Right menu

Featured resource

Default object view. Click to create a custom template, Node ID: 15374, Object ID: 23020

About our world: Food security

About our world: Food security

This is a background study about a country with a subsistence economy, based on one single staple food crop. Students investigate the effect of the changing African climate on the maize harvest in Malawi by interpreting mathematical data in the form of text, tables and graphs.

Introduce the context of the activity. Show students where Malawi is on a world map and explain what subsistence farming is. You can download the Food security: Student worksheet.

The information provided in the background study shows that the changing African climate is making the harvest of maize 'unpredictable'. There are two parts: one to learn about Malawi's dependence on the maize crop, and one to determine the effects of climate change on that crop.

Students interpret text, tables and graphs that include mathematical data. For example, students could use a graph to contrast the 1.5 million tonnes of maize with the 0.6 million tonnes when the rains failed in 1994.

You might like to create small amounts of nsima for your students to sample. The closest in Australia is a polenta (porridge), supplemented with chicken broth and maybe a few pieces of chicken and cabbage. This is the Malawian staple food, eaten at all meals, usually only twice each day.

You can watch a video about Malawian maize, a maize-mill and nsima and another about what one village is doing to counter climate change.

The internet stories include the effects of changing climate on destitute families. You may want to use them with discretion.

You can download the Food security: Teacher notes which also contain some additional information.

Australian Curriculum links

Year 5

Describe and interpret different data sets in context (ACMSP120)

Year 6

Interpret secondary data presented in digital media and elsewhere (ACMSP148)