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Home > Student activities > National Maths Day > National Maths Day 2013 > Upper primary activities > Your place in the world: What do they eat in…?

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Your place in the world: What do they eat in…?

Your place in the world: What do they eat in…?

Students look at photographs of families from different countries with their week’s food. They categorise the foods and estimate their proportions using percentages. The activity is extended with the use of data in a spreadsheet.

What do they eat in China… Italy… Ecuador?

Download the PDF What do they eat in…? Photos. Display each of the three photos in turn. You could use the projector or have paper copies for groups of students. The countries are China, Italy and Ecuador.

Have a world map available to locate the three countries.

Lead a discussion on what the students notice. Comparisons with their own lives will likely emerge.

You can download the What do they eat in …? Student worksheet.

What foods are most common in different countries? How are they the same, and how are they different?

Ask students to identify the types of food that they see. The foods can be broadly grouped into grains; dairy; meat, fish and eggs; fruit and vegetables; fast food; drinks.

Students can rank the food types first and then estimate a percentage for each of the categories. They can then compare to the food of their own families.

How much money do people have to spend on food in different countries?

Students can use the Food spreadsheet to find the amount of money (and the relative percentages) spent on different food groups for these three countries plus Australia.


The class may wish to explore further. 

There are more families and more information in the book Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio.

World Vision and Oxfam produce school resources that may be of interest.

You can download the What do they eat in…? Teacher notes which also contain additional information.

Australian Curriculum links

Year 4

Construct suitable data displays, with and without the use of digital technologies, from given or collected data. Include tables, column graphs and picture graphs where one picture can represent many data values (ACMSP096)

Year 5

Pose questions and collect categorical or numerical data by observation or survey (ACMSP118)

Construct displays, including column graphs, dot plots and tables, appropriate for data type, with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMSP119)

Describe and interpret different data sets in context (ACMSP120)

Year 6

Make connections between equivalent fractions, decimals and percentages (ACMNA131)

Interpret and compare a range of data displays, including side-by-side column graphs for two categorical variables (ACMSP147)

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