Tried and Tested - Hard to swallow

13th February 2009 at 00:00

Subject: Any

Lesson: Rich meal, poor meal

Ages: 11 to 12

Supplied by Angela Hindle, RE subject leader, Selby High School in North Yorkshire

1. What is it?

A lesson on the difference between more and less economically developed countries, which suits all subjects and learning styles.

2. Who is it aimed at?

Year 7 pupils, but with extra planning you could extend it across the whole school.

3. What do you want the lesson to achieve?

Pupils should become more socially aware as the "poor" pupils see the "rich" ones gorging themselves on junk food.

4. What happens in the lesson?

Prepare two meals for the class. Half will get a developed world menu: pizza, doughnuts, crisps, Mars bars, fizzy drinks. The others get a Third World meal: a piece of bread or a bowl of rice with water. The pupils draw one of two different-coloured raffle tickets to determine which meal they will eat. Watch the pupils' reactions and discuss. An interactive whiteboard display on the differences between rich and poor countries, or a talk about the nutritional values of the food enriches the debate.

5. How do you know it has been successful?

You will know this has been a successful lesson whenever you meet one of the students in the corridor and they say: "MissSir, when are we doing that meal thing again? It was ace."

6. Why would you recommend this to other teachers?

The feelings the children experience are instructive. The rich pupils feel guilty, while their poor peers cry: "It's not fair." Some pupils share, some justify themselves and happily clear their plate, others beg.

There have been pupils who dole out the leftovers to the poor, and extension activities can look at what to do with "food mountains" or surplus supplies.

7. Give us three top tips

1. The lesson requires thorough preparation, so why not use the hall and teach a few classes together over a half-day session?

2. Make sure you have a budget to cover the cost of the food.

3. You will need permission slips to allow pupils to eat your food and to inform you of any allergies and dietary requirements.

8. Useful resources

This lesson can extend to a whole-day activity if you take advantage of the many resources available from Oxfam: Its catalogue for schools is packed with more than 400 teaching materials offering a global approach to teaching and learning. Oxfam can also provide speakers to come to your school.

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