September is Hunger Action Month and I am joining together with many other moms, educators, talented writers and bloggers to teach kids about hunger and share various activities, ideas, children’s books, etc. to create awareness about hunger through social media and globally to raise awareness and/or funds to help end hunger. Read Moms Fighting Hunger 30/Sept/2012 to look at all of the ways individuals and families got involved last year. Here I share 7 great lesson plans to teach kids about hunger and food insecurity worldwide, available for free from the most involved non-profits around the world.
According to the UN’s World Food Programme, 870 million people in the world do not have enough to eat (1 in 8 people!). Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. If these staggering numbers are incomprehensible for adults, how is it possible to talk to elementary students about fighting hunger??
7 Lesson Plans to Teach your Kids about Hunger and Global Food Instability:
1. Heifer International offers a wonderful visual lesson about our nation’s resources. “When is Enough, Enough?” on page 5 of this pdf on Feeding 5000 uses cups of cereal demonstrate the basic resources of the Earth, who is consuming most of them, and who is left in poverty.
2. Look at the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO)’s Map of World Hunger. Choose a country that is red (more than 35% is malnourished) and research what factors contribute to the food instability. For example: drought, other natural disaster or environmental factor, political situation, war, famine, food shortages, etc.
3. Learn about food insecurity in Nigeria, India and Guatemala (and the US!) through the Pulitzer Center’s free lesson plans (pdf). Watch their videos, listen to the radio streams, use their post-video discussions and extension activities to explore hunger on a global and local level. Classes are encouraged to host an awareness event and even connect with the journalists via email, skype or in-school visits. What an amazing opportunity!
4. Host an OxFam Banquet, where a small percentage of students enjoy a lavish, abundant meal, some students have a decent meal with no extras, and a large group of students eat rice and drink water. OxFam offers a free toolkit for schools with discussion questions, promotional materials, and fact sheets.
5. Play the World Food Programme’s “Food Force: The only game where virtual good turns into real-world impact. Grow food, distribute it around the virtual globe, and change the lives of hungry children.” This on-line game is played through facebook, and has already been played by 10 million people! I am not a gamer, and was a little confused at first, but I think if parents and kids sit down together to play and discuss, there is a lot of learning potential.
6. Read Church World Services’ (CWS) “Hungry Decisions” story, about a man (or woman) trying to survive in a rural area of a developing area. The story is similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books, in that every page ends with 2 choices; you must choose how the story continues by making the (sometimes) difficult decisions. There are lots of opportunities to discuss with your kids!
7. Use the lesson plans at Rice Bowls to teach your children about hunger in several interdisciplinary lessons. The free, downloadable lessons are broken into grade-level and subject matter, with with easy to follow descriptions.
Moms Fighting Hunger is a group of bloggers (see below) committed to raising awareness about hunger by sharing concrete ideas that get entire families involved, especially to teach kids about hunger:
September 8: The Good Long Road and Kids Stuff World
September 9: Kid World Citizen
September 10: Inner Child Giving and San Antonio Mom Blogs
September 11: ButeauFull Chaos
September 12: Bits of Positivity
September 13: LatinoAmeriGringa
September 14: Your Sassy Self
September 15: Not Going Postal
September 16: All Done Monkey
September 17: Multicultural Kid Blogs
September 18: Pennies of Time
September 19: Coffee Cups and Crayons
September 20: Red White & Grew
September 23: Edventures with Kids
September 24: A Thrifty Diva
September 25: Crafty Moms Share
September 26: The Pleasantest Thing
September 27: Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tails
September 28: Optimistic Heathen
September 29: Moments a Day
September 30: Kids Stuff World
On Twitter, follow @KidWorldCitizen, @NoKidHungry, @IndieJenFischer, @StacyofKSW and/or @MomsFightHunger for hunger action tweets that you can RT. On Pinterest, follow and repin from: Go Orange for No Kid Hungry, Moms Fighting Hunger and Be the Change.
More great ideas Becky – I’m pinning this for our homeschool.
Thank you for the great resources to teach kids about food insecurity!
Great, glad you liked it!:)
i love saving the poor
Loved it….wondering what you all think about what age to start talking about these issues in depth? My oldest is 6….we talk about social issues from time to time but I hate to start her worrying too young….
I think that kids in upper elementary can start getting deeper into the subject, but my little kids (kinder and 1st) already know that some people in the world and even in our local community do not have enough to eat. We volunteered to make lunches this summer for kids in our local community who normally get free lunch at school but are at a loss during the summer months. My son is from Ethiopia, and I do not want him to have the stereotype that only kids in vague and faraway “Africa” might live in poverty- I think it is important to realize that even people in our local area sometimes don’t have enough to eat. We talk about it in simple terms, and gradually go deeper as they grow up. I also make a point that it is not because people are lazy, the causes can be many: maybe there was a drought and their crops didn’t grow this year; maybe the prices went up and the amount of money they make can’t pay for everything they need. It is a difficult concept for kids because they are so innocent and compassionate and want to help everyone (“can we just give them all of our food mommy?”) but I think if you start small, you plant the seeds for them to learn more and more as they grow up. I like that they can feel that they can make a difference, even if they are little and only one person.
Natalie F says
Those are great resources – thank you very much for sharing them!
Kim @ mamamzungi says
Wow! Fantastic ideas and resources! I am sharing!!!
Thank you! I participated in an OxFam banquet when I was only 10 and it makes such an impact on people’s thinking- it really changes you… I remember it clearly years later!
A useful list.
I wrote this online course for teachers, hosted by the Geographical Association, which may also be of interest
This is excellent, thank you!
Lois Sexton says
Hi Jody! Thank you for these resources! My husband and I have been to Haiti several times and we will never be the same. It is very challenging to give others just a glimpse of what it is like. I was very interested in the cereal demonstration that you mentioned and unable to locate it on the Heifer link. Can you assist me?