The Numbers Behind Hunger #1
Following are a series of activities in which students apply various math skills to better understand the problems of world hunger and what steps are being taken to reduce the number of people without enough to eat.
This is Activity #1 of 5 in this lesson.
Time Required: 1 hour (Add or subtract activities as desired to make a longer or shorter lesson, or each activity could be expanded to become its own lesson) This activity is an introduction to the issue of hunger and how the World Food Program (WFP) fights hunger. Students research basic facts about the WFP and how it fights hunger, and then use basic math skills to analyze and present those numbers.
Students will understand different formats for analyzing and presenting statistical information.
Students will also gain proficiency in the following areas:
-Rate of change
-Graphing / Equation of a line
Questions for students:
1) What is the total number of hungry people in the world according to the WFP website (2006 data)? Express this as a percentage of the total world population.
2) How many of the total number affected by hunger can be found in various regions of the world?
3) Make a chart to display the above numbers. (This could be done by hand or using an electronic spreadsheet)
a. Write each number as presented on the website (ex. 22.3 million)
b. Write each number in scientific notation.
c. Determine the percentage of the world’s hungry people in each region.
d. Why do some regions have a higher proportion of people affected by hunger?
Links with other subjects:
Hunger and nutrition could be addressed simultaneously in Social Studies and even Chemistry classes. One approach would be for students to select 3-5 countries and take a closer look at the question of hunger in those countries. Countries could be from different regions in the developing world, or a mix of developing and developed countries. Both the UN Stats website and the World Bank MDG site have detailed statistics by country. Social Studies students can look at the many interrelated factors that lead to hunger (failure of harvests, poor economic planning, poor infrastructure, conflict, displacement, etc.) Chemistry students could take a closer look at the makeup of foods and their nutrient value.
Computers with internet access Microsoft Excel or other graph-creating software
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