- Students will understand terms related to hunger
- Students will recognize elements that cause hunger
- Students will critically analyze an issue in their community
- Students will recognize their ability to make a difference
- Two or more class sessions with potential for ongoing project
- "The Fighting Mynahs"
- Access to the Internet and related resources
This lesson encourages students to investigate domestic hunger in the United States as well as in their own communities and offers resources to support youth in the fight against hunger.
Read and discuss "The Fighting Mynahs."
After discussing various themes (greed, sharing, ageism, pride, cooperation, and conflict) touched on inThe Fighting Mynahs fable, tell students that the class will investigate hunger, the catalyst for conflict in the story.
Conduct online research.
Use the Internet to define and research the terms hunger, malnourishment, and food insecurity:
Hunger is the uneasy or painful sensation caused by a lack of food; the recurrent and involuntary lack of access to food. Many scientists consider hunger to be chronically inadequate nutritional intake due to low incomes (i.e., people do not have to experience pain to be hungry from a nutritional perspective).
Malnutrition is a serious health impairment resulting from substandard nutrient intake. Malnutrition may result from a lack of food, a chronic shortage of key nutrients, or impaired absorption or metabolism associated with chronic conditions or disease
Food insecurity is limited or certain unavailability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.
Break students into small groups, and assign each group a research topic related to hunger, such as:
- Reasons hunger exists in the "land of plenty"
- Causes of hunger in local communities
- Connection between hunger and poverty
- Organizations in the local community that provide food and services for the hungry. How are they staffed and funded?
Share group presentations with the whole class. Discuss why your local area needs programs and services that respond to people in need of food. As a class, brainstorm ways to help provide food for those experiencing need.
Based on these suggestions, develop and carry out a service learning project to help feed the hungry. Teaching Tolerance offers a helpful planning sheet: the basic planner.
Suggested Online Resources for Student Research
Klein Foundation's Hunger Service Learning Center
What's your hunger IQ?
Twelve myths about hunger
A Blueprint to End Hunger (PDF)
Childcare plan to aid homeless
Share the story at home and discuss the following questions with family or friends.
- What are lessons from the story?
- Give examples of when you have learned a hard lesson.
- What changes did you make in response to the lesson?
- Could you have learned the lesson just as easily from a story?
Write a short essay or journal entry that reflects new insights and personal responses to a lesson learned.