ecology, Home Economics.


1. To appreciate the variety in food packaging types, purposes, and uses.

2. To improve comparative thinking skills.

3. To practice organizing ideas into a chart.

4. To learn about tile ecological aspects of the renewability and recyclability of food packages.



Packages which the students bring in from home, butcher paper, marking pen, paper, and writing materials.


1. Explain to the group that you will be studying the types, purposes, and uses of food packages. Ask each child to bring in at least one food package from home. Try to get a wide variety with as many imaginative styles as possible—cans, jars, styrofoam, plastic, cardboard, and multipackages. Empty packages are preferable, but unopened ones are acceptable as long as they do not require refrigeration.

2. Have each child present her or his package from home to the group. Make a chart on the butcher paper, and/or ask each child to make an individual chart. A sample worksheet is provided. Include the name of product, contents, manufacturer, material used, whether the material is renewable or nonrenewable, if nonrenewable whether it is recyclable or not, number of layers of packaging materials, and other comments.

3. Discuss the energy use, deceptiveness or truthfulness in size, shape, or artwork, whether the number of layers of minipackets is justifiable for the particular food, and if there are alternatives that are more environmentally sound.

4. Optional—Ask each child to read aloud the ingredients listed on his or her package. Discuss.

What’s in the package


Action Ideas

Write complaint letters to companies that you believe have put out a deceptive or wasteful package or supportive letters to companies that seem to put out honest, practical packages. Find out about recycling centers in your community. Educate your family and friends on how and why to purchase fewer nonrenewable, nonrecyclable containers and to recycle when possible.


For older students, you may want to have the children research and report on various aspects of food packaging. Divide the class into teams of three to eight students. One team could study the concepts of renewable and nonrenewable resources. One team could study recycling and how food packages can be recycled. One team could study packaging uses for preservation and protection. One team could study packaging "gimmicks" for consumers. Each team should prepare to give a group up teach-in on its topic.

What's in the package? - continued


Activity four - Petroleum palace restaurant

** important


Students will choose lunch menu items from an imaginary restaurant where prices are based on energy efficiency.

Related Subjects

Mathematics, Science, Ecology, Nutrition, Drama.


1. To gain knowledge of the interrelationship of food and energy.

2. To utilize mathematics skills.


Paper, pencils, copies for everyone of the "Menu," copies for everyone of the chart "Energy Used in Producing Food," optional--copies for everyone of the "Price List and Explanations for Food Sold at Petroleum Palace," copies of real menus from restaurants (optional).


1. Distribute copies of the chart, "Energy Used in Producing Food." Discuss the stages of producing various foods and how energy is used during each stage.

2. Divide the group into teams of two, three, or four. Explain that they are going to pretend to order lunch from an imaginary restaurant. The teams may want to move their desks or chairs into groupings that simulate a restaurant. Read the following explanation:

You have all been invited out for lunch at a very special restaurant. It is called "Petroleum Palace" and its unusual feature is that prices are based on the amount of energy used for each food. The owner of the restaurant is a serious environmentalist, and she is concerned about the need to conserve energy in this country. In order to do her part she charges a great deal for foods requiring much energy to grow and process, and lower prices for food using less energy. She is so concerned that Americans understand energy used in food production that she offers a discount to any patron who explains why one food is "energy-cheaper" than another. We won't be able to eat at the "Petroleum Palace," but I'll pass out menus and allow you to choose the food you would order there. For this meal, I want you to base your selection not on what you like the best or on nutrition, but on energy conservation.

3. Distribute menus. Give the students time to make their orders. Encourage them to write a line or two explaining each choice.

4. Read the costs per item, and instruct students to record these on their order.

Allow students to add up their bills and place the amount in the space labeled "Subtotal."

5. Have the group discuss the energy differences between foods in each course of the meal. Students should take a ten-cent discount for every correct explanation they make.

6. Enter the amount of discount in the space labeled "Discount." Subtract the discount from the subtotal to determine the "Total Bill."

7. You may want to pass out copies of the "Explanations" for the children to keep and put in their journals.

8. Optional—Pass out copies of real menus from one or more restaurants. Have the children try to alter some of the prices for items on the menu to make them reflect the amount of energy involved in the growth, transport, storage, and preparation of the foods.

9. Journals--Provide time for journal entries on food and energy.

Note: This activity has been adapted from Deborah Katz and Mary Goodwin, Food: Where Nutrition, Politics, and Culture Meet (Center for Science in the Public Interest, 1755 "S" Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009, 1976, $5.5(i)

For further information, Katz and Goodwin suggest reading Energy and Food, by Albert Fritsch, Linda Dujack, and Douglas Jimerson.

Action Ideas

Research paths for food to travel from ground to table that require small energy inputs. Help educate the people around you about the interrelationship of energy and food.

Petroleum palace

Energy used in producing food




• Fresh Juice or Frozen Juice

• Cracker A (unwrapped, available to the store in bulk), OR Cracker B (wrapped individually, packed in small cartons)

• Butter or Margarine



• Luncheon Meat

• Chicken e Turkey

• Rice and Vegetables

• Beef (Grass-Fed)

• Beef (Grain-Fed)


• Fresh Carrots

• Dehydrated Carrots

• Frozen Carrots

• Canned Carrots


• Soft Drink (in aluminum can)

• Soft Drink (in returnable glass bottle)

• Milk (in carton)

• Beer (in aluminum can)

• Beer (in returnable glass bottle)

• Juice (in returnable glass bottle)


• Apples (homegrown in our restaurant's own garden, OR store bought)

• Walnuts (shelled, OR unshelled)

• Ice Cream




Price list and explanations for food sold at petroleum palace (prices are proportional to actual energy expenditure)


Activity five - Food ads-What's in them for me



The children will make records of the food ads they see or hear over a specific period of time. They will analyze the ads and then create their own food ads and food-ad menus. This activity includes a series of individual exercises and may take a little extra time to complete.

Related Subjects

Reading, Nutrition, Creative Writing, Drama.


1. To improve understanding of the role of advertising in our society.

2. To practice observing and record-keeping skills.

3. To improve the capacity for independent thinking.

4. To use creative writing skills.

5. To practice drama and role-playing techniques in front of a large group.


Pencils, paper, butcher paper and marking pen or blackboard and chalk, newspapers and magazines with food ads, drawing paper, colored pencils or other drawing implements, optional—tape recorder and film "Seeing through Commercials," (available from the Justice and Peace Center, 1016 N. 19th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233).


1. Optional—Show the film "Seeing through Commercials." Discuss.

2. Explain that this activity will start the children thinking about how the food industry uses advertising. Ask each child to fill out the accompanying chart with a log of the food ads seen or heard over a specific period of time. This chart should contain the name of product advertised, a description of the product, the company that sells it, where the ad was found, when the ad was broadcast or printed, the size or length of the ad, and a brief description of the ad. Suggested sources: billboards, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines.

Suggest that everyone pay attention to the types of people portrayed in different types of ads—females, males, children, adults, aged persons, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, Whites.

3. When the children bring back their logs, have each present his or her findings to the group. Make a chart on the butcher paper with name of product, company, and advertising method. The methods will include associations with idealized attributes such as youth, beauty, sexiness; testimonials by famous persons; presentations on the facts behind why a product is superior to others; special qualities such as convenience, newness, or healthfulness; gimmicks such as prizes, gifts, coupons; and nonsensical lines or songs.

4. Discuss the types of methods used, the differences found in different media, the truthfulness of the ads, the types of ads people think would be effective for themselves or their families. Also, discuss how different types of people (women, children, men, aged persons, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians ...) are represented, whether the portrayals are truthful, whether prejudices are shown ...

5. Optional:

(a) Explain that the children will be creating menus for one day's meals for an imaginary family using information in food ads. Divide the group into teams of two to four children. Ask each team to plan an imaginary menu on paper using only foods that were found in ads. The menu should include a full day's meals and snacks. Invite the teams to be creative when designing the meals and not to feel obligated to present a balanced nutritious plan (as this will be very hard with some advertised foods).

(b) Ask each team to also come up with a short description of the imaginary people for whom this menu is designed, based on the types of people portrayed in the food ads. To further build on the use of creative writing you may want to ask individuals or teams to write short stories about the imaginary people they have planned menus for. These stories could chronicle the daily lives of these people (e.g., "A bay in the Life of ...").

(c) When all the menus, descriptions, and stories are written, bring the class back together. Have volunteers share their efforts with the group.

(d) Discuss how the types of food advertising relate to nutrition, how they relate to general eating habits of people in the United States, how eating habits have changed over the years, and whether advertising has affected this.

6. Explain that the students will be creating their own food ads. Some will be writing ads to convince people to purchase nutritious whole foods that are not often advertised, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Others will work on truthful ads about products that are highly advertised, such as breakfast cereals, snack foods, or soft drinks. Divide the group into teams of three to four children based on the types of ads the children want to work on. Discuss advertising methods such as catchy headlines, bold writing, snappy language, and illustrations.

7. Make writing and drawing materials available. Have each team draw one or more newspaper or magazine ads. Ask the teams to create one radio ad about food to be read aloud to the group and one TV ad to be acted out for the class.

8. Share with the group. Discuss.

9. Journals—(five children time to put copies of their ad records, food ad menus, short stories, and original food ads into their journals. Ask them to make entries about the role of food advertising.

Action Ideas

Write to Action for Children's Television (46 Austin Street, Newtonville, MA 02160) to find out their strategies for improving the quality of advertising on children's television. Write complaint letters to companies that you think have presented untruthful advertisements or supportive letters to ones that seem to use honest advertising.


For younger students, simplify the record-keeping by asking children to merely list the names of the products they see or hear advertised. Discuss the ads as a group. Omit Step 5.

For older students, try for a more in-depth study of food ads. Assign different students to different media categories. These could include two hours of Saturday morning TV (this could be broken down so that different children cover different stations or they could choose a combination of stations), one Sunday newspaper, three magazines (different children can be responsible for specific categories such as children's, women's, men's, news, or sports), or billboards. Have each child choose a category of ads for making records. Make sure that all areas that the group thinks are important are covered by at least one student.

Food ad record sheet


Activity six - What path did my food take?

* useful


Students will create a diagram of the processes studied in this unit, tracing the path of their favorite foods from farm to table. They will write short essays about the steps studied in this unit.

Related Subjects

Art, Writing, Nutrition, Science, Music.


1. To review concepts learned in this unit.

2. To serve as an evaluation of concepts learned in this unit.

3. To practice graphically representing a process.

4. To improve writing skills.


Drawing paper, world map, drawing implements, tape, glue, writing paper, and pens, or pencils.


1. Sing "The Bread Song," found at the end of this activity. Discuss.

2. Ask each child to think about her or his favorite food and the path each of its ingredients must travel from where it is grown to where the food is eaten. Make a list on the board of the types of information to include, based on knowledge gained from the activities in this unit. Examples: where and by whom the food was harvested, transported, processed, packaged, stored, advertised, sold, and eaten. Describe the path of one food, perhaps your favorite one, as an example. A sample diagram is shown at the end of this activity.

3. Distribute materials. Ask each child to draw, in any style, the path of his or her favorite food. Some may want to show all steps on one piece of paper. Others may choose to draw each step individually and connect them later with tape or by mounting them on a larger piece of paper. Allow for as much freedom and creativity as possible in the arrangement of steps and methods of illustrating.

4. In addition, ask the children to write short essays describing the processes that take place along the path of the food, using information from all the activities of this unit.

5. When everyone is finished, bring the group back together. Have volunteers share their diagrams with the group. Discuss.

6. Journals—Provide time for the children to put their path diagrams and essays into their journals.

7. Evaluation—Ask students to evaluate on paper what they liked and disliked and what was useful or not useful about the activities in this unit. These evaluations should also be placed in the journals.

What path did my food take?

The bread song



Unit IV - Why are people hungry?


Unit IV deals with the root causes of world hunger and contains some of the most important activities in this curriculum. The lessons will help children creatively explore why people are hungry in a world of of plenty. They will dispel some of the major misconceptions surrounding hunger, showing that hunger is not caused by too many people or not enough food--rather, hunger is a result of human actions leading to inequalities in the control over food-producing resources. In addition to teaching the causes of hunger, the variety of imaginative activities found in Unit IV will improve children's abilities to think in an independent manner. Background reading for the teacher should include the Food First "Hunger Is Not a Myth" fact sheet.


1. Students will improve their capacities for independent thinking.

2. Children will become familiar with the concept of a root cause of a problem.

3. Students will appreciate the existence of hunger in a world of plenty.

4. Children will learn that hunger is not caused by overpopulation or by scarcity.

5. Students will understand that people are hungry because of inequalities in the control of food-producing resources.

Why are people hungry

Activity One

"How Does the World Eat" is a key activity that introduces children to the existence of hunger through their participation in a game simulating the distribution of resources to world population.

Activity Two

"Brainstorming the Causes of Hunger" is a useful activity which will stimulate students to think about the root causes of hunger by having them practice brainstorming, a creative group idea-gathering process.

Activity Three

"Voices from a Bangladesh Village" is an important activity that will develop reading comprehension through the reading of firsthand accounts of how hunger affects the lives of villagers in Bangladesh.

Activity Four

"What Do the Numbers Mean?" is an important exercise in which children research and compare population densities to degrees of hunger in countries around the world. The exercise will improve analytical thinking and the ability to read graphs, while dispelling the myth that overpopulation causes hunger.

Activity Five

"Puppets and Population" is a key lesson showing that childbearing can be a rational response to hunger and poverty in some parts of the world. Students will learn to appreciate customs of a variety of cultures while utilizing art and drama techniques with puppets.

Activity Six

"Scrambled Words" is a useful activity that provides closure and serves as an evaluation for concepts learned in Unit IV. Students will utilize analytical thinking to decipher scrambled words and will practice writing skills as they describe what they have learned about the causes of hunger.


1. Let's Cook a Third-World Food. As a group, prepare and taste a dish prepared from traditional staple food from somewhere in the third world. Examples: tortillas and beans from Latin America, tofu and rice from Southeast Asia, or cassava from Africa. Find out if there is someone in the class whose family originally came from another part of the world and who would like to bring in a recipe.


Activity one - How does the world eat?

*** key


The group will be divided up into sections simulating world population divisions and served a snack food divided into portions proportionate to the control of world resources

Related Subjects

Nutrition, Social Studies, Geography.


1. To develop an appreciation for the widespread existence of hunger in a world of bountiful resources, and to understand that scarcity is not the cause of hunger.

2. To become more inquisitive about the causes of hunger.

3. To become familiar with the inequality of distribution of resources.


World map, and enough of a nutritious snack food to provide every person with a generous snack portion. Examples: graham crackers, fruit slices, peanuts, popcorn, raisins.



Note: This activity requires sensitivity on the part of the teacher.

1. In advance, obtain the snack food and divide it up in the appropriate portions simulating world resource distribution. Start with a more than generous portion for each child. Plan to divide the food so that roughly one quarter of the participants will receive either some crumbs or nothing, roughly one quarter will receive a very small portion, roughly one quarter will receive a moderate portion, and roughly one quarter will receive a very large portion. Within the last group you may want to subdivide so that one or two children have even larger portions than the others.

Example: For a group of 24, start with 24 medium- to large-sized apples cut into quarters, for a total of 96 slices.

How does the world eat

• 6 persons (25%) will receive nothing or crumbs

• 6 persons (25%) will receive one slice each

• 6 persons (25%) will receive three slices each

• 5 persons (22%) will receive ten slice each

• 1 person (3%) will receive 25 slices

2. Explain to the group that you are going to serve a simulation snack that reflects how much people around the world Bet to eat. Ask for discussion on the children's ideas on the distribution of food in the world—how many people go hungry and where they live. Do not let individuals or groups of individuals pretend they represent a particular country. It is important to stress that, while the distribution of the snack represents global food distribution, there are hungry people and well-fed people in virtually every country.

3. Ask the participants not to eat until told to do so. Distribute the snack randomly so that children receiving large portions are close to children receiving small portions and to those receiving nothing.

4. Explain how the distribution corresponds to that in the real world. In some countries, such as the U.S., there are a few very rich persons, many middle-income persons, and a smaller number of poor persons who often go hungry. In some countries, such as Sweden, almost everyone has a middle-income level and no one goes hungry. In some countries, such as India, most of the people are poor and often hungry, but there are a few rich persons and a few middle-income persons. In some countries, such as the People's Republic of China, almost all of the people have low to middle incomes, but no one goes hungry.

A flow the children to react to the situation. Let the group try to work out whether it would like to distribute the food more fairly or to eat it as is. If they choose to change the distribution, let them try to design a fair method in their own away. This should be an extremely difficult task. The purpose of this is to give students a feel for how hard it is for people of the world to negotiate fair solutions to problems.

Note: If your group has had a lot of experience working together and cooperating, you may choose to not allow discussions on redistribution of the snack. If this step is done quickly and easily, it would negate the realism of this simulation of the inequalities in the world.

5. Allow the children to eat. Explain the fact that the world produces enough to feed every child' woman, and man the equivalent in calories to what the average person in the U.S. eats every day. Discuss the process—how it relates to the real world and relationships among countries, how the children with the biggest portions feel, how the children with the smallest portions feel, how the real world might be able to equalize the availability of food, and how the distribution of food compares to the children's previous ideas discussed in Step 2.

6. Make it clear to the children that the inequalities in food distribution exist here in the United States and Canada as well as in other parts of in the world. Discuss the existence of hunger in your area, the children's experiences with hungry people, the possible causes of hunger, and possible solutions.

7. Journals—Allow the children to make journal entries on how it felt to be a part of the simulation, and about the existence of hunger in a world of plenty.


Activity two - Brainstorming the causes of hunger



The group will do a brainstorming exercise on the causes of hunger.

Related Subjects

Social Studies, Nutrition.


1. To stimulate the children to think about the causes of world hunger.

2. To give students practice in the process of brainstorming for generating ideas.

3. To help children understand the concept of a root cause of a situation.

4. To demonstrate prior conceptions of the causes of hunger.


Butcher paper and marking pen.


1. Explain to the group that you will be using the process of brainstorming to come up with a list of possible causes of world hunger.

Brainstorming is a process of group idea gathering that stimulates creative thinking. Group members take turns throwing out any and all thoughts that come to mind on a subject while one person records all the ideas. There are no right or wrong answers at this stage. Ideas that may seem to be ridiculous often are the ones that stimulate the best ideas in the end. No one is allowed to criticize any of the ideas. This encourages a free flow of ideas that often leads to a better final product than any other method of idea gathering. When everyone has run out of ideas, the group looks over the list and discusses the possibilities, trying to choose the best, most correct, or most practical idea.

2. Ask someone to be the recorder. Every idea should be recorded on the butcher paper. Choose a process that gives all persons a chance to present their ideas but prevents two or more persons from speaking at one time. Begin the brainstorming by asking for the group's ideas on the causes of world hunger. Explain that the goals are to show what the prior conceptions about hunger are and to stimulate thinking about world hunger. Future activities will show what the causes really are.

3. When all the ideas have been thrown out, ask the group to think about why the ideas listed exist. Explain the meaning of a root cause of a situation. A root cause is an underlying factor that lies at the foundation of a problem.


• Problem-A boy has trouble doing math problems in school. Cause--Tiredness, sleepiness Root cause—The boy's parents often have loud parties that last until late at night, preventing the boy from getting a good night's sleep.

• Problem--A girl cannot answer questions about a story the class was given to read. Cause-She cannot read well enough to understand the story. Root cause—The girl has a sight disorder that has not been detected which prevents her from seeing the words and letters clearly.

4. Continue the brainstorming session by asking the children to contribute possible root causes related to the ideas listed on the butcher paper. Record ideas from this second round in another column. Afterwards, have volunteers draw lines to connect the root causes with the appropriate ideas on the first brainstorming list. This step can be done individually as a homework exercise by having the children copy the list of causes onto one column of a piece of paper. On a second column they should list root causes.

5. Discuss. See if there is any consensus on which of the ideas listed might be the most important in causing hunger.

Note: Save the results of this brainstorming session for discussion after completing Unit V.

6. Journals--Allow time for children to make journal entries about brainstorming, root causes, and the causes of world hunger.

Causes of world hunger


Activity three - Voices from a Bangladesh village

** important


Students will read descriptions of persons living in rural Bangladesh and discuss how hunger affects these people.

Related Subjects

Reading, Vocabulary, Geography, Nutrition, Communication Skills.


1. To become familiar with hunger's effect on many of the people of the world.

2. To increase awareness of the inequalities of control over land and other food-producing resources.

3. To improve reading comprehension.

4. To practice communications skills necessary to report to a large group.

5. To build vocabulary.

6. To gain knowledge of conditions in Bangladesh.


Copies of "Shaha Paikur: Landlord, Merchant, and Moneylender," "Abu and Sharifa: Poor Peasants," and "Hari and Komla: Landless Laborers"—enough for one third of the class to receive each one, copies for everyone, or a transparency for an overhead projector of "The Five Classes of Bangladesh Villagers"; paper; pencils; and a world map.

The handouts are excerpted from Needless Hunger: Voices from a Bangladesh Village by Betsy Hartmann and James Boyce (San Francisco: Institute for Food and Development Policy, 1980).


1. Explain to the group that you will be studying hunger in a Bangladesh village. Ask a volunteer to find Bangladesh on the world map. Discuss what the children know about this country.

2. Distribute the handout, "The Five Classes of Bangladesh Villagers," or show the transparency on the projector. Go over it with the group.

3. Divide the group into three teams. Team 1 will read "Shaha Paikur," Team 2 will be responsible for "Abu and Sharifa," and Team 3 for "Hari and Komla." Each team will read and discuss its description and then be responsible for telling the rest of the group about the persons described. Distribute copies of the handouts appropriate for each team.

4. Allow time for everyone to read the descriptions. Answer questions if necessary. You may want to have the group read together the three descriptions before breaking up into teams to answer the questions and prepare reports.

5. When everyone has finished reading, distribute writing materials as needed. Have the teams meet to quietly discuss their descriptions. They should plan and prepare a team report based on the questions with the stories. Or you may want to have individuals work by themselves to prepare answers to the questions.

6. When the reports are ready, bring the group back together. Start the discussion with Shaha Paikur. Have volunteers take turns presenting information about Shaha Paikur. Next have Team 2 volunteers present information about Abu and Sharifa. Then have Team 3 volunteers report on Hari and Komla. Discuss the different characters, their lives, their work, how their lives relate to each other's, how the stories compare to those that might be written about villagers in other places around the world, and what group members have learned about hunger.

7. Journals—Provide time for the children to put the descriptions into their journals and to make entries on how hunger affects people in a Bangladesh village.


For younger students, read the three stories aloud and work out the answers together as a group.

Five Classes of Bangladesh Villages

Based on their different relationships to the land, the villagers of Bangladesh fall into five basic classes:

1. Landlords do not work on the land themselves, except sometimes to supervise their workers. Instead they hire labor or let out land to sharecroppers.

2. Rich peasants work in the fields but have more land than they can cultivate alone. They gain most of their income from lands they cultivate with hired labor or sharecroppers.

3. Middle peasants come closest to our image of the self -sufficient small farmer. They earn their livings mainly by working their own land, though at times they may work for others or hire others to work for them.

4. Poor peasants own a little land, but not enough to support themselves. They earn their livings mainly by working as sharecroppers or wage laborers.

5. Landless laborers own no land except for their house sites, and sometimes not even that. Lacking draft animals and agricultural tools, they seldom can work as sharecroppers, and must depend upon wages for their livelihoods.

A villager in Katni once said, " Without land, there is no security." Indeed, without land there is often no food.

Shaha Paikur: Landlord, merchant, moneylender

Shaha Paikur lives with his four wives in a cement house in Dosutari, a village adjoining Katni. He is typical of the local merchants, for he is also a landlord and moneylender. He deals in jute, rice and mustard seed, and his warehouse is large enough to hold the produce of many local peasants as well as that of his own extensive landholdings. When he sells his jute, a caravan of 50 oxcarts carries it to town. Villagers often speculate about his riches, and some claim he buries gold in his courtyard.

Shaha Paikur's moneylending has earned him an unsavory reputation.

"Shaha is clever," a neighbor explains. "When a man falls on hard times, Shaha offers money. He acts so friendly, 'You have no rice? You have no clothes? Here, take this! You can pay me back at harvest time.'

"Men are weak. They know they shouldn't take his money, but they think: 'Let me eat today. Let the future bring what it may.' At harvest time Shaha is back, demanding payment in rice at half the market rate. When a man cannot repay, Shaha takes his land--he never lends money to a landless man."

"I grow the jute in Shaha's warehouse," said one middle peasant. "Without me, where would he be? What do I get for my labor? Worn hands, aching muscles, and just enough to eat so that I can live to work another day. Meanwhile Shaha sits and eats, and counts his money."

1. Who is described in this story?


2. Which of the five classes of Bangladesh villagers do the persons fit into?


3. How do they make their living?


4. How much land do they own?


5. Would you describe them as wealthy, poor, or in between? Why?


6. Are they hungry? Why or why not?


7. What is the most interesting thing you learned about these persons?


Abu and Sharifa: Poor pea sants

Abu and Sharifa live with their six children in a one-room bamboo house with broken walls and a leaky straw roof. They are poor peasants, and year by year they are becoming poorer.

Today Abu and Sharifa own less than one-fifth of an acre of land. Most of this is mortgaged to Mahmud Hazi, a local landlord. Until Abu repays his debt, he must work his own land as a sharecropper, giving Mahmud Hazi half the crop. "I can't even earn enough to feed my family," he says, "let alone enough to pay off the mortgage."

Sharecropping is difficult. "When I work for wages," he explains, "at least we have rice, even if it's not enough to fill our stomachs. But I don't eat from my sharecropping until the harvest. To plow the land I have to rent oxen from a neighbor, plowing his land for two days in exchange for one day's use of his animals. In this country a man's labor is worth half as much as the labor of a pair of cows!"

When Sharifa can find work husking rice, she usually receives only a pound of rice for a day's labor. Often she cannot find employment. "If we had land I would always be busy," she says. She unwraps a piece of betel nut from the corner of her sari. "Without this we poor people would never survive. Whenever I feel hungry I chew betel nut and it helps the pain in my stomach. I can go for days without food. It's only worrying about the children that makes me thin."

1. Who is described in this story?


2. Which of the five classes of Bangladesh villagers do the persons fit into?


3. How do they make their living?


4. How much land do they own?


5. Would you describe them as wealthy, poor, or in between? Why?


6. Are they hungry? Why or why not?


7. What is the most interesting thing you learned about these persons?


Hari and Komla:Landless laborers

"Between the mortar and the pestle, the chili cannot last. We poor are like chills. Each year we are ground down a little more, until there is nothing left of us."

These are the words of Hari, a Hindu landless laborer who lived in Katni with his wife Komla, their three young children, and a niece whose parents died in the 1974 famine. Their house consisted of a packed mud floor, a sagging straw roof and walls made of a few dried palm leaves hanging from bamboo poles. Inside there was no furniture. Hari did not even own the land on which the house was built.

In the autumn of 1974, Hari and Komla came face-to-face with famine. "I had no work, and we had nothing to eat," Hari recalled. "We begged from house to house, but no one had much to give. One day when I went to town, I saw people fighting over the intestines of a chicken. I saw people selling their children in the bazaar."

"Later the government set up a gruel kitchen in the town. One day I went with my brother Kirot. We waited all day, and each got one roti (a piece of unleavened bread). Who can live on one roti a day? I decided I would rather die here than in town. My wife and I collected wild greens and roots, and when we weren't looking for food, we slept. When the children's cries woke us, we went out again to search for food. Kirot and his wife died at the gruel kitchen. That's why their daughter Gopi lives with us now."

The famine had passed by the time we arrived in Katni, but Hari and Komla were still living dangerously close to the margin. During the planting and harvesting of the crops they could find work, but in the slack seasons they often went for days without a decent meal. Hari's health slowly deteriorated. He was trapped in a vicious cycle: without work he could not eat, not eating made him weak, and because he was weak, employers did not want to hire him.

1. Who is described in this story?


2. Which of the five classes of Bangladesh villagers do the persons fit into?


3. How do they make their living?


4. How much land do they own?


5. Would you describe them as wealthy, poor, or in between? Why?


6. Are they hungry? Why or why not?


7. What is the most interesting thing you learned about these persons?



Activity four - What do the numbers mean?

** important


The children will read charts and prepare their own graphs comparing hunger and population density.

Related Subjects

Mathematics, Nutrition, Health, Geography.


1. To understand that "overpopulation" does not cause hunger through learning that population density and hunger are not correlated.

2. To become familiar with the concept of infant mortality, a sign of the prevalence of hunger and malnutrition.

3. To improve the ability to read and analyze charts.

4. To develop graphing skills.

5. To increase awareness of global geography.

6. Optional—to become aware of the difference between correlation and causation.



World map, colored pencils, pencils, and copies for everyone of graph worksheets comparing population density and infant mortality.


1. Explain that the class will be doing an exercise on population and hunger. Discuss whether any children think that hunger is caused by too many people. Explain that this is a very common belief in the U.S. and that you will be working through an exercise to show whether this is true or false.

Discuss the meaning of infant mortality. This is a statistic that is frequently used to indicate how much hunger exists in an area. Infant mortality represents the annual number of deaths per 1,000 live births of infants under one year of age. Malnourished and hungry infants and those born to malnourished and hungry mothers are much more likely to die than are well fed babies. Diseases are more likely to strike undernourished babies, and once afflicted with a disease, undernourished babies are more likely to die. Thus, hunger is a major underlying cause of infant mortality.

Make sure that everybody understands that a high infant mortality rate means there is lots of hunger. A low infant mortality rate means hunger is not widespread. Rates of 25 or below can be considered low. Rates of 75 or above can be considered high. Rates of 26 to 74 can be considered moderate. Hunger is commonly found in areas where the infant mortality rate is above the low range of 0 to 25.

2. Discuss the concept of population density.

The population density figures shown in this activity refer to the number of people per hectare of permanently cropped and arable land. One hectare = 2.5 acres. This is approximately the size of a football field. Permanently cropped land has crops which occupy the land for long periods and do not need to be replanted every year. Arable land includes land that is used for temporary crops, temporary meadows, market and kitchen gardens, and temporarily idle land.

Make sure that everybody understands population density. Some countries have many people and a small amount of farmland (example: the Netherlands). Some countries have very few people and much farmland (example: Australia). A population density of 2 or below can be considered low. A density of 7 or above can be considered high. Densities of 3 to 6 can be considered moderate.

3. Distribute the graph worksheets and writing materials as needed. Go over the information about the countries that are already plotted on the graph. Show the children how to plot the information from the chart onto the graph on the worksheet. Each country's point could be plotted in a different color. Underneath the graph the name of the country should be written out and the color used for it should be shown. Show what the graph would look like if population and hunger were positively correlated. A sample graph is shown at the end of this activity.

There are several ways to have a group work through this exercise: as a group, in teams of two to four children, or as individuals.

4. When the graphs are completed, bring the group back together. Discuss the graphs, the countries where many people go hungry, the countries where population is dense, and whether hunger and population density are related.

5. Optional—Discuss the differences between correlation and causation. Correlation means that the incidence of two factors is related in some way. If one of the factors causes the other one, the two will be positively correlated. If the two things are correlated, however, one does not necessarily cause the other. You may want to come up with a list of pairs of factors. Write them on the board and have the children decide whether each pair is correlated and, if so, whether one could cause the other. You may want to have the children write their own examples.


• Freckles are found most often in people aged 5 to 12. Measles occur most often in people aged 5 to 12. Freckles and measles are correlated. Freckles do not cause measles. Measles does not cause freckles.

• It snows more in Maine in the winter than in Florida. It is colder in Maine in the winter than in Florida. Snow and cold are correlated. Cold is one of the factors causing snow.

• The density of population varies a lot from country to country. There are hungry people in some countries but not in others. Population density and hunger are not correlated. Population density does not necessarily cause hunger. Hunger does not necessarily cause population density.

6. Journals—Allow time for the children to put their charts and graphs into their journals and make entries about population and hunger.


For younger students, do the graphing and answer questions together as a group.

For older students, have them graph additional points from the extended population density list included here. Ask for individual research reports on some of the countries.

Population Density and Infant Mortality in Selected Countries *

What do numbers mean ?


lnformation for graphing

Continent and Country



North America

1. U.S.A.



Central America

2. Guatemala




3. Poland



4. France



Additional Countries

5. Bangladesh



6. Japan




7. Ethiopia



South America

8. Brazil



Additional Countries

*Number of people per hectare of permanently cropped and arable land.

**Annual number of deaths per 1,000 live births to infants under the age of one year.


What do the numbers mean?

Worksheet questions

1. Which country has the highest infant mortality rate?


2. Which country has the lowest infant mortality rate?


3. Which country has the highest population density?


4. Which country has the lowest population density?


5. Which countries have high infant mortality rates and high density?


6. Which countries have low infant mortality rates and high density?


7. Which countries have high infant mortality rates and low density?


8. Which countries have low infant mortality rates and low density?


Sample graph

If hunger and population were positively correlated, the graph would look something like this:

Sample graph

9. Does there seem to be a pattern between the two numbers? If so, the points you plotted would look something like a line. Or do the numbers seem unrelated? If so, the points on the graph will be in all different places.


Activity five - Puppets and population

*** key


The children will create their own puppets of members of families from different parts of the world and will contribute to puppet show stories explaining why families around the world decide to have or not to have babies.

Related Subjects

Drama, Reading, Art, Geography.


1. To learn that overpopulation is not the cause of hunger; rather, it is an effect of hunger and poverty.

2. To understand that bearing children is a rational response to poverty and hunger in many parts of the world.

3. To appreciate the variety of lifestyles in different cultures.

4. To practice art techniques in creating puppets.

5. To develop drama skills through puppetry.

6. To increase geographic understanding of the location of countries around the world.


Magazines and books with pictures of people from Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe (suggested source of materials: U.S. Committee for UNICEF, 331 E. 38th Street, New York, NY 10016), world map, copies for everyone of one of the puppet show script starters (see Step 1 when deciding how many of each script are necessary), puppet-making materials. (There are many ways to make puppets and any way will do for this activity. Materials could include scissors, glue, paper bags, crayons or other coloring implements, felt, yarn, string, colored paper, pins, buttons, socks, needles and thread.)


Note: This activity requires a lot of direction from the teacher and takes a considerable amount of time to complete. However, the concepts taught (see Objectives 1 and 2) are extremely important.

1. Explain that the children will be making puppets to represent members of families around the world. Discuss the students' ideas on why parents plan to have children. Have the students choose the area of the world for which they would like to make puppets. Divide the class into teams of two or three children. Each team will create a pair of puppets or three puppets to be the characters of one puppet show skit based on the life of one family from one region of the world. Make sure that there is at least one team designing puppets for each region for which there is a sample script starter. Each team can plan by itself which characters its members will make. You may choose to omit the puppet-making and have the children act out the skits.

Distribute copies of the script starters to the appropriate teams. If the group is large, you may choose to give the same script to more than one team. Or you may want to have larger numbers of people on each team.

2. Have the book and magazine pictures available. Distribute the puppet-making materials. Explain the puppet-making instructions. These will vary depending upon the materials chosen. Paper bag puppets are usually the quickest. Construction paper, yarn, or string can be glued to the bags to create facial features and clothing. Marking pens or crayons can be used to draw on additional details. Provide time for the children to make the puppets.

3. When everyone is finished, set up a puppet stage. This can sit on a table or desk top.

4. As group leader you may want to begin the puppet show skits and then allow the children to come behind the stage and take control of the puppets once the skit is in progress. Or the children may be able to start the skits by themselves. Use your judgment.

Use the scripts as starters. These will lay the groundwork for the stories and put across the most important information about why families plan to have babies. Strongly encourage creativity within the skits. Team members should feel free to let their imaginations go, adding characters and lines to each skit.

5. When a puppet show skit is over or starts to drag, start another skit. Have another team come to the stage and begin a new story about a family in a different part of the world.

6. Repeat until everyone has had a chance to participate and you have presented skits on all the major regions.

7. Discuss the puppet show skits, how families differ around the world in size, traditions, and lifestyles, how families are similar, why families plan to have babies, why poor parents in many parts of the world need to have large families, why people in other parts of the world usually have small families, and whether males are treated differently than females in the different areas of the world.

8. Journals--Provide time for the students to put their scripts in their journals and to make entries on why people have children.


For younger students, limit the activity to two scripts, numbers two and four. Read the scripts together as a group before making a puppet show.

For older students, ask individuals to do research on the five countries other than the United States presented in these scripts or on other countries around the world and to prepare reports on life in these countries.

Puppet show


Puppets and population - Nigeria

Setting: Hut in a rural village in Nigeria. Characters: Mother and Daughter.

Mother: Hello. I am 35 years old. I have been married since I was 15. I have five children. Here is my daughter, Kawe. She is ten years old.

Daughter: Hello, Mother. Have you any work for me to do?

Mother: Yes, Kawe. Perhaps you could help me pound this grain into meal so that we can have it for dinner tonight. We must have this done before the men come back from their work.

Daughter: (pounding the grain by hand) Mother, whatever became of Father's first wife?

M: I do not know, Kawe. She left this village in disgrace when your father divorced her.

D: Why did he divorce her ?

M: Because she did not bear a child during the first two years of their marriage. In our society, a childless person is to be despised. Children prove that a marriage is successful. I have helped your father become well respected in this village because I have borne five children. We are especially lucky since three of them have been boys. I am pregnant again now.

D: Why is it important to have boy children?

M: Children are very valuable - to our family. As we grow older we will depend on the work of our children to support, feed, and clothe us. Male children are especially important because boys can earn more money at jobs than girls can. We are poor and need all the money we can earn so that we all may eat.

D: My brothers are all at school now, learning skills like reading and writing. Will that help them to get jobs to help support you when you get old?

M: Yes.

D: I bet I could learn those things just as well as they can.

M: I'm sure you could, Kawe. You are a bright girl. But then who would help me farm the fields, pound the grain, and fetch the water? Besides, girls cannot get hired for the same paying jobs that boys can in this area.


Puppets and population - India

Setting: Home in a rural town in India. Characters: Mother and Son.

Son: My name is Jaswinder. I live with my mother, my father, my grandmother, and my four sisters. I am seven years old. Two of my sisters are older than I am. Two are younger.

Mother: Hello, my son.

Son: Hello, Mother. How are you feeling?

Mother: I am not very well. I feel a little weak and dizzy. It is hard to be pregnant and carrying another child when there is so much work for me to do. Lately, there never seems to be enough food for me to feel strong and full after you and your father have eaten. There is not much left for me.

S: Why do you feed my father and me before you and my sisters eat?

M: Because that is the custom. You are the most honored member of the family since you are a male child. It is important that you are healthy and strong. Soon you will be helping to earn money for the family and then times will be a little easier for us.

S: I see, Mother. Do you think this baby will live? The last two babies you had never made it to see their first birthday.

M: I do not know, Jaswinder, but I hope so. Because it is so easy for babies to die here I must have many children to be sure that there will be several males who live to strong and healthy. In order for our family to be secure in our old age we will need to have several sons to earn money and take care of us.

S: Don't you love your daughters, too?

M: Oh, yes. I love my daughters! Sons in our society are important because they keep the father's name going and can bring fame and fortune to a family that girls are not allowed to.

S: Someone said that in the cities some girls go to school and even work in factories and hospitals. Is this true?

M: Yes. I have heard that, too. But for now, girls in our small village cannot think of doing these things.


Puppets and population - China

Setting: An apartment in an urban area in the People's Republic of China. Characters: Wife and Husband.

Wife: Hello. My name is Mei-Ling. I am 28 years old. My husband's name is Liu. We have been married for one year.

Husband: Hello, Mei-Ling. How are your patients at the hospital?

Wife: Most of them are doing very well, which pleases me. I just found out today that my trip to the countryside to doctor the peasants will take place in two months. I will serve in the country as a doctor for one year and then return to the city.

Husband: I will miss you while you are away. I wish the government did not want you to go and me to stay and work at the factory making clothes. We have loved each other for many years, but our fellow community members did not approve of our marrying until one year ago. There are not many doctors in the countryside, so I know you will be much needed to help with the health of the people there.

W: Yes, Liu. I will be proud to go serve, although I will miss you. Just think, before the Revolution of 1949, the poor peasants had no doctors and almost no medical care. And many of them went hungry. My grandmother has told me that many people were miserable.

H: Yes. Life must have been very hard then. Families tried to have many children so that the young could provide the old with old age security.

W: Now the government assures everybody of food, clothing, and health care. We do not need to have very large families, and our communities try to cause people to have small families to make the population smaller. That is why we waited to marry.

H: That is true. But I would like to have a child or two to make our family more complete. What do you think?

W: I would, too. I wish we could start our family now, instead of waiting until I come back from serving in the country.


Puppets and population - Sweden

Setting: suburban area in Sweden. Characters: Mother and Son.

Mother: I am 36 years old. My husband and I have one child. My son's name is Jan (pronounced Yon). He is 11 years old. I am meeting him at his school to take him to his ice hockey team practice.

Son: Hello, Mother. Did you just come from working?

Mother: Hello, Jan. Yes, I did. The laboratory I work in was very busy today. Have you been waiting long?

Son: No, only for a little while. Some of the other kids and I were talking about the future and what we would like to do when we grow older.

M: What would you like to do, Jan?

S: I'm not sure. I might like to be an ice hockey player. Or I might like to work for the government and help people like some of the officials we learned about in school.

You know, I really liked the actors and dancers we saw in the play at the theater last weekend. Maybe I would like to be one of them. Do you suppose I could take dance lessons?

M: I think so, Jan. If you would like to, let's talk with your father this evening when he comes home from his office.

S: Some of the boys in my class have big families with many brothers and sisters. How come Father and you just have me?

M: Well, your father and I both are very involved in our careers. I do research on cancer at the University Laboratories and your father is an editor at a magazine. Having many children often means that one or both of the parents must give up much work time to help raise the children. Also, both our jobs have pension funds. We know, too, that the Swedish government has a social security system that will care for us when we get older if we have no money. We will not have to depend on our children to support us in our old age.


Puppets and population - Mexico

Setting: A small house in a rural area of Mexico. Characters: Mother and Daughter.

Daughter: My name is Maria. I am 14 years old. Next week I will be married to Carlos, who lives in my village. He is 18 years old. I love him.

Mother: Hello, Maria. Are you dreaming about your wedding again?

Daughter: Yes, Mother. I was thinking about the type of family Carlos and I will have. I think he would like to have a large family. Sometimes I think I might like to have only a few children so that I might spend some time doing the pottery that I love to do. It seems that you spend all of your time working to take care of your five children and my grandparents.

Mother: Yes, I must work day and night to feed and care for you, your three brothers, your sister, your father, and your father's parents. I am 38 years old now and very tired. Maria, you must be careful that you do not anger your husband by talking of having a small family, if he does not want that. In our society it has always been the man's choice of how many children to have in a family.

D: But that is changing a little now. E specially in the cities and for the people who move to the U. S.

M: Still, you must be careful. The law is still written saying that a husband can divorce a wife if she does not produce a son with him.

D: That does not seem fair. It is not necessarily the wife's fault if there are no sons. That's what we learned in school.

M: No, but our society has traditions. Besides, when you live in the country it is very useful to have a large family so that there are many people to labor in the fields at harvest time and bring in money for the family. And, of course, no matter how many children you have you will love all of them dearly.


Puppets and population - Unite, States

Setting: A small house in a city in the U.S. Characters: Sister and Brother.

Brother (10 years old): Hey, Susan, when do you think Mother will be home from work?

Sister (12 years old): I don't know, Billy. Probably she's going to be late tonight. It's the holiday season and salespeople need to work late at department stores.

Brother: I'm hungry.

Sister: Well, we could try to cook something ourselves for Mother and Father when they come home.

Brother: Some of the kids in my class at school say that in their families both of the parents do not work at the same time. They say they get to see them more of the time.

S: I know. It's the same in my class. Mother once told me that she wished she did not have to work so many hours. She said that Father and she used to think they could work it out so that they both would not work full time at the same time. They wanted to have lots of kids and spend a lot of time with the family.

B: What happened?

S: Mother says it costs so much money to live these days that- both Father and she have to work full time just to pay for our food and clothes and the house and stuff.

B: Oh, I guess maybe that means we never will have baby brothers and sisters.

S: I guess not. I guess parents who work in stores and factories cannot have lots of children like our ancestors did who owned a farm.

B: Yeah. Farm kids helped on the farm. There's not much we can do to help with money.

S: Well, we could at least try to help around the house. Maybe we should try to make some food for dinner tonight.


Activity six - Scrambled words



The children will unscramble letters to make words. They will write sentences and paragraphs using the words, based on concepts learned from this unit.

Related Subjects

Vocabulary, Language Arts, Nutrition, Social Studies.


1. To serve as an evaluation of concepts learned in this unit.

2. To review concepts used in this unit.

3. To practice analytical thinking.

4. To utilize writing skills.


Copies for each student of a worksheet with the scrambled words printed on it, paper, and pens or pencils.


1. In advance, make worksheets with scrambled words on them. You may want to ask each child to submit one scrambled word that pertains to activities in this unit. de sure to make the list representative of the words and ideas you explored in your classroom.

2. Distribute copies of the scrambled-words worksheet to all. Work together through a couple of examples. Explain that each group of letters can be turned into a word that relates to the lessons learned about why people are hungry.

Each person should unscramble each word and write a sentence or two about it. If a person sees a relationship between two words, the person may use both words in the same sentence or pair of sentences. After unscrambling all the words, each child should write a one or two-paragraph essay discussing why people are hungry. They should use as many as possible of the unscrambled words. The paragraphs should use information learned during this unit.

3. Allow the children a choice of whether to work individually or in pairs. Ask them to complete the worksheets.

4. Afterwards, go over the words and sentence. Discuss how they relate to why people are hungry.

5. Journals--Provide time for students to put their worksheets in their journals.

6. Evaluation—Discuss as a group or ask individuals to write down what was useful in the activities in this unit, which activities they liked, and which ones they disliked.


For younger students, use a simpler list of words such as land, food, farm, eat, rich, poor, hunger, baby, world, die.

For older students, add on more complex words such as peasant, paradox, density, mortality, population, consume.

Worksheet key

1. Women, 2. Resource, 3. Power, 4. Scarcity, 5. Control, 6. Grain, 7. Land, 8. Babies, 9. Inequality, 10. Plenty, 11. Poor, 12. Price, 13. Hunger, 14. Root Cause, 15. Work.

Class project: Scrambled words


Scrambled words

Unscramble the following words:











11. ORPO
















15. WKRO





Write a sentence using each unscrambled word. You may use more than one unscrambled word in each sentence.

1. ___________________________________________________________________

2. ___________________________________________________________________

3. ___________________________________________________________________

4. ___________________________________________________________________

5. ___________________________________________________________________

6. ___________________________________________________________________

7. ___________________________________________________________________

8. ___________________________________________________________________

9. ___________________________________________________________________

10. ___________________________________________________________________

11. ___________________________________________________________________

12. ___________________________________________________________________

13. ___________________________________________________________________

14. ___________________________________________________________________

15. ___________________________________________________________________

Write one or two paragraphs describing why people go hungry.



Unit V - Who is hungry in the U.S.A.?


This unit looks at the often forgotten poor of our own country. Students will learn about the 34.4 million Americans below the poverty line who often have trouble affording food in a country sometimes called the breadbasket of the world. The activities in Unit V will point out what groups of Americans suffer a disproportionate share of the nation's hunger and poverty.

Who is hungry in the U.S.A.



1. Children will become familiar with the existence of millions of hungry Americans.

2. Children will learn that some groups of Americans suffer a disproportionate share of this nation's hunger—older persons, children, women, and minorities.

3. Children will appreciate that poor, hungry people are people of dignity capable of working to end hunger.

4. Students will learn the meaning of the concepts of prejudice and discrimination and their relationship to hunger in America.

Most of the activities in this unit were created to introduce the majority of Americans who are not poor to the realities of hunger for many other Americans. Teachers working with groups from impoverished backgrounds will need to utilize a somewhat different perspective and may choose to shorten this unit. (For example, you may choose to omit some or all of Activity One, "Making Ends Meet," and Activity Three, "Working and Eating.") Emphasis should be placed on the existence of inequalities in America and on strategies for ending the problems causing hunger and poverty.

Each teacher will need to adapt the lessons to individual environments. The conditions of hunger and poverty and the groups of people suffering vary from rural area to urban area, from region to region, and from town to town. Try to utilize local examples wherever possible.

All teachers will need to be careful with the thrust of the activities on who is hungry in America. It is very important to show children that the groups of Americans who are most often hungry—older persons, children, women, and minorities—are not hungry because there is anything wrong with them as people. It is important to portray poor Americans as persons of dignity, capable and willing to work to free themselves from hunger. Hunger exists due to inequalities that often do not give poor people the options to be able to feed themselves.

Background reading for the teacher should include the Food First Hunger in America Action Alert, available from the Institute.

Activity One

"Making Ends Meet'' is an important activity. "Low-income" participants in this game try to "feed their families" for a month, developing an appreciation for the difficulties of living on a poverty budget and utilizing mathematics skills.

Activity Two

"Old and Hungry" is a key activity. Students will read and discuss a striking personal description of the conditions of hungry older Americans.

Activity Three

"Working and Eating" is an important exercise in which students will look at unemployment statistics categorized by race, sex, and age to learn which groups of Americans have the most trouble finding jobs and earning money to feed their families. Chart reading abilities and analytical thinking will be improved as the children create their own bar graph.

Activity Four

"Creating a Group Drawing" is a useful activity that lets students be imaginative together as they produce a scene detailing the environment of the hungry in America. This will serve as an evaluation and a review of the activities in! this unit and give children a chance to practice art techniques as well as the art of cooperation.


1. Role Playing Native Americans. Native Americans are at greater risk from hunger and poverty than other groups in the population. To help students discover why, have them research one or more Indian nations in your state. Some children should research traditional ways of life with emphasis on food growing, gathering, and hunting. Also, look for information of the geographic region inhabited by each tribe. Have some children look for information on current conditions of each nation--where the people live, the size of the federal Indian reservation if there is one, their food and agriculture, sources of employment, amount of dependence on government food and income programs, health conditions, and other related topics. One possible resource is the American Indian Policy Review Commission Final Report (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977).

Use the information to create two short role plays. The first will focus on the food self-sufficiency of North America in the past. The second will show how life has changed since the coming of the white people. The skit should depict the poverty of modern Native Americans and their dependence on federal food and income programs through no fault of their own. Other high hunger-risk population groups—blacks, children, women, the elderly--could also be researched for role playing.

2. People Helping People. Take your group to visit several organizations that help hungry people. Some possible categories of organizations: (1) government services such as a food stamp office, a welfare office, or a community action agency; (2) private organizations providing direct services such as a soup kitchen, a food bank, a gleaners' organization, or a community garden program; and (3) self-help groups trying to change conditions causing hunger and poverty such as a neighborhood block organization, a community development corporation, a tenants' rights group, a welfare rights group, or a local political party.

Be sure that at least one of the organizations visited is staffed and run by representatives of the community it serves. When talking to the organization representatives, let them know that you would like them to paint an honest picture of their group for the class, including problems and weak spots. If a field trip cannot be arranged, invite representatives from two or three local groups to come to the classroom as guest speakers.



Activity one - Making ends meet

** important


Students will participate in a simulation game or fill out a worksheet in which they budget their incomes, trying to pay rent, utilities, and food costs for their "families" for a month.

Related Subjects

Mathematics, [Nutrition, Reading, Vocabulary.


1. To experience the difficulty of paying for housing, heat, and food on a poverty-level income.

2. To use comparative thinking to contrast the food-buying abilities of persons with different incomes.

3. To practice math.


Pencils, paper money in $5, $10, $20, and $100 denominations, enough for each player to start with the total shown in Step 1. (This money can come from any board game or you can make it yourself.) Rent Receipt Cards—one for each player, Utility Receipt Cards--one for each player. Weekly Food Tickets: Weekly Gourmet Meal Tickets—four for each player, Weekly Moderate Meal Tickets—four for each player, Weekly Subsistence Meal Tickets--four for each player. (Tickets and Receipt cards can be made from any paper or cardboard. The "value" of each depends on the Player Description Category of each Player. See Step 1 to determine how many of each category of Tickets and Receipt Cards are necessary.) Budgeting Worksheet~one for each player, Player Description Sheets--one for each player. (There are four categories of Player Descriptions. See Step 1 when determining how many of each are necessary for your group.) Samples of all needed materials are shown at the end of this activity.


Note: This activity can be used as an individual worksheet exercise instead of as a simulation. If you choose to eliminate the simulation game, you will need only one budgeting worksheet and one player description sheet for each player and no Rent Receipt cards, Utility Receipt cards, or Weekly Food Tickets. "Helpers" will not be needed.

1. In advance, prepare the materials for your class. You may want to have the children help you draw and cut the paper money, Weekly Meal Tickets, Rental Receipt Cards, and Utility Receipt Cards. First, plan the number of each item that you will need by determining how many children will be assigned to each game category.

Three people will be needed as Helpers to play the roles of Landlord, Utility Company Representative, and Food Store Worker. You will probably want to be the Food Store Worker yourself or have another older person do this as this role is a little more complex than the others. (It is described in Step 2.) The rest of the group members will be Players.

The Players should be divided into four categories. Each category represents one income level.

Category A: Have one player take the role of Stephen Stephenson, butler/housekeeper for Tom Trueblood, banking executive.

Category B: Have one or two players play the role of Sam Ohito, community college lecturer, husband, and father.

Category C: Have one half of the remainder of the Players play the role of Bertha Brown, fast food restaurant cashier, mother, and head of household.

Category D: Have the rest of the Players play the role of Millie Millichsky, recent widow of a retired shopkeeper. (In a group of 25, two will be Helpers if the teacher is the third Helper, one will play Category A, two—Category B, ten—Category C, ten--Category D.)

Chart of number and value of materials needed to play making ends meet

Note: This game points out the inequalities in incomes and food-buying abilities in the U.S. Since the focus of the game is on understanding the difficulties of caring for a family on a poverty-level income, the game does not attempt to simulate the actual proportions of Americans in each income category.

2. Explain to the group that you will be playing a simulation game based on budgeting and spending monthly income. Choose three persons to be Helpers. (One may be yourself.) The Landlord will take possession of the Rent Receipt Cards. She or he will be responsible for "selling" these to the Players (one per player; players must pay for rent appropriate to their category). The Utility Company Representative will take the Utility Receipt Cards and be responsible for selling these to the Players (one per player; category of Player and Receipt must be the same). The Food Store Worker will take the Weekly Meal Tickets and be responsible for selling these to the Players (four per player, category of Player and Meal Ticket must be the same)

Randomly divide the other students into Player Categories A to D in the proportions described in Step 1. Distribute a copy of the appropriate Player Description Sheet to each child. Ask the children to read their descriptions. Explain the different roles and answer any questions. Tell the Players to keep the sheets with them in case a Helper needs to see proof of category before completing a purchase.

3. Distribute the paper money to the Players so that each Player receives the correct amount of "monthly income." (If there is surplus money, you may want to give this to the Helpers to use as change.) Explain that each Player is responsible for taking care of his or her "family's" expenses with this sum. Distribute the Budgeting Worksheets (and pencils as needed). Go over these. Make sure all persons understand their roles, the costs of the necessities of rent, utilities, and food for their families, how to fill in the Budgeting Worksheet, and how to purchase the Weekly Meal Tickets, Rent Receipt Cards, and Utility Receipt Cards.

Each Player has the freedom to spend, save, or plan to spend this money in any manner she or he chooses, but the object of the game is to take care of a family's needs for a month.

4. Encourage Players to attempt to balance their budgets by planning them on paper before making any purchases. Prepare the Players for the possibility that some Players may not be able to afford to fill every category while others may have extra money. Begin the game.

5. When everyone has made all the purchases and filled in the worksheets as completely as possible, bring the group back together and discuss. Have one or two volunteers from each of the four categories go over their worksheets out loud with the group. Compare the different purchases and planned purchases. How did the members of Categories C and D spend their incomes? Were they able to provide a balanced diet for the full four weeks? How did the Players in Categories A and B spend their incomes? What did they plan to do with the money left over? Discuss how the game related to real life, what it would be like to live from month to month on a low income like the persons in Category C and D, what it would be like to live like the family in Category A, why there is so large a range of incomes, and possible ways to end the poverty and hunger of Americans.

6. Journals—Provide time for the children to place their worksheets and descriptions in their journals and to make entries about how it felt to try to budget income and take care of a family.

Action Ideas

(1) Find out about groups in your area that work on issues of concern to low-income people such as tenants organizations, co-op housing advocates, food buying clubs, etc.

(2) Research less expensive sources of food in your area such as food co-ops, food-buying clubs, and direct markets.


For younger students, provide the cost of monthly meals instead of weekly meals of each type for each category. Modify the budgeting Worksheet, omitting NOS. 6 to and 14 to 17, and replace with cost of monthly meals.

For older students, as a homework assignment ask the group to visit a food store and pretend to shop for a week's worth of food for their families.

Divide the group into four teams. Each team will represent one family of four. Team A--lviigrant farmworkers earning $6,000 a year, weekly food budget $40; Team 8--Textile mill workers, $12,000 a year, weekly food budget $55; Team C--Engineers, $35,UOO a year, weekly food budget $1()u (can afford to spend $40 a week to eat out); Team D—$100,000 a year, corporate executive, no limits on weekly food budget (no limits on money spent to eat out).

Explain that members of each team will be responsible for pricing items and coming up with a food list that could be purchased on one week's food budget.

Sample receipts, money and tickets

Sample receipts, money and tickets - continued



Pretend you are Stephen Stephenson (35 years old), butler and housekeeper for Tom Trueblood (42 years old), banking executive, and his family. The family includes wife and mother Elizabeth Trueblood (40 years old), who is not employed, and five children: James (15), Susanne (13), Sandra (11), Michael (9), and Patricia (6).

The Truebloods live in a large 20-room condominium in an elegant district of a city. Your job is to attend to the day-to-day household tasks and budgeting for the family.

Budgeting information

1. The Trueblood's monthly income is $15,000.

2. The monthly rent is $2,000. (This is often called a maintenance fee.)

3. Utility charges for one month in the winter are $350. (This includes heat, hot water, and electricity for lights and appliances.)

4. Cost of meals for one week:

• Gourmet meals for a week for the family cost $350. (This includes steak, lobster, special desserts, fine wines, imported cheeses, all varieties of vegetables, all types of dairy products, special bakery breads and pastries, all varieties of fruits, and all varieties of meat, fish, and poultry.)

• Moderately priced meals for a week for the family cost $140. (This includes ground beef, poultry, cheese, milk, in-season vegetables, in-season fruits, bread, grains, some snack foods, some desserts )

• Subsistence meals for a week cost $55. (This includes potatoes, beans, rice, bread, some soup, occasionally some other food varieties.)


Pretend you are Sam Ohito (34 years old), a part-time teacher at a nearby community college. Your wife Anita Ohito (36 years old) is an engineer. You have one daughter Lisa (10). You and your wife share most of the household responsibilities. You are usually in charge of monthly budgeting. You live in a modern two-bedroom apartment in a suburban area.

Budgeting information

1. The Ohito family's monthly income is $1,500.

2. Monthly rent is $600.

3. Utility charges for one month in the winter are $100. (This includes heat, hot water, and electricity for lights and appliances.)

4. Cost of meals for one week:

• Gourmet meals for the family for one week cost $150. (This includes steak, lobster, special desserts, fine wines, imported cheeses, all varieties of vegetables, all types of dairy products, special bakery breads and pastries, all varieties of fruits, and all varieties of meat, fish, and poultry.

• Moderately priced meals for the family for one week cost $60. (This includes ground beef, poultry, cheese, milk, in-season vegetables, in-season fruits, bread, grains, some snack foods, and some desserts.)

• Subsistence meals for one week cost $25. (This includes potatoes, beans, rice, bread, some soup, occasionally some other food varieties.)



Pretend you are Bertha Brown (40 years old), part-time cashier at a fast-food hamburger restaurant. You are divorced. You have three children: Jessica (11), Billy (8), and Leroy (6). You live in a small two-bedroom apartment in an old, run-down section of a large town.

Budgeting information

1. Monthly income is $350.

2. Monthly rent costs $175.

3. Utility charges for one month in the winter cost $40. (This includes heat, hot water, and electricity for lights and appliances.)

4. Cost of meals for one week:

• Gourmet meals for the family for one week cost $200. (This includes steak, lobster, special desserts, fine wines, imported cheeses, all varieties of vegetables, all types of dairy products, special bakery breads and pastries, all varieties of fruits, and all varieties of meat, fish, and poultry.)

• Moderately priced meals for the family for one week cost $80. (This includes ground beef, poultry, cheese, milk, in-season vegetables, in-season fruits, bread, grains, some snack foods, and some desserts.)

• Subsistence meals for one week cost $35. (This includes potatoes, beans, rice, bread, some soup, and occasionally some other food varieties.)



Pretend you are Millie Millichsky (70 years old). You are not employed. You are the widow of a retired shopkeeper who died three years ago. You live alone in a tiny apartment in a decaying section of an old City.

Budgeting information

1. Monthly income is $150.

2. Monthly rent costs $100.

3. Utility charges for one month in the winter cost $25. (This includes heat, hot water, and electricity for lights and appliances.)

4. Cost of meals for one week:

• Gourmet meals for one week cost $50. (This includes steak, lobster, special desserts, fine wines, imported cheeses, all varieties of vegetables, all types of dairy products, special bakery breads and pastries, all varieties of fruits, and all varieties of meat, fish, and poultry.)

• Moderately priced meals for one week cost $20. (This includes ground beef, poultry, cheese, milk, in-season vegetables, in-season fruits, bread, grains, some snack foods, and some desserts.)

• Subsistence meals for one week cost $10. (This includes potatoes, beans, rice, bread, some soup, and occasionally some other food varieties.)


Budgeting worksheet

1. Category _________________

Costs of possible expenses

2. Name of role you are playing

5. Monthly rent




6. Monthly utility charges




1 week

4 weeks

3. Size of family

7. Cost of gourmet meals



4. Monthly income

8. Cost of moderate meals




9. Cost of subsistence meals



Note: you have the choice of buying four weeks of one type of meal or buying different types of meals each of the four weeks.

Planned Expenses for One Month

10. Rent



11. Utilities






12. Week 1: Type___________



13. Week 2: Type___________



14. Week 3: Type___________



15. Week 4: Type___________



16. Total cost of planned expenses



17. Monthly income (line 4)



18. Less total planned expenses (line 16)


___________ (subtract)

19. Money left over for other living expenses



20. If you have left-over money, list some of the additional things you might buy. Examples: clothing, movies, books. If you could not afford all items, list the ones you decide not to buy.



Activity two - Old and hungry

*** key


Children will read and discuss a personal account of the life of a hungry aged American.

Related Subjects

Reading, Vocabulary, Nutrition.


1. To better understand how hunger affects many aged Americans.

2. To improve reading comprehension.

3. To become familiar with the concept of agism.

4. To build vocabulary.



Copies for everyone of the story that follows. It is reprinted by permission from Starving in the Shadow of Plenty by Loretta Schwartz-Nobel (New York: The Putnam Publishing Group, 1981).


1. Explain to the group that you will be reading and discussing a personal account of a hungry aged American. Discuss the older people students already know or are familiar with and whether or not these people might be hungry. Distribute copies of the story.

2. Ask the children to read the story.

3. When everyone has finished reading, discuss the story, what life is like for older people in the United States, the number of aged persons who go hungry (15 percent of the aged in America live under the poverty line), the causes of their hunger, possible solutions, and other groups of Americans that contain a large proportion of hungry persons.

Have the group consider the fact that there are two general groupings of hungry people. The solutions to each group's hunger will be different. The first group contains able-bodied people who cannot afford to feed themselves either because they cannot find jobs or because their jobs do not pay them well enough to live on. The second group contains people who are not able to feed themselves—the very young, the very old, some very disabled persons, and those who are very ill.

4. Journals--Provide time for putting the stories into journals and making entries about thoughts and feelings about the realities of hunger for aged Americans.


For younger students, read the story together. You can read it yourself or have the strongest readers help.


Old and hungry

Old and hungry

An emaciated woman pulled at the edges of a torn gray sweater; her bony fingers were red in the cold. She leaned heavily on the porch railing for support. Her body was still but her large bright blue eyes darted back and forth. Her head turned less quickly, and because she was so thin, the muscles and tendons of her neck stood out. She was waiting for food. As the car eased to the curb below her porch on Weld Hill Street in Boston, the woman began to come down the steps, with what seemed like almost frantic gestures. She was at the door of the car as the director of the Ecumenical Senior Citizens' lunch program turned off the engine.

"How are you today?" the director asked politely, handing her the packaged lunch and starting to close the car door before the woman could respond.

"I'm very weak," the woman said quickly. The words were clipped, the voice high and nervous, with a Boston-Irish accent. A [though she spoke well, as a person who was educated, there was fear in her voice and in everything else about her.

At 62, she was almost a living skeleton, her eyes were framed by huge dark circles, but the ashen skin, stretched tightly, still revealed a small, upturned nose and finely shaped lips which made it clear that she had once been beautiful.

"I need help. Will you come back? You must come back," she pleaded, her voice trembling.

"You know that we're very busy and we have a lot of other meals to deliver," the director answered as she turned the key in the ignition.

"I'll come back," I said as the car drove off.

I went back later that afternoon.

The woman explained to me that once she had done civil-service work in City Hall, then had served with the Boston School Committee as a legal secretary.

She lost her job several years ago, and after her unemployment compensation ran out she received welfare for a while. But then the Welfare Department told her that, due to cutbacks in their budget, they could no longer help her. They said she could work, and she said she wants to work, but no one will hire her.

"I've had no income and I've paid no rent for many months. My landlord let me stay. He felt sorry for me because I had no money. The Friday before Christmas he gave me ten dollars. For days I had had nothing but water. I knew I needed food; I tried to go out but I was too weak to walk to the store.

"I felt as if I was dying. I saw the mailman and told him I thought I was starving. He brought me food and then he made some phone calls and that's when they began delivering these lunches. But I had already lost so much weight that five meals a week are not enough to keep me going.

"I just pray to God I can survive. I keep praying I can have the will to save some of my food so I can divide it up and make it last. It's hard to save because I am so hungry that I want to eat it right away. On Friday, I held over two peas from the lunch. I ate one pea on Saturday morning. Then I got into bed with the taste of food in my mouth and I waited as long as I could. Later on in the day I ate the other pea.

"Today I saved the container that the mashed potatoes were in and tonight, before bed, I'll lick the sides of the container.

"When there are bones I keep them. I know this is going to be hard for you to believe and I am almost ashamed to tell you, but these days I boil the bones till they're soft and then I eat them. Today there were no bones."

Upstairs, the old double bed was filled with neatly stacked piles of papers. The woman told me that they were mostly copies of letters she had written to the Social Security office, the Department of Public Welfare, and to local church groups and lawyers, pleading for food. Social workers from local social service agencies claimed that they had done all that they could. They said that they tried repeatedly to help her but that she had failed to qualify or had been unwilling to follow their rules.

I walked into the small clean kitchen and opened the refrigerator. Except for the container with the bit of mashed potatoes left from lunch, it was empty. There was absolutely no food in any of the cupboards.

Copyright ©1981 by Loretta Schwartz-Nobel. Reprinted by permission.



1. Why is this woman hungry?

2. Seniors often have more trouble getting enough food than other adults do. Why do you think this is so?

3. Sometimes adults under 65 years go hungry, too. How is their problem different from this woman's? How is their problem the same?

4. Children in the United States are often victims of hunger. How is their problem different from this woman's? How is it the same?

Action Ideas

(1) Write to the Grey Panthers (3635 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104) asking about their projects to aid hungry older Americans.

(2) Research food stamps and other government programs for poor people.

(3) Find out what organizations in your community are doing to improve these programs for the aged residents of your area.


Activity three - Working and eating

** important


The children will look at unemployment statistics and consider why some groups of Americans have more trouble finding jobs than others, and how this relates to their ability to buy food. Students will complete a bar graph on unemployment.

Related Subjects

Graphing, Mathematics, Nutrition, Social St tidies.


1. To practice reading charts.

2. To develop analytical thinking.

3. To appreciate that some groups of Americans have more trouble getting jobs than others.

4. To understand the relationship between being employed and being able to buy food for oneself and one's family.


Copies for everyone of the "Working and Eating Graphing Worksheet." The statistics given come from the U.S. Department of Labor, Second Quarter, 1983.


1. Explain that the group will be looking at unemployment statistics broken down by people's race, sex and age. Discuss what unemployment is. Ask for the children's ideas on how unemployment is related to hunger. Explain that most people go hungry because they cannot afford to buy enough food. Being unemployed makes it very hard to have enough money to buy food for one's family. Ask for students' ideas on whether people of different sexes, races, or ages have different unemployment rates.

2. Distribute the graph worksheets. Help the children fill out the bar graph.

3. Discuss the statistics, what types of people have higher rates of unemployment, what types have lower rates, why this might be so, how the inequalities could be remedied, and how more people could be employed. Also, discuss the concepts of prejudice and discrimination.

4. Journals—Provide time for entries on how unemployment and hunger are related and on why some groups of Americans are more often hungry than other groups.


For older students, discuss these statistics on poverty from the 1980 U.S. census:

Category of People

Below Poverty Line






28.9 %

Native American


Asian/Pacific Island



23.1 %

The poverty line is an arbitrary income level developed by the Census Bureau. It is equal to three times a minimum cost emergency food plan. In 1980 a family of four earning less than $8,414 per year (1983, $9,862) was considered to be living below the poverty line.

Working and eating

People go hungry because they cannot afford to buy adequate food. This worksheet will show that some groups of people are more likely than others to be too poor to buy enough food. People who cannot find jobs often cannot afford to buy enough food. So unemployment and hunger often go together.

A. use the unemployment statistics to complete the bar graph below.

Working and eating

B. Study the income statistics below and answer the following questions.

Median Weekly Earnings of Full-Time Employed Persons





















1. Who earns more--Whites, Blacks, or Hispanics?_________________________________

2. Who earns the least--Whites, Blacks, or Hispanics? ______________________________

3. who earns more-males or females?___________________________________________

4. Why do you think there is such a big difference in incomes? _______________________



Activity four - Creating a group drawing

* useful


The group will create together a scene involving people who go hungry in the United States.

Related Subjects

Art, Nutrition, Social Studies.


1. To serve as a review and an evaluation of concepts learned in this unit.

2. To clarify perceptions of the existence of hunger in America.

3. To practice collaborating on a project.

4. To use art skills.


Butcher paper and marking pens or blackboard and chalk, paper, and pencils.


1. Explain to the children that they are all going to work together to create a scene depicting who's hungry in America. Review the groups of people who most commonly go hungry in this country, for example: children, seniors, women, Native Americans, Hispanics, Black Americans, and other people of color. The group should decide either to put all the types of people into common scene (for example, a soup kitchen or welfare office) or to work on four or five miniscenes, each showing the surroundings of one group of hungry Americans.

2. Have the group agree on a set of rules for working together on a drawing. Possible rules: (1) Each child will be responsible for drawing one thing that fits proportionately into the rest of the drawing. (2) No more than five children at the drawing at one time. (3) Children should know what they plan to draw before they take their turns. Also, decide on a fair order for children to come up and draw.

3. Start the drawing or have a volunteer start. Give everyone a chance to participate.

4. When the last child has contributed to the scene, discuss the results, how well the picture depicts the scene decided on, and how the process of group drawing worked.

5. Distribute writing materials as needed. Ask each child to write one or two paragraphs on one group of hungry Americans discussing who they are, where they live, why they are hungry, and possible ways to end hunger.

6. Journals--Allow time for the children to put their paragraphs in their journals and to make entries on how it felt to collaborate on a group drawing.

7. Evaluation—Discuss which activities in this unit were useful and which ones the children liked or disliked.


If you have completed Units IV and V, this is a good time to see how the students' perceptions of the causes of hunger have changed over time. Once again, ask the class to brainstorm the causes of hunger. Follow the procedure shown in Unit IV, Activity Two, "Brainstorming the Causes of Hunger." Afterward compare the results with those you saved from Unit IV, Activity Two.

Creating a group drawing


Unit VI - What can we do?


Unit VI concludes the Food First Curriculum with a positive approach to problem solving. Participating in this unit's activities will acquaint children with examples of positive change caused by ordinary people in our society working together. Students will be encouraged to think for themselves about the world around them, its problems, and visions for its future. They will have a chance to plan practical steps for making changes happen and consider ways to get involved with community groups working to end hunger and improve our food system. Wherever possible, teachers should focus the activities on local situations, local problems, strategies for local improvements, and local community organizations.

In many ways, this unit could be considered the most critical section of the entire curriculum. Thus it is of considerable importance for the teacher to plan ahead and save adequate time for working on these activities.

What can we do



1. Students will be introduced to examples of positive change brought about by everyday people in our society.

2. Children will become familiar with a variety of tactics for causing change.

3. Children will become more self-directed thinkers.

4. Children will understand that it is possible for people working together to end hunger and improve our food system.

5. Students will consider ways that they as individuals can participate in making changes.

6. Children will understand the concept of self -reliance.

Activity One

"What Do People Think?" is a useful exercise in which students create and distribute a survey questionnaire about our food system. This will improve communication skills and broaden perspectives on the way people in their community think.

Activity Two

"What Does Change Mean?" is a key activity showing children that change can occur. They will learn some historical examples of change and develop original ideas for making changes happen in their own world.

Activity Three

"Is Giving Food the Answer?" is an important activity for older students that will make them question whether giving people food is a solution to hunger. The group will participate in role-playing based on an actual 1976 food disaster in Guatemala following a major earthquake.

Activity Four

"Picture a Self-Reliant World" is an important lesson teaching the concept of self-reliance. Children will utilize creative thinking and art skills to draw a scene from a self-reliant world.

Activity Five

"Tactics of Change" is a set of three useful subactivities. In Activity Five-A, "Educating for Change," the class will choose a topic on which community members need more education and decide on a program to teach this subject. This exercise will teach a broad range of skills for working with people and for organizing work tasks. In Activity Five-B, "Letters Can Make a Difference," students will write letters to business officials and government representatives to encourage changes in our food system. They will learn how effective letter writing can be while practicing business letter composition. In Activity Five-C, "What Does a Boycott Do?" students will research and prepare group teach-ins on current boycotts using information from boycott advocates and from the manufacturers of the boycotted products.

Activity Six

"Planning for a Better World to Live In" is an important activity in which students will create stories on their conceptions of a better world and work in small groups to put together a logical sequence of steps for changing the present world into that world.

Activity Seven

"Affirming Each Other's Efforts for Change" is a key activity. It gives children a chance to think about how they would like to contribute to ending hunger and improving our food system while they practice the technique of affirming their classmates.

Activity Eight

"That's News to Me" is a useful activity in which children will create a group news magazine about our food system. This will help to review concepts learned throughout this curriculum while improving the communication skills used in writing and designing a news magazine. This exercise will help evaluate the children's progress in this unit and throughout the entire curriculum.


1. Visiting Examples of Positive Change. Plan a field trip for your group to sites where people have successfully worked together for change such as a food co-op, farmers market, cooperative bakery, community garden, or cooperative farm. For ideas on alternatives in your area, you might try contacting the publishers of A Guide to Cooperative Alternatives (Box 426, Louisa, VA 23093) or asking representatives of local government, people in religious social action committees, or members of nearby political groups.

2. Eating a Local Lunch. Have your group plan, prepare, and eat a meal using locally grown foods. Call or visit local farmers, farmers' markets, or food co-ops to determine what foods are available in that season in your area. This exercise will show the connection between personal actions and improving our food system because buying locally grown foods supports self-reliance.

3. Tying Together Our Interconnected Food System Ask students to sit in a circle. One by one, have the children contribute one factor affecting whether or not people around the world eat a balanced diet. Each idea should be written on a tag and pinned to the clothing of its contributor. Connect related factors with string. By the end of the exercise you will probably have created a string web demonstrating the interconnectedness of the world food system.


Activity one - What do people think?

*** key


The group will create a list of survey questions about food and hunger. Each child will ask several persons in his or her neighborhood to fill out the survey.

Related Subjects

Mathematics, Communication, Social Studies.


1. To learn how community members view the world food system and to assess the need for education about food issues.

2. To be able to analyze and compare different persons' perspectives.

3. To develop communication skills by putting together survey questions, disseminating questionnaires, and interpreting the survey results.


Copies of a survey that the group will design--enough for three or four for each person, pencils.


1. Tell the children that they are going to be responsible for creating a survey to find out other people's knowledge and attitudes about food and hunger. Explain that a survey is a study of a sample group of people's ideas and attitudes on a subject.

2. Go around the room and ask each student to contribute possible questions for the survey. Ask a volunteer to record these on the board. The questions should relate to interesting concepts learned in previous activities. Thus, the content of the survey should reflect the activities your class emphasized. Questions from a sample survey are shown at the end of this activity. You can add on to this survey or start a new one.

3. Have the group choose a list of eight to fifteen questions to be used in the survey.

4. Type - or carefully write out the survey, leaving spaces for the answers. Make copies so that there are three or four per person in the group.

5. Distribute the surveys. Have each person fill one out. Compare the results.

6. Ask the children to take two or three surveys home and find people in their neighborhoods of any age to answer the questions. Suggest that at least one surveyed person should not be a member of the surveyor's family. Ask that they bring the surveys back to class.

7. When the surveys are returned, compile the results. Make copies for everyone of a synopsis of how the different surveys compare.

8. Distribute the survey results and return each survey to the child who was originally responsible for it. Discuss how people's attitudes differ or are the same, how attitudes of community members differ from attitudes of group members, how well-informed people seem to be, whether there are any attitudes that the children would like to change, and how these could be changed.

Note: Save at least one copy of the synopsis of results for use in Activity Five-A "Educating for Change."

9. Journals--Give the children time to put their surveys in their journals and to make entries about what other community members think about food and hunger and on what they've learned about doing a survey.


For younger students, limit the surveys to five or six questions.

For older students, expand the number of questions to sixteen to twenty. Have each child survey five others, at least two of whom are not family members.

What do people think


What do people think?

Sample Survey


Age __________________ Occupation__________________________________________

1. What proportion of the world's population do you think goes hungry each night?


2. What proportion of the people of the United States do you think goes hungry each


3. What is the major cause of hunger?


4. Should all people be guaranteed a healthy diet? Why or why not?


5. Can hunger be ended? How?


6. What do you think is the biggest problem with our food system?


7. What do you think is the best thing about our food system?



Activity two - What does change mean?

*** key


The group will discuss changes members have witnessed, changes they have participated in, and changes they would like to see happen. They will plan a way to make a change occur.

Related Subjects

History, Social Studies, Nutrition.


1. To increase awareness of the meaning of change and of the possibility of making changes happen.

2. To learn historical examples of changes made by ordinary people.

3. To develop self-directed thinking.

4. To learn problem-solving techniques.


Blackboard and chalk, optional—paper and pencils.


1. Explain that you will be discussing the meaning of change. Ask the children for definitions of change. If your group works well together in small groups, you may want to divide it into teams of three to five children. Each child will have more chances to participate in the discussions if the small groups quietly discuss the topics independently.

2. Go around the room asking the children to describe changes they have witnessed in the classroom over the year. Then ask about changes they have witnessed in their neighborhood, state, country, and finally, world. You may want to have everyone write these down first and then discuss them—one level at a time. Allow discussion on any type of change, but try to concentrate on changes caused by people.

Note: Younger students may need help understanding the differences among states, countries, and the world.

3. Ask the children to think of changes that were for the better, changes that were for the worse, and changes that were good for some people and not for others.

4. Ask the children to think about situations in which they were recipients of another person's efforts to make changes. Ask them to think about situations in which they were the agents of change. Which type of situation was the most satisfying? Discuss.

5. Present to the group examples of positive change that have occurred due to people working together. Remind them that changes happen because people respond to problems that they see. Give some examples from underdeveloped countries. Point out that wherever there is hunger, one can find people who are working for change. Find out about movements by people in your area and tell of successful efforts by local farmers, farmworkers, or consumers to improve the food system. Are there some types of people who might not like these changes?

Examples: In the last 25 years the people of China, one-quarter of all the people in the world, have succeeded in virtually ending hunger in their poverty-stricken country. In the 1960s Americans were outraged to discover the existence of more than 30 million hungry people in their own country. These citizens succeeded in convincing Congress to legislate a group of programs (such as food stamps and the Woman, Infants, and Children program) to help people who cannot afford to feed themselves. The Reagan administration has cut back many of these programs.

6. Ask what the children would like to see changed in their classroom or school. Try to focus on situations related to food.

Examples: the degree of waste in the school lunch room, the availability of free meals to children from families with low incomes, the amount of locally grown food being used in the school cafeteria, the quality and quantity of foods served in the cafeteria. (This is a good chance to practice brainstorming as described in Unit IV, Activity Two.)

Make a list on the board of the changes the children would like to see. Have the class prioritize which would be the best ones for the group to work for, keeping in mind the importance of the issues and the practical possibilities of making the changes happen.

7. Have the children come up with a plan of action for one change discussed in Step 6. Allow them to carry through the plan, possibly at a later time.

8. Ask what things the children would like to see changed on a larger scale than within the school. Write these on the board. Try to relate local actions to the changes.

9. Journals—Provide time for the children to make entries in their journals about making changes happen.


Activity three - Is giving food the answer?

** important


The children will participate in role-plays showing how U.S.-based aid organizations can affect the lives of hungry persons, based on a 1976 food disaster in Guatemala following a major earthquake.

Related Subjects

Drama, Nutrition, Global Studies, Geography, Science.


1. To understand that food giving does not prevent hunger in the long run.

2. To realize that givers of aid must be very sensitive to local needs.

3. To appreciate that hungry people are capable and willing to work to free themselves from hunger.

4. To practice the dramatic skills involved in role-playing.

5. To learn some information about the country of Guatemala.


World map; copies of Directions and Role Description Sheets for each participant in the role-plays. (There are three different role descriptions. The number of each needed depends on the size of the group and how you decide to break down the roles in Step 2. The roles are Guatemalan "Small Farmers Cooperative" members, U.S. "We Give to You—Charity" workers, and U.S. "We Listen to You—Development" workers. Role descriptions can be found at the end of this activity.) Optional—paper, pens, or pencils.


Note: This activity may be difficult for younger students to grasp.

1. Explain that you will be role-playing a food disaster that actually happened in Guatemala. Have a volunteer find Guatemala on the map. Discuss what the children know about Guatemala, adding information you feel is relevant. (Guatemala is a small Spanish-speaking nation in Central America with a large Native American population. It is mostly rural and agricultural, producing export crops such as coffee, cotton, bananas, and sugar. The climate is tropical. Much poverty and hunger exist. In 1976 a major earthquake struck Guatemala, causing destruction and havoc.)

2. Divide the group into teams for the role-plays. There will be two role-plays, each involving two teams. The first involves Guatemalan "Small Farmers cooperative" members (ten to fifteen children) and U.S. "We Give to You—Charity" workers (three to five children). The second involves Guatemalan "Small Farmers Cooperative" members (ten to fifteen children) and U.S. "We Listen to You—Development" workers (three to five children). The participants in each role-play will try to solve the Guatemalan people's hunger problem.

3. Distribute the Role Description Sheets for the first role-play. Ask the participants to silently read their roles. The role-play will probably work better if the children keep their role descriptions secret from members of the other team.

4. When all have read their parts, have the members of each team meet with one another to discuss their roles and plan a strategy for interacting with the other team. If possible, have the teams meet in separate rooms. Set a time limit for this session, perhaps ten to twenty minutes.

5. When time is up, end the strategy session. You may want to give a five-minute notice beforehand. Arrange an area for the two teams to meet together and negotiate. Set a time limit for this, perhaps fifteen to twenty minutes. Start the role-play.

6. When time is up, end the negotiating session. A gain, you may want to give five-minute notice. Hold a debriefing session in which participants and observers can discuss the roles, the emotions felt, the dialogue, the results of the negotiating session, and what they've learned about food aid.

7. Repeat Steps 3 to 6 for the second role-play, distributing the Role Description Sheets to the second team of Guatemalan "Small Farmers Cooperative" members and to the U.S. "We Listen to You—Development" team.

8. Afterward, discuss how the two role-plays compared, the differences between the two types of aid organizations, whether or not food giving is effective in lessening or preventing hunger, when it might be appropriate to give food to people, and what types of actions Americans could take that would be most helpful to hungry people in other lands.

9. Optional--You may want to ask the children to write a few paragraphs on what they have learned about aid giving and hunger and on their ideas about how Americans can help hungry people in other lands.

10. Journals--Give the students time to put their role descriptions and their essays in their journals and to make entries on how it felt to participate in the role-play.


Is giving food the answer ?


1. Read your role description. Pretend to be one of the people described.

2. Meet with the other members of your team for a strategy session.

3. a. If you are a Guatemalan, decide how to negotiate with the U.S. aid organization. b. If you are from the U.S., decide how to negotiate with the Guatemalan small farmers cooperative.

4. Choose who will speak and what they will say.

5. Meet with the other team for a negotiation session. The purpose of the role-play is to solve the problem of hunger in Guatemala.


Role Description

You are all small farmers who have joined together to improve your earnings by sharing tools and information and by helping each other.

Your ages vary from 18 to 60 years old. You all have families to care for. Some of you are men. Some of you are women. Most have many children.

This fall you had an excellent harvest. You stored away many pounds of grain to sell throughout the year.

Your village was just hit by an enormous earthquake. Most of your houses and barns were almost destroyed. Your stores of grain are covered by rubble and debris.

If you could only get to your stored grain, you could feed your family and sell some of the grain to raise money to rebuild your homes.

Most of you no longer have tools with which to dig out your grain.

Your children are hungry because there is not much food available in your village. So are you.

Sometimes people from other countries say they want to help. They act as if they think they know everything, but they seem to have no understanding of what life in your village is really like.

When other people give food away in your village, you cannot find anyone who will pay to buy your grain—even the small amount that you can get to. This makes you poorer and hungrier.

You wish the "Americans" would listen to you. If only they would give you tools so that you could dig out your grain and rebuild your homes! You could tell them which kinds you needed. If they would lend you the money to buy tools, that would help, too. You could repay them after recovering from the earthquake.



Role Description

You are a group of people from all over the United States. Your ages range from 20 to 40 years old. Some of you are men. Some of you are women.

You work for "We Give to You--Charity" because you care about hungry people. You believe giving food to people is the most direct way to end hunger and that "We Give to You" is the best of all the aid organizations. It-has been feeding people around the world for 50 years. You came to Guatemala because there has recently been a huge earthquake. It destroyed many homes and farms and caused many people to go hungry.

You think the people of Guatemala are nice, but you do not think they know as much as people from the U.S.A. do. You think Guatemalans should be very grateful for your help. You do not like it when they act displeased or when they try to tell you how to do your job. (After all "We Give to You" has had years of experience and is an expert at its work. These people are only peasants with little education.)

You are kind people. You believe you are doing the most generous kind of work possible.

Your group has brought tons of grain to Guatemala that you plan to feed to as many people as you possibly can.



Role Description

You are a group of people from all over the United States. Your ages range from 20 to 40 years old. Some of you are men. Some of you are women. You work for "We Listen to You" because you care about hungry people. You think hunger is unjust and is an outrage because we all live in a world of abundance. You want to help people to feed themselves.

You came to Guatemala because there has recently been a huge earthquake. It destroyed many homes and farms and caused many people to be hungry.

"We Listen to You" tries to listen to the local people wherever it tries to help. You believe that people are the best judges of their own needs. It is your job to use your skills to help these people plan what they need to do. Your organization's money can help these people to accomplish their goals.

You think it is important for the Guatemalan people to share in making the decisions about what your organization will be doing because these decisions will affect their lives.

Your organization has come to Guatemala to do whatever it can to help end hunger for the earthquake victims. It is important to you to see that this is done in the best, most efficient, most practical manner.


Activity four - Picture a self-reliant world



Students will learn about self-reliance and draw pictures of a scene of a self-reliant community.

Related Subjects

History, Art, Geography, Science.


1. To appreciate the concept of self-reliance and how it has contributed to American history.

2. To creatively think about self-reliant development.

3. To develop art techniques.


Drawing paper, drawing or painting materials, and blackboard and chalk or butcher paper and marking pen.


1. Discuss the concept of self-reliance. Ask the children to think about historic examples of self-reliant American families and communities. Ask for examples of self-reliance in their own families' lives, such as planting a vegetable garden, ho me -canning of foods, ho me -sewn clothes, hand-crafted toys, chopping wood for a wood-burning stove, or doing one's own cleaning or repairing.

2. Contrast the concept of dependence with the concept of self-reliance. Make a two-column chart on the board with the headings: "Self-Reliance" and "Dependence." List each example of self-reliance discussed in Step 1, historic and current.

3. For each example of self-reliance in the first column, have the children give an example of dependence in the second column. These might include eating at a large global fast-food restaurant such as McDonald's, buying fresh vegetables in the winter shipped from South America and sold at a large supermarket chain, or purchasing a shirt from a large chain department store such as Sears that was manufactured in Taiwan by a transnational corporation.

4. When everyone understands self-reliance, ask the children to picture what one community might look like in a self-reliant world. Distribute drawing or painting materials. Ask each child to create a scene from a community in a self-reliant world. Encourage creativity in choices of what to portray and in methods of expression.

5. When everyone is finished, share the drawings with the group. Discuss the scenes, what is displayed, how this relates to self-reliance, and how the scene is different from or similar to communities the children live in.

6. Journals--Allow the children time to put their drawings into their journals and to make entries on self-reliance.


Activity five - Tactics of change


This activity contains three subactivities, each designed to teach one method that can be used in working for positive change in the food system.


A. Educating for change


Students will plan and carry out some type of educational program on a topic concerning hunger and our food system.

Related Subjects

Art, Creative Writing, Language Arts, Communication.


1. To gain experience in analyzing a need in a community and responding to it.

2. To appreciate the usefulness of education in working for positive change.

3. To improve communication skills.

4. To utilize graphic abilities.

5. To develop organizational skills for working with other people to plan and conduct a program.


Survey results from Activity One, "What Do People Think?" Blackboard and chalk or butcher paper and marking pen. Other materials will depend on the type of program chosen.


1. Explain that the group will be planning and carrying out on an educational program on a topic related to food and hunger. There are many possibilities. The group will choose a topic on which community members (children, adults, or both) need to be educated and will then choose a method for getting across their message.

Possible subjects: food advertising (what it really means), what has happened to America's farmers, why scarcity of food and overpopulation are not the causes of hunger, who is hungry in the U.S.A., or any of the subjects covered by activities in this curriculum. Possible methods: drawing and displaying posters, putting on a play, staging a puppet show, presenting a lecture, holding discussions, compiling and distributing fact sheets. You might want to work Activity Eight, "That's News to Me," into this process.

2. Go over the survey results from Activity One, if available. Choose one child to write the ideas on the blackboard or on butcher paper. Ask the children for possible topics on which to educate other people. (This is a good chance to use brainstorming as described in Unit IV, Activity Two.)

3. Discuss the list of possible topics. Choose one.

4. Discuss possible methods for putting across the message chosen. Again, have one child write down the ideas.

5. Choose the type of program the group will take on. This can be an event that community members (or fellow schoolmates) are invited to attend or a project that involves distributing information to individuals in the community (or school). Keep in mind time constraints, the skills and abilities of students, and the effectiveness of each possible method of educating others.

6. When the method is chosen, have the group plan the steps necessary to carry it out. Assign children to take part in each of these steps.

7. Prepare and put on the educational program.

8. Afterwards, discuss the process, the program, the success of the task, and the value of education in working for change.

9. Journals—Provide time for journal entries on education as a tactic of change and on how it felt to work on an educational project.


B. Letters can make a difference


Students will write business letters to government representatives and business officials, encouraging changes in our food system.

Related Subjects

Writing, Language Arts, Social Studies.


1. To develop communication skills for writing business letters.

2. To appreciate the effectiveness of letter-writing campaigns in bringing about positive change.

3. To express one's feelings about improving our food system to someone who can have an effect on the issue.


Plain white writing paper or lined paper for writing letters, pens, envelopes, and stamps.


1. Explain that the students will be writing letters about changing our food system and sending them to business officials or government representatives. Each child will choose a topic and decide to whom to send the letter. Then she or he will write the business letter. You might want to read examples of letters about change, such as those found in the letters-to-the-editor section of a newspaper.

2. Discuss the possible topics. You may want to have a volunteer record the suggestions on the blackboard. Possible subjects include complaints to corporations about deceptive packaging or advertising; support to corporations about truthful, high-quality packaging or advertising methods; suggestions to U.S. politicians about farm programs, corporate business regulations, food stamps, social security, or one of the many other topics covered in this curriculum.

3. Discuss possible recipients of these letters. Record these, also. These include managers of food manufacturing companies, managers of supermarket chains, the president of the United States, members of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives, the governor of your state, members of the state legislature, or local government officials.

4. Ask each child to choose a topic on which to write a letter and to decide to whom to send it. Go around the room and have each child quickly tell his or her plan to the group.

If many children have chosen the same topic, you may want to discuss having all the children write to the same person on the same subject. (Of course, each child would still write an original letter.) Letters sent in large numbers often have greater influence in changing policy.

5. Review the correct form for writing a business letter. Most good language arts books have sections on this. The letters should include:

• Return address

• Date

• Mailing address

• Salutation

• Body

--Description of problem

--Who is affected



--Reason for writing

--Suggested solution

• Closing

Note: Manufacturing company addresses are usually on their packages. Government addresses can be found in the phone book or by consulting with a reference librarian. Be sure to avoid sexist salutations such as "Dear Sir." Use "Dear Sir or Madam," "Dear Madam or Sir," or "Dear Business Manager," instead.

6. Distribute letter-writing materials. Ask every child to write at least one letter. You may want to have the children write rough drafts first to smooth out content, punctuation, and spelling before making final copies to be mailed.

7. Mail the letters.

8. Provide time for journal entries on letter writing as a tactic of change and how it felt to write a letter about change.

Note: You might want to prepare a bulletin board area for responses to the letters.



C. What does a boycott do?


Students will research current boycotts to learn why people are boycotting specific products and why the manufacturers of the products disagree with the tactic.

Related Subjects

Reading, Nutrition, Science, Geography, Communication.


1. To learn what boycotts are and how effective they can be as a method of working for change.

2. To develop research skills.

3. To improve communication skills for presenting information to a large group.

4. To practice comparative thinking.


Information on several current boycotts from advocates of the boycotts and from manufacturers of the boycotted products (see Step 1 to determine how many copies of each are needed), paper, and pencils.


1. In advance, research current boycotts. To do this you might ask representatives from food co-ops, antihunger organizations, or religious social justice committees for suggestions. (The Grapevine is a boycott information newsletter available from 217 S. Hyland Street, Ames, Iowa 50010.) Choose one or two boycotts for your class to study.

Write to the organization advocating each boycott for information on the boycott, reasons for the action, and its effectiveness to date. (Since most of these organizations have low budgets, you might send a donation to cover copying costs if you request multiple copies.) Also, write to the manufacturer of each boycotted product line for information on the product, information on the boycott from their perspective, and a discussion of their labor, manufacturing, and marketing policies. Ask for multiple copies for the class. You may want to have the children themselves write to the companies and the groups which advocate boycotts.

When you have received the boycott information, make sure you have an adequate number of copies of each type of material for your class. If you plan to study two boycotts, divide the class into four teams. Team 1 will research the first boycott from the advocates' information. Team 2 will research the first boycott from the company's information. Team 3—second boycott, advocates' information. Team 4--second boycott, company's information. (If you study only one boycott, only two teams will be necessary.)

2. Explain that you will be learning about boycotts as a method of working for change. Explain that a boycott is a refusal to purchase a company's products in order to express disapproval of the company's actions. The goal is to pressure the company to change its policy. Discuss boycotts with which the children may already be familiar.

3. Divide the group into the appropriate number of teams (as described in Step 1). Distribute paper and pencils as needed and the appropriate set of boycott information materials to each child. Ask each team to read the information and prepare a group presentation to be given to the rest of the class.

4. When the reports are ready, start with the first boycott. Have volunteers from Team 1 present information on the boycott. Then have volunteers from Team 2 report. Allow time for questions and answers. Repeat with the second boycott.

5. Afterwards, discuss each boycott, which side seemed more credible, whether students plan to support the boycott, ways to purchase alternative products, whether students want to get involved in helping to publicize the boycott, whether the boycott seems to be an effective way of making change, and other possible methods of working for change for that particular problem.

6. Journals--Give the children time to make journal entries about the effectiveness of boycotts as a tactic of change and on what they have learned about the researched boycotts.

Suggested boycott to research:

All products manufactured by Campbell's Soup Co. (Camden, NJ 08101) or its subsidiaries. Advocates: FLOC (Farm Labor Organizing Committee, 714-1/2 S. Saint Clair Street, Toledo, OH 43604). Reason: More than 2,000 farmworkers are on strike in tomato fields belonging to growers who have contracted out to Campbell's Soup. They are striking for the right to be recognized as a union. Their problems include low wages, dangerous working conditions, inadequate housing, and child labor practices. FLOC charges Campbell's with preventing negotiations between the processor (Campbell's), the growers, and the farmworkers.


For older students, organize a debate between individuals or teams researching opposing sides of a boycott.


Activity six - Planning for a better world to live in

** important


The children will write stories describing their conceptions of a better world and prepare a step-by-step plan for the changes necessary to convert the real world into that world.

Related Subjects

Creative Writing, Social Studies.


1. To view the future in a positive manner.

2. To organize steps into a logical sequence for completing a task.

3. To practice creative writing.


Paper, pens or pencils.


1. Ask the group to think positively about the future. Have everyone imagine how things would be different in a more ideal world. List on the board some of the aspects they should be considering, such as food, energy, housing, jobs, leisure time, and a system of government. Consider what rights would be guaranteed to all—freedom of speech, the right to free education, the right to eat, or any other rights.

In addition, ask them to think about how people would act -- for example, how would they treat each other, what would their goals and ideals be, what kind of work would they do, would they try to work together cooperatively, would they aim to improve their society for everyone's benefit.

Note: You may want to divide the class up into teams of four to eight children to quietly discuss these ideas.

2. Distribute writing materials as needed. Ask each child to write a short story telling about a better world to live in. Encourage creativity in characters and plot.

3. When the stories are finished, bring the group back together. Have volunteers share their stories with the class. Allow time for questions.

4. Explain to the group that students will now plan the changes necessary to convert the present world into a more ideal one. Divide the group into teams of three to five children, grouping students with similar visions of the ideal together. Ask each team to come up with a one-year plan and a long-term plan with a step-by-step list of changes that would need to occur.

5. When all the teams have finished their plans, bring the group back together. Have volunteers share their plans with the group. Discuss.

6. Journals--Provide time for the children to put their stories and plans into their journals and to make entries on how it felt to make plans with their team.



Activity seven - Affirming each other's efforts for change

*** key


Each child will affirm another child by thinking of one thing that she or he would like to give to the other child to help that child work for change.

Related Subjects

Social Studies.


1. To learn about and practice affirmation, a process that helps people express positive feelings about each other.

2. To consider changes in which you would like to participate.




1. Have the group sit in a circle. Ask the children to think about a way in which they would like to work for change. Discuss the idea of using whatever you already have and starting where you already are to work for change.

For example, students can work for change by studying topics that will help them build a better world; people who work in factories, offices, or stores can try to make their workplace a better place; families can work to become more self-reliant, democratic, or loving.

2. Ask one child to describe how she or he would like to work for change. Demonstrate what an affirming response is by saying one thing that you would like to give this child to help him or her work for change. Explain that affirming is a way of sharing positive feelings with someone.

Affirming each other's efforts for change

Examples of affirming responses: If someone wanted to help new farmers get a start in farming, someone else might offer to write a letter to a government official asking for legislation to help new farmers buy land. If someone wanted to help residents of an Indian reservation start a food co-op, someone else might offer to help research the history and customs of that tribe. If someone wanted to make the classroom a more cooperative place, someone else might offer to teach the group a game using cooperation.

3. Describe one way you would like to work for change. Have a third person state what she or he would like to give you to help you. Then have this child describe one way she or he would like to work for change and have a different child make an affirming response.

4. Repeat until all children have affirmed someone and described how they would like to work for change. You might want to break the group into circles of six to eight students to do this.

5. Journals--Allow time for journal entries on how it felt to practice affirmation and on thoughts about working for change.



Activity eight - That's news to me

* useful


The group will create a newsmagazine or newspaper about our food system.

Related Subjects

Art, Creative Writing, Nutrition, Geography, Science, Social Studies.


1. To serve as an evaluation of concepts learned in this unit and in the entire curriculum.

2. To review information gained from all the activities in this curriculum.

3. To develop the communication/journalism skills of writing, editing, and designing layouts.

4. To practice art techniques.


Paper, pencils or pens, drawing paper, drawing materials, scissors, glue, two sheets of oaktag, string or yarn, a hole punch, and butcher paper and marking pen or blackboard and chalk.


1. Explain that the group is going to publish a newsmagazine or a newspaper about our food system. Help the group make a list on the board of topics that could be covered.

Examples: hunger in the United States, loss of farms, purpose of food advertising, our connection with people around the world, causes of hunger, and solutions to hunger.

You may also want to include fictional sections, humor, comics, and other special features. Place a special emphasis on the information gained from this unit by planning to include a number of articles on people working for change.

2. Have the group decide what topics it will cover and choose a name for the newsmagazine.

3. Match each child to one of the topics. Remember to have someone work on a title page and a table of contents.

4. Distribute the materials. Ask the children to write their parts and/or draw illustrations. Encourage everyone to work together and help each other.

5. When finished, have the children share their work with the group. Discuss.

6. The finished product can be bound together by punching two holes in the left margins of each of the two sheets of oaktag and in each page of the newsmagazine and then tying them together with the yarn or string.

7. If possible, make the finished product available to other classes and other people to help them learn about food and hunger.

8. Journals--Provide time for journal entries about making a newsmagazine.

9. Evaluation:

• Ask the group to think about what has been learned from the activities they have covered in this curriculum. Make a list on the butcher paper of lessons learned, including both skills and information.

• Afterward, ask the children to think about how they could use the information and skills listed. Make a list of these thoughts in another column. Use lines to connect items in the "learned" list with those in the "will use" list.

10. As a final exercise, administer the posttest found on page 5. Compare the posttest results with the original answers to evaluate how students have learned and grown through using this curriculum. Discuss.

Food news


Resource guide

Information for educators in general

1. Fyson, Nance Lui. The Development Puzzle. 6th ed. London: Centre for World Development Education (Parnell house, 25 Wilton Road, SW 1), 1979.

This book contains much valuable information on teaching development in schools in a way that will give students a good understanding of third world problems. It has extensive resource lists but little information about the roots of underdevelopment. Solutions other than increased foreign aid are not discussed.

2. Harty, Sheila. Hucksters in the Classroom: A Review of Industry Propaganda in Schools. Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Responsive Law (available from Education Exploration Center, P. O. Box 7339, Minneapolis, MN 55407), 1979.

This very interesting book explores the expanding role of materials produced by corporations in public school classrooms. Part I reveals the use of corporate materials on nutrition, energy, economics, and the environment. Part II offers specific proposals for reform.

* 3. McGinnis, James and Kathleen. Educating for Peace and Justice. St. Louis, Mo.: The Institute for Peace and Justice (4144 Lindell, #400,63108), 1980. This is an excellent guide for teachers with information on teaching varying age groups important concepts such as nonviolence, equality, and participation in social justice. The "National Dimensions" section is particularly useful and contains materials on institutional violence, mutual education, racism, agism, sexism, poverty, etc. Other sections are "Global Dimensions," "Religious Dimensions" (from a Christian perspective), and "Teacher Background Readings." There are many additional teacher resources listed.

* Indicates resources highly recommended by the author

4. Wolf-Wasserman, ,Miriam, and Hutchinson, Linda. Teaching Human Dignity: Social Change Lessons for Everyteacher. Minneapolis, Minn.: Education Exploration Center (P. O. box 7339, 55407), 1978.

This is a collection of essays written by and for teachers containing many good ideas for new approaches to teaching. There is an excellent list of resources, such as children's books, media and songbooks, and resource centers.


Teaching elementary students

1. Cramer, Judith Kern. I Cooked It Myself!: Nutrition—A Cookbook/Handbook. Windsor, Calif.: Resources for Communication (351 Mark West Station Road, 95492), 1980.

This is a beautifully illustrated handbook with nutrition information and easy step-by-step recipes. It provides helpful information on how to cook with elementary school classes.

2. Food Comics. San Francisco, Calif.: Educomics (Educomics, P. O. Box 40246, 94110), 1980.

This is a collection of comic strips by different authors including fantasy stories for young children. The other comics are written for secondary school students and adults. Some of the stories are "The Agribiz Game," "Hungry for Fairness" (an excellent look at some of the myths of hunger), and "When Socrates Drinks, Everybody Drinks" (a story on problems with pesticides).

*3. Children and Ads. Milwaukee, Wis.: Economic Justice Program of the Justice and Peace Center (1016 N. 9th St., 53233), 1977.

* Indicates resources highly recommended by the author

This booklet provides excellent activities for teaching children to analyze advertisements and understand their purpose. There are also short sections on background information for teachers and resources including films, books, and groups.

4. Goodwin, Mary T., and Polden, Gerry. Creative Food Experiences for Children. Washington, D.C.: Center for Science in the Public Interest (1755 "S" Street, N.W., 20009), 1980.

This book is full of ways to involve children in activities relating to food. It has sections on the basic food groups, recipes, holiday snacks, how food study relates to other curricula, and additional resources for teachers and children.

5. Kutzner, Patricia L., and Stoerkel, Linda. Have You Ever Been Hungry? A Church School Curriculum Guide for Grades 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8. New York: United Church Press (287 Park Avenue South, 10010), 1978.

One of the few resources for elementary teachers that realistically deals with the causes of hunger, this book provides excellent background information for teachers as well as many activity plans. Unfortunately, it does not deal with solutions to hunger other than donations to relief organizations. Much of the material has a Christian focus.

6. Lamy, Steven L. Comparative World Issues for Grades 1-12. Denver, Colo.: Center for International Relations (Graduate School of International Studies, University of Denver, 80208), 1981.

This very creative curriculum contains activities geared toward varied age groups on inequality, development and technology, human rights, and human needs. The inequality and human rights sections are particularly useful. Unfortunately, the nutrition lesson does not deal with the roots of hunger.

*7. McGinnis, Kathleen and James. Parenting for Peace and Justice. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books (10545), 1981.

This beautiful book on educating children has many parts that are just as applicable to classrooms as they are to homes. There are chapters on stewardship/simplicity, nonviolence (very useful), helping children deal with violence in our world? multiculturalization, sex-role stereotyping, social action, and peace. It lays a foundation for having children live a world of democracy, justice, and equality. Some sections deal with Christian religious teachings.

8. Melcher, Joan. Connections: A Curriculum in Appropriate Technology for the Fifth and Sixth Grades. Butte, Mont.: National Center for Appropriate Technology (P. O. Box 3838, 59701), 1980.

This well-designed manual contains several activities on food as well as on other areas such as conservation, transportation, and solar energy. It teaches facts well, although there is not much material on social and political issues

9. Peterson, Diane L. A Basic Curriculum Guide for School Gardens. Contra Costa County, Calif.: Cooperative Extension of Contra Costa County, n.d.

This guide for K-8 teachers suggests a procedure for setting up a school garden and integrating this into a traditional curriculum with activities in math, language arts, social science, health/nutrition, and science. The appendix contains charts, diagrams, references, a glossary, and interesting lesson plans.

10. Preusch, Deb and others. Red Ribbons for Emma. (1981, New Mexico Energy Collective, New Seed Press, P. O. Box 9488, Berkeley, CA 94709.)

This is the story of a Navajo Indian woman who herds sheep in New Mexico. It tells of how a large power company disrupted the ecology of the land and how she and others fought back to preserve their land.

11. Prutzman, Priscilla burger; Leonard, M.; Bodenhamer, Gretchen; and Stern, Lee. The Friendly Classroom for a Small Planet: A Handhook on Creative Approaches to Living and Problem Solving for Children. Wayne, N.J.: Avery Publishing Group, Inc. (available from Children's Creative Response to Conflict Program, P. O. Box 271, Nyack, NY 1(J960), 1978.

This book offers a wealth of ideas on how to teach cooperation, nonviolence, and other democratic processes to children. It gives suggestions on how to run a classroom and has many excellent activities for teaching communication, conflict resolution, and decision-making skills.

12. Unlearning Indian Stereotypes: A Teaching Unit for Elementary Teachers and Children's Librarians. New York: Racism and Sexism Resource Center for Educators Division of the Council on Interracial Books for Children (1841 Broadway, 10023), 1981.

This is an excellent presentation on common stereotypes found in children's literature and suggestions on how to avoid use of American Indian stereotypes. Several teachers give examples of activities developed in their classrooms.

13. Energy, Food, and You: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum Guide for Elementary Schools. Washington: Washington State Office of Public Instruction (Office of Environmental Education, Educational School District No. 121), first draft 1977.

This is a large book with many activities for elementary classes on energy and food and some very good lessons on farming, packaging, processing, and advertising. There is much replication of ideas from activity to activity.

*14. Weiss, Ellen, and Pettit, Nance. Eclipse of the Blue Moon Foods. Rev ed. Nashville, Tenn.: Cooperative Food Education Project (2606 Westwood Dr., 37204), 1978.

This excellent and creative publication contains three manuals: A Guide to Teaching Food Education is an 18-lesson nutrition unit for fifth and sixth grades; A Food Education Student Workbook provides workspace for students; and A Nutra Trek: That Boldly Goes Where No Families Have Gone Before is a family pamphlet for good eating and food buying.

*15. Wilson, Wendy, and Jacobson, Michael. Food Scoreboard. Rev. ed. Washington, D.C.: Center for Science in the Public Interest (1501 16th Street, N.W., 20036), 1980.

This highly readable booklet discusses basic nutrition from the perspective of nine-to thirteen-year-olds. Chapters describe members of food categories such as beverages, soups, protein foods, etc. It provides numerical scores corresponding to nutritional quality for many common foods ranging from negative scores for soft drinks to a high score for liver.

*16. African Studies Handbook for Teachers 2nd ed. Worcester, Mass.: University of Massachusetts/Worcester Teaching Corps, n.d.

This is an excellent handbook for teaching elementary students an identification with and understanding of African people. Creative classroom-tested lessons deal with preconceptions of Africans, perceiving Africa as a diverse continent, identifying with African children, identifying with Africans experiencing social change, respecting African institutions, and appreciating African art forms. There is a large annotated bibliography.


Teaching secondary students

1. Co-op Food Facts. Winona, Mich.: Food Learning Center (114-½ E. 2nd Street, 55987), n.d.

This packet contains a set of fact sheets for nutrition education. All the food groups are covered, with information on nutrition, buying tips, storage, eating tips, origins of foods, etc.

2. The Case of the Sweet Roll: A Nanny Natchez St. Adventure. Seattle, Wash.: Hunger Action Center (2524 16th Street South, 98144), 1981.

This sharp mixture of script and comic-book illustrations chronicles the adventures of Nanny of Natchez Street, protector of the powerless. In this episode she saves Gus from the ravages of overconsuming sugar and explores the importance of sugar in sweetening corporate profits.

* 3. Katz, Deborah, and Goodwin, Mary T. Food: Where Nutrition, Politics and Culture Meet. Washington, D.C.: Center for Science in the Public Interest (1501 16th Street, N.W., 20036), 1976.

This excellent activity book is aimed at junior high through adult levels. Background information is combined with exercises stressing student participation. There are action-oriented sections on eating patterns, nutrition, consumer issues, food supply, hunger in the United States, and world hunger.

*4. McGinnis, James R. Bread and Justice: Toward a New International Economic Order. New York: Paulist Press (available from Institute for Peace and Justice, 4144 Lindell, #400, St. Louis, MO 63108), 1979.

This excellent two-volume set contains a teachers manual and a textbook for high school students. It suggests creative processes such as role-playing, simulation games, and social actions for teaching about hunger, justice, multinational corporations, trade, and global interdependence. A small proportion of the book deals with Christian religious studies.

5. Feed, Need, Greed: Food, Resources, and Population: A High School Curriculum. Rev. ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Science for the People (897 Main Street, 02139), 1981.

This well-designed book, full of lively cartoons, has sections on population and resources, hunger, nutrition, and actions for change. There are some excellent activities. The authors wrote this to "counter ... texts which are clearly proindustry" and use some fairly strong political language. This book could best be used to provide students with an alternative perspective in conjunction with one of the widely available pro-status-quo resources on hunger.

6. Learning for Change in a World Society: Reflections, Activities, and Resources. Rev. ed. London: World Studies Project, 1979.

This interesting book provides background for teaching world studies with many ideas for opening student minds.

7. Study Action Pack for World Development. New York: United Nations Development Programme (I United Nations Plaza, 10017), n.d.

This packet is full of interesting information on global development issues. It contains posters, wall charts, flyers, an issue of the New Internationalist magazine on the New International Economic Order, and a 40-page newspaper on "Yes, But What Can We Do?" The materials view food, population, energy, unemployment, and the environment as global, related problems. They provide many examples of what people are doing in developed countries around the world to solve global problems.


Teaching adults (including college students)

1. Land and Hunger: A Biblical World View New York: Bread for the World Educational Fund (32 Union Square East, 10163), 1982.

This is a six-session study manual with a leader's guide. It contains simulations, case studies, and discussions. Land reform is the only solution discussed. There are many Christian-oriented passages.

*2. Di Figlia, Gonda. World Hunger: The Reality, the Causes, What You Can Do, Leaders' Guide and Kit. Boston, Mass.: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (78 Beacon Street, 02108), n.d.

This very complete study guide provides an eight-session look at population, colonialism, transnational corporations, agribusiness, food aid, and what you can do. It is based on democratic learning process. One of its strongest points is the presentation of two opposing perspectives on all the issues covered.

*3. The Politics of Food. San Francisco, Calif.: Ecumenical Peace Institute (944 Market Street, 94102), n.d.

This resource consists of a study guide and a series of pamphlets for an eight-session study of world hunger. The units promote democratic learning processes and focus on subjects such as colonialism, aid, and population and contain much valuable information.

*4. Moyer, William, and Thorne, Erika. Food/Hunger Macro-Analysis Seminar. New York: Transnational Academic Program (1140 Avenue of the Americas, 10036), 1977.

This manual provides a plan for looking; at hunger from the local to the international level. It is clearly written and easy to follow. It promotes democratic process and has many action-oriented activities.

5. Making a Living: Ten Days for World Development 1980: Leaders' Study Action Guide to the Work Issue. Toronto, Ont.: Ten Days for World Development (Room 315, 85 St. Clair Avenue E., M4T IM8, Canada), 1981.

This book relates food and work issues to each other. It is a collection of articles on third-world development containing very interesting information. A large section of the book is devoted to Christian religious analyses.

6. Ten Days for World Development 1981: Making a Living Year 11, A Study Action Guide to the Work Issue. Toronto, Ont.: Ten Days for World Development (see previous entry), 1981.

This graphically pleasing book contains a series of interviews about work with people around the world such as a teenage Mexican electronic assembly plant worker, a Chad peasant farmer, and a North American steel worker. There are also several other articles on social, political, and economic issues, some of which have a religious education focus. This is very interesting reading material.

7. Van Dreser, Susan. Hunger Liberation Manual. Boston, Mass.: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (see no. 2), 1981.

This is a very good action manual with units on individual and family projects, church and local small-group involvement and state, national, and international projects. It lists a large variety of ways to get involved with hunger on a local level. There are projects for children and advice on monitoring local school-lunch programs, vending machines, and nutrition education classes.



1. Back to the Farm (that is...a small, organic family farm), A Game About Organic Farming. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Animal Town Game Co. (P. O. Box 2002, 93120).

This board game is for two to four people ages eight and up about life on a family farm in rural America. Players build their farms up by acquiring nineteen different farm items such as tools, chickens, tractors, etc. A fun learning experience.

2. Fluegelman, Andrew, ed. The New Games Book. Garden City, N.Y.: Dolphin Books, Doubleday and Co., Inc. (available from The New Games Foundation, P. O. Box 7901, San Francisco, CA 94120), 1976.

This book has more than sixty games for groups from two to one hundred players. The games value competition but place no importance on winning. The New Games motto is "play hard, play fair, nobody hurt."



1. Center for Science in the Public Interest, 1501 16th Street, N.W., Washington DC 20036. They publish a series of bright color posters including:

(a) Nutrition Scoreboard is a chart of common foods with nutritional ratings ranging from -38 for jelly beans to + 119 for beef liver.

(b) Chef Pennypincher's Shopping Guide. One side contains vegetarian recipes, hints on cheap foods, eating tips, information on the food industry, and information on food co-ops. The other side contains a "Test Your Inflation Fighting Skills" quiz.

(c) New American Eating Guide contains information on the new four food groups--beans, grains, and nuts; fruits and vegetables; milk products; and poultry, fish, meat, and eggs. There is also information on sweets, fats, snacks, salts, additives, and alcohol.

(d) Chemical Cuisine. This chart categorizes food additives into "avoid," "caution," "safe," and explains why.



1. Seeger, Pete. Folk Songs for Young People. New York: Folkways Records (63 W. 61 st Street, 10023), 1960.

Pete Seeger introduces and sings sixteen folk songs for children about friendship, work, and love. This is an excellent introduction to American folk songs. One of the selections is "The Farmer is the A/L an."



1. Hamburger U.S.A.. San Francisco, Calif.: American Friends Service Committee (2160 Lake Street, 94121), 1979. 28 min. color slide/tape show.

This is a good show which focuses on economic concentration in the food system of this country and the world and the extent of corporate involvement in our daily lives. After examining each layer of the cheeseburger and some of the social and environmental costs therein, it ends on a hopeful note with suggestions for what we can do. For junior high and above.

2. Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast. (rental by American Friends Service Committee, see last entry), 1977. 19 min. color slide/tape show.

Using the companies which produce breakfast foods as examples, this well-designed show explores the interrelatedness of the world food system. It focuses on the Gulf and Western Corporation's sugar operations in the Dominican Republic's sugar plantations. For upper elementary to high school, probably most effective for junior high and below.

3. Umoja: Tiger and the Big Wind. Norwood, Mass.: Beacon Films (1250 Washington Street, 02062), n.d. 8 min. color film.

This is an. animated story, written and narrated by William Faulkner, using drawings by children. During a drought, hungry animals find out that by cooperating and working together they need never be hungry again. Excellent. For preschool to lower elementary, high school, and above.

4. Potatoes. National Film Board of Canada (distributed by Bullfrog Films, Inc., Oley, PA 19547), n.d. 28 min. color film.

This documentary on potato growers in Canada shows how the multinational corporation McCain controls potato marketing in the area. It shows the profound changes in rural life in North America caused by new agricultural methods, markets, and methods of control. A very good look at the realities of farmers from a farmer's perspective. For high school and above.

5. A Day Without Sunshine. (rental from California Newsreel, 630 Natoma Street, 94103), n.d. 60 min. color film.

This excellent documentary depicts the life of Florida farmworkers and contrasts it with the power, size, and profits of the agribusinesses that dominate Florida citrus production. Many interviews with farmworkers themselves are used. For junior high and above.

6. Supergoop. Los Angeles, Calif.: Churchill Films (662 N. Robertson Boulevard, 90069), n.d. 13 min. color film.

In this animated story Rodney the Cat, an actor in TV commercials, reveals the process of promoting Soopergoop cereal—the refining away of nutrition from grains, the addition of sugar, and the creation of ads.

The ads tell people that eating Soopergoop will help them to be big, smart, popular, and strong and to have fun. Very good. For lower elementary to junior high.

*7. Seeing Through Commercials. Milwaukee, Wis.: Justice and Peace Center (l(J16 N. 19th Street, 53233), n.d. 15 min. color film.

This excellent film shows children how to interpret the commercials they see. An actor dressed as a pirate comes behind the scenes to reveal advertising gimmicks and special effects used to make toys or candy seem better than they are in real life. Camera tricks, sound effects, prizes, and gimmicks are discussed in a very clear fashion. For elementary to junior high.

*8. When the Almsgiving Stops. Oakland, Calif.: Key Light (4266 Balfour Avenue, 94610), 1980. 22 min. color slide/tape show.

This beautifully photographed and narrated show presents the political and economic causes of world hunger. By focusing on famine in Bangladesh, it shows that hunger is not a problem of overpopulation, natural disaster, or lack of technology, but rather one of human interactions. Excellent for junior high and above.

9. Discover America. Fresno, Calif.: National Land for People (2348 N. Cordelia, 93711), n.d. 40 min. color slide/tape show.

This show provides a good look at the national and international implications of growing food monopolies by focusing on agribusiness's control of federally subsidized irrigation in the fertile San Joaquin Valley of California.


Catalogs and resource lists

1. Alternative Resources for Curriculum Balance. Washington, D.C.: Center for Study of Responsive Law (P. O. Box 19367, 20036), n.d.

Twelve-page annotated bibliography of education resources in areas where corporate educational efforts predominate: nutrition, economics, energy, environment, consumer education, and citizenship.

2. Catalog. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Animal Town Game Co., (P. O. Box 2002, 93120),n.d.

Twenty-eight-page catalog by a small family game company. It has alternative types of games dealing with Mother Nature, cooperation, simplicity, self-sufficiency, conservation, and human values.

3. Educating to Justice Lending Library Catalogue Chicago, 111.: Archdiocese of Chicago (155 E. Superior, 60611), 1980.

This over-100-page publication has a multitude of resources that can be borrowed by teachers. Some of the categories of resources are justice, food/hunger, power, and global awareness.

* 4. Catalog. Washington, D.C.: Center for Science in the Public Interest (1501 16th Street, N.W. 20036), n.d.

This 17x22-inch newsprint sheet catalog lists the center's books, brochures, and posters on food and nutrition. The CSPI is a nonprofit organization providing the public with reliable yet interesting and understandable information on the effects of technology.

5. Catalog. London: C:enter for World L)evelopment Education (128 Buckingham Palace Rd., SW 1 W9SH), n.d.

This 14-page catalog is a very extensive list of resources distributed by CWDE. There are books, booklets, information sheets, packets, games, simulations, and audio-visuals listed about development and global perspectives.

6. Fifth World Tales Catalog. San Francisco, Calif.: Children's Book Press (1461 Ninth Avenue, 94122), n.d.

More than twenty books of myths, legends, folktales, and stories by contemporary authors are available from this publisher. The stories are for K-6 and were written by people of the Latino, Chicano, Asian, Afro-American, and Native American communities.

7. Catalog. New York: Council on Interracial Books for Children (The Racism and Sexism Resource Center for Educators, 1841 Broadway, 10023), n.d.

This 15-page catalog lists books, audio-visuals, curriculums, periodicals, pamphlets, and lesson plans to combat sexism, racism and other antihuman biases in school and society.

*8. Catalog. Minneapolis, Minn.: Earthwork/Center for Rural Studies, (3838 Blaisdell Avenue South, 55409), n.d.

This is an extensive list of resources distributed by Earthwork on people, land, and food.

9. Catalog. Minneapolis, Minn.: Education Exploration Center, (P. O. Box 7339, Powderhorn Station, 55407), n.d.

This 17x22-inch newsprint sheet catalog lists several books on teaching social change, covering such subjects as Vietnam, controversy in the classroom, corporate involvement in education, and being gay.

10. Catalog. Perth, Ont.: Family Pastimes (R.R. 4, K7H 3C6, Canada), n.d.

This 15-page catalog has games for learning about cooperation on subjects such as mountaineering, community house building, space futures, etc.

*11. Food/Hunger Issues: A Global Perspectives Approach. Montclair, N.Y.: Global Learning, Inc. (40 S. Fullerton Ave., 07042), n.d.

This 9-page resource list is an excellent annotated bibliography for teachers of texts, books, curriculums, simulation games, kits, audio-visuals, and periodicals.

12. Brochure. New York: Global Perspectives in Education, Inc. (218 E. 18th St., 10003), n.d.

This is a list of GPE's publications on culture and area studies, environment, humanities, etc. GPE's purpose is "to provide the kinds of education needed for democratic national citizenship in a global age." GPE also publishes a monthly list of new resources from many publishers; Clearinghouse Memo.

13. Catalog. Philadelphia, Pa.: Movement for a New Society (4722 Baltimore Avenue, 19143), n.d.

This 4-page list has books on social change, nonviolence, democratic group process, lifestyles, hunger, and global education—all from a radical perspective.

14. World Hunger:Audio Visual Resource Guide. New York: National Council of Churches (Coordinating Council for Hunger Concerns, 475 Riverside Drive, Room 868, 10115), 1980.

This 14-page catalog is an excellent guide to audio-visuals on all aspects of hunger with clear descriptions and information on prices and distributors.

15. Fowler, Kathryn Mervine. Hunger: The World Food Crisis, an NSTA Environmental Materials Guide. Washington, D.C.: National Science Teachers Association (1742 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., 20009), 1977.

This is an annotated bibliography on food and hunger literature with sections for teachers, 9th—12th, and preschool--9th. There are also guides to films and curricular materials.

16. Simulation Games for Fourth Grade Through College. Del Mar, Calif.: Simile 11 (P. O. Box 910, 92014), n.d.

This 32-page catalog has simulation games for a wide range of ages on a wide range of subjects including decision-making power, future studies, business, etc. It also provides some good information on what simulation games are, how to use them in a classroom, and how to run them.

17. Catalog. San Francisco, Calif.: World Affairs Council of Northern California (312 Sutter St., 94108), n.d.

This is a free loan 20-page catalog for teachers with teaching resources on Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Soviet Union, North America, ethnic studies, and global studies. It includes books, simulations, audio-visuals, etc.


About the institute for food and development policy...

The institute for Food and Development Policy is a not-for-profit research and educational center which investigates the root causes of hunger and supports the efforts of people around the world who are struggling to create food and farming systems that meet the needs of the majority. Founded in 1975 by Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet, and Joseph Collins, coauthor with Lappé of Food First: Beyond the Myth of Scarcity, the Institute has been hailed as "one of the most established 'food think tanks' in the country" by the New York Times.

Internationally reknowned for its groundbreaking research and Food First publications, the Institute looks critically at government and corporate policies asking, "What can we do to create social, economic and political structures that will ensure food security for all?" The Institute has also been credited with playing a key role in shifting the global debate on hunger from a discussion of charity and technological solutions to a recognition that poverty and powerlessness are the root causes of hunger.

In 55 countries and 20 languages Food First studies and publications are helping lay the groundwork for more democratically controlled food and farming systems. Universities and colleges throughout the United States have adopted the Institute's books for courses in development, history, political science, sociology, and geography as well as nutrition and philosophy. Hundreds of labor, church, consumer and activist organizations have found our Action Alerts useful in educating North Americans about hunger in Central America.


About the author&

Laurie Rubin has been involved with food and hunger issues since graduating from Cornell University. She began her association with the Institute in 1980 while studying at the University of California at Davis, where she received her M.S. in Community Development. The initial draft of the Food First Curriculum was her Masters project. In addition to organizing pilot programs in San Francisco's schools, Laurie has developed a step-by-step guide Bringing Food First to Your Schools' that is available from the Institute. Currently, Laurie lives in Sonoma County, California, where she is writing a children's fantasy highlighting the value of cooperation.

For more information on Food First and Food First Publications, write to Food First 145 Ninth Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 or call (415)864-8555.