Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum

Food for the world

Year level: 5-6

Issue: Food security

Country: Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Laos, Vietnam

Case studies: Rice

Students investigate the types and amounts of foods eaten around the world, and the environmental, economic, political and cultural factors that affect access to food. They develop an understanding of why some people in the world have more than enough to eat, while others struggle to have the basics for survival, and explore ways people could work together to achieve food security for all.

Newly planted paddy rice seedlings in a field near Sekong, Laos.

Newly planted paddy rice seedlings in a field near Sekong, Laos. Photo by Jim Holmes for AusAID


Social justice and human rights, Sustainable futures

Australian Curriculum links

Learning area

Geography

Year 5

The influence people have on the human characteristics of places and the management of spaces within them (ACHGK029)

Year 6

Differences in the economic, demographic and social characteristics between countries across the world (ACHGK032) 

General capabilities

  • Literacy
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical behavior
  • Intercultural understanding

Cross-curriculum priorities

  • Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia

 

Activity 1: What is food security?

Students consider what influences the food they eat and explore key elements of food security as a global issue.

Make a list of all the foods you have eaten in the past 24 hours.

Compare your lists in small groups and discuss:

  • the types of food you eat
  • some different ways you could classify the foods you eat (eg by food group, place of origin) and whether the food is fresh or processed.

Discuss as a class: How and why might your answers differ from the experiences of people in other countries?

Brainstorm and list factors that influence or determine what we eat. Examples might include food preferences, health considerations, cost, convenience and so on. (Note: Save lists after this activity for use in Activity 3: Understanding food insecurity.)

Discuss the stages that are involved from growing to eating food – eg processing, transporting, preparing.

Create a flow chart to show the stages for some selected foods.

Select a food that could grow in your area.

Research what you would need to grow and prepare the food.

Prepare a presentation answering the following questions:

  • What problems might prevent people from having food?
  • How would you overcome these problems?

Discuss how difficult it would be to grow enough food to feed your family for a year?

Read and discuss the definition of food security below:

Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to enough safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle. (World Food Summit, 1996)

Food needs to be:

  • available
  • accessible
  • affordable
  • adequate
  • appropriate.

Review your list of factors that influence what we eat.

Identify connections between particular factors and the different aspects of food security. Use different colours.

Extension

For more background information about nutrition and dietary needs, you could refer to:

Activity 2: Food around the world

Students research foods around the world with a focus on staple foods and their importance for food security.

Brainstorm knowledge and ideas about staple foods.

  • What is a staple food?
  • What are the main staple foods in different parts of the world?
  • What problems might people face if access to a staple food is limited or threatened?
  • Is a staple food a sufficient diet?

Use the questions above or write others to guide your own research about staple foods. Different groups could focus on different questions. You could begin your research with Staple food What do people eat?

Show information about staple foods on a world map.

Examine and discuss the photographs of foods from around the world. Record answers to these questions.

  • What are the main types of food shown (grains, dairy, meat, etc)? Identify staple foods.
  • Where do you think the food is grown or produced (eg grown locally, imported, etc)?
  • How do you think people access the food eaten (eg homegrown, supermarket or shop, local trade, aid supplies)?

Review the definition and elements of food security from Activity 1: What is food security? Discuss how this information might relate to the foods shown in the photos.

Activity 3: Understanding food insecurity

Students explore reasons people are unable to get enough to eat. They investigate environmental, political, economic and cultural factors and consider how these might be addressed to provide food security for all.

Brainstorm and list factors that influence or determine what we eat. Examples might include food preferences, health considerations, cost, convenience and so on. (Review your list of factors that influence what we eat from Activity 1: What is food security? if you have already done this.)

Check your understanding of the following terms:

  • environmental
  • political
  • economic
  • social/cultural.

Categorise your list of factors that influence what we eat according to these terms.

Imagine not having sufficient, healthy food to eat. Discuss the impact this could have on people’s health and lives.

Access and analyse the World Food Programme hunger map.

Write answers to the following questions, working in small groups:

  • Who is hungry in the world?
  • Which areas of the world have higher rates of hunger than others? Why might this be the case?

Discuss your observations as a class. Work together to create a list of ways people could work together to address the environmental, economic, political and social/cultural aspects of providing food security for all.

Create a role-play about people in different places getting sufficient food all year round.

Extension

Activity 4: Investigating rice

Students develop an understanding of the significance of rice for food security and investigate issues and challenges relating to rice production. They make comparisons of countries using statistics and maps.

Preparation

Useful links for information and research throughout this activity include:

Brainstorm knowledge and ideas about rice and rice production.

  • How important is rice as a staple food?
  • In what parts of the world is it most important?
  • What do you know about how rice is grown and produced?
  • Who do you think might be involved in the different stages of growing and processing rice?

Read the Rice case study and examine the photos and captions.

Describe what is happening in each photo.

Discuss what you learn from the photos and captions about rice production.

  • What work is being done in the photos?
  • What factors would influence the amount of time and energy the work would take?
  • How might the same work be done on an Australian farm? (Sunrice www.sunrice.com.au/consumer/journey-of-rice)

Research the various stages of rice production – growing, processing, delivering and preparation – focusing on a particular country. Work in small groups.

Create a food-cycle presentation to compare your selected country with Australia. You might include answers to the following questions.

  • What climate conditions and resources are needed to grow rice?
  • How long does rice take to grow?
  • What technology is used?
  • What problems might prevent rice from growing?
  • How might these problems be overcome?
  • How is rice preserved and stored?
  • What percentage of the population relies on rice in their diet?

Present your research to the class. Discuss and compare the production cycles of rice in different countries. What are some of the reasons behind any differences? What links can you identify between food production and food security?

Activity 5: Rice and rice products

Students develop an understanding of some of the varieties of rice and rice products, with a focus on rice flour. They investigate and make a model of a mill used in Vietnam for grinding rice into flour.

Look in your food cupboard or visit an Asian grocery to find some different types of rice and rice products.

Identify rice products and/or dishes that use rice flour. 

Try grinding some rice into flour. How easy is it? How might you make it easier?

A stream of water drives a heavy wooden beam up and down to pound rice into flour in this simple rice mill. Examine this photo of a machine made by village people called the Muong from the mountains of Vietnam.

Make
your own model of the rice-pounding mill. Use a digital camera to take photos of the stages in the process.

Create a display or poster showing some varieties of rice and some rice products. This could be an interactive presentation including your digital photos and your reflections on making rice flour. 

Activity 6: Food for all

Students research food security issues in selected countries, exploring why different countries vary and what can be done to help ensure food security for all.

Choose a country to research. This could be the country researched in Activity 4: Investigating rice, or you could choose another part of the world. You might like to focus on East Timor and start your research with the AusAID video about Seeds of Life, an Australian-funded program in East Timor that is working to help poor farmers grow crops that are better suited to the climate.

Research access to and availability of food, and hunger and malnutrition within the country using the World Food Program website, other internet resources and the library.

Explore how political, cultural, environmental or economic factors, or a combination of them, may affect the status of food availability.

Create and present a series of imagined interviews with people in your selected country. Highlight issues relating to their access to food and factors that determine this. Imagine and include what these people might say about ways of improving food security.

Discuss as a class what can be done to bring about a world in which everyone, both now and into the future, has access to sufficient food.

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A stream of water drives a heavy wooden beam up and down to pound rice into flour in this simple rice mill.
B. Baldock
Print | Save
A stream of water drives a heavy wooden beam up and down to pound rice into flour in this simple rice mill. B. Baldock
Newly planted paddy rice seedlings in a field near Sekong, Laos.
Photo by Jim Holmes for AusAID
Print | Save
Newly planted paddy rice seedlings in a field near Sekong, Laos. Photo by Jim Holmes for AusAID