We have been using the book, What the World Eats” as the basis of our math unit and provided us with our essential question: What does the world eat compared to us? This a great book that has lots of photographs, charts and written information about what people all over the world eat for a week. The countries range from the refugee camps of Sudan and Chad to Australia, Japan, Guatemala, Bhutan and the United States. The amount of food consumed by the family for each week is calculated by dollars. The currency of the countries is converted to U.S. dollars.
The standards that we are addressing are to:
Interpret and use percents to solve problems
Understands, selects and uses units of appropriate size and type
Uses graphs to analyze the changes in quantities of linear relationships
Uses graphs and charts for inference
Each student has read and reviewed the book, chose a research topic, developed 5-6 “good questions” and created 2-3 graphs which support the individual research.
Here’s what the kids have to say:
Nolan- “A good question is a question that relates to what you are studying. An example of a good question “What are the top fast food restaurants in the world and why? A good question never has a one word answer. A good question is specific enough to give you good information.”
Bianca- “The book had really good information in it. It helped us learn about how much food all the countries eat and how much it costs every week. The pictures gave us good information because it shows how much food they eat and how big their families are.”
Jana- “This book showed us what fresh and packaged foods are. If you have fresh food you will probably be healthier for you than packaged food. The food that comes from the garden is a whole lot fresher and healthier than packaged food at the store.”
Taylor- “In different countries, people eat different foods based on how much money they have and how good the farmland is. For example, In India, people eat mostly vegetables and some meat. They do not eat beef because the cow is sacred. In the U.S. We eat too much fast food! In Ecuador, people eat mostly vegetables and grains which they either grow themselves or trade with their neighbors for what they can’t grow.”
Nic-”There are a lot of McDonald’s around the world. In Hindu countries, the Big Macs are made from chicken. Japan has 3,857 McDonald’s.”
Thomas- “The U.S Food Pyramid tells you what kind of food groups you should eat and how big of a portion you should eat. For example the food groups you should eat the least of are on the top and the food groups you should eat the most of are on the bottom. Examples of food groups are, fats/oils, dairy,proteins and simple and complex carbohydrates.”
We’ve been working on this project for two weeks now. Each student is creating a keynote with their questions and answers and two-three graphs related to their topic. They’ll also orally present their projects to each other.
Here’s what they have to say about what they’ve learned:
Nolan- “I learned that not everyone eats stuff from their own countries.”
Thomas- “I learned from the Food Pyramid about some of the less healthy foods you eat that are on the food pyramid. You should eat more of the healthier foods than the others.”
Jana- “I learned that many countries have food like ours. Another thing that I learned is that the richer you are, the unhealthier you may be if all you eat is expensive, fat food and packaged food. Whether you eat healthily depends on whether you have a garden or not.”
Nic-”I learned that there are many fast food places all around the world and what different kinds of fast food. Math can be interesting.”
Taylor-”I have learned to think in a mathematical way.”
Jordan- “What I’ve learned is that math can be fun when you’re talking about food. Food can be added, subtracted, multiplied and divided just like a pineapple. Most of the time here, foods are easy to get depending on what you like to eat.”
Bianca-” What I have learned is that some people in the world don’t eat or have as much as we do. In India, they don’t eat cows. They eat chicken burgers instead.”
Helen Nichols- “I love teaching using the modified Socratic Method. . Actually teaching the students what good questions are and what good research is, is vitally important to their success in high school .Learning about how others approach food is something they are all interested in, so the learning is a little more natural for them. I am striving for a balance of mathematical thinking (searching for patterns, similarities and differences. I want my students to be able to be able think, discuss and solve problems through a mathematical lens.