Food and Energy Systems Curriculum

Posted by on November 21, 2010

Creative Change is pleased to announce “Food and Energy Systems,” a fully-developed instructional module now available in the Curriculum and Resource Center (CRC).

The unit’s rigorous lessons and projects engage students in inquiry and action related to food systems.  In the first stage of the unit, learners explore fundamental questions about health, well-being, and the food system.  In the second stage, learners build an interdisciplinary knowledge base about food-energy interactions and how these factors affect their food footprint. Specific topics include life cycle analysis, energy transfer in food chains, the role of fossil fuels in the food system, the history of the global food system, and price-cost analysis.  In the last stages, learners explore decision-making strategies and action projects focused on advancing sustainable food systems.

The unit provides enough instruction for 6-9 weeks.  Sample lessons:

* Community Food Systems Map: Students map elements of the food systems, identifying local-global connections behind food production, processing, transportation, etc.

* Energy Transfer in Food Chains: Through a simulation, learners experience the 10% energy transfer among tropic levels in a food chain.

* Biography of Three Potatoes: Students compare and contrast the energy, resources, and wastes involved for three potatoes, each grown and processed in a different way.

* Life Before Ketchup: Learners map the geographic origins of common foods to gain an overview of how trade has shaped food systems over time.  To explore this more deeply, learners research and document significant events in “food history” such as Columbus’ voyage, the introduction of synthetic fertilizers, and the “green” revolution.  Reading selections and formative assessments are provided.

CRC Subscribers, log in now to access these materials.  Not a subscriber?  Download a unit overview at

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