World Food Prize in the Classroom


Classroom integration of STEM and STEAM; cross-curricular lesson plans; over 100 professional development hours and meetings; 66 hungry for knowledge participants, each with their own abilities, interests and questions; seven different science preps and new matching syllabi to write, arrange and implement; regular schedule changes; a new 4-H headquarters in Honduras; testing and grading. And some self-imposed pressure to be the most effective teacher that ever lived, but more importantly develop the highest achieving students in the world and realize that without food none of these goals could be realized.

In our globally connected world, one of the most basic of human rights – access to sustainable, nutritious food and potable water – is still very much overdue. Helping students develop empathy and empowerment as well as teaching them to be able to communicate, collaborate and implement solutions using STEM, is possible with the implementation of a World Food Prize curriculum. 

After touring the 2018 World Food Prize Global Youth Institute Event, the great need of a World Food Prize curriculum in my classroom became evident. Secondary teachers often are able to create their own curriculum based on a given set of standards. This means that teachers have the choice to make relevant and meaningful course work for students to engage in daily. One 8th grader, ten 9th graders and eleven 10th graders are hard at work developing a research paper and presentation about one of the United Nations sustainable development goals in my classroom. They use STEM solutions to discuss their ideas and formulate plans that can improve peoples´ lives.

The students choose their own topics and after a series of workshops, they are well on their way to participating in the next Global Youth Institute. They are excited for the opportunity to sit with experts in the field and receive feedback, the possibility of internships, scholarships, mentorship and possible financial support for their projects. This is a course that any teacher can immediately implement with their students.

Students will learn about career pathways, solutions and problems to modern sustainable development goals and be able to meet people who are major stakeholders in the industry. World Food Prize is one way that students can reach across borders, cultural differences and encourage social growth while their teachers raise the bar on traditional curriculum in an effort to meet the many needs inside of one classroom.

Here is a list of some of the topics covered by the students:

Country and problemSolutions

India: iron deficiency and malnutrition
Iron fortified rice crop

Yemen: water sanitation

Mexico: infrastructure
Government should loosen control over the infrastructure and focus on good homes, buildings, water and cultural exhibits

Aruba: water scarcity
Reverse osmosis, plant perennials and other plants

Mexico: nutrition
Fish farming
Zimbabwe: fall armywormGMOs
Lebanon: food securityLand grant programme for refugees
Yemen: water scarcityWater seers
Ghana: waste management and water qualityThe Drinkable Book, water seers, hand washing
Namibia: waste managementRecycled water, sewage system
India: education of girlsGive technology to girls in rural areas, educate families

After they presented their ideas, they wrote a list of common themes for solutions:

  • Education to make it sustainable
  • Teaching rather than doing
  • Teach to reach future generations
  • New diffusion of ideas including social media
  • Less about what you learn and learning how to learn and innovate and adapt it to new situation.
  • New technologies and systems
  • Not overlooking the private sector

You can download the complete article following this link.

Author: Ashley Shunk

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