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Learning About Hunger with Free Rice
Learning About Hunger with Free Rice

by Lisa Glick, Lower School Director of Service Learning

Each year, the 6th Grade is tasked with choosing a group service learning project. This year's class chose to address the issue of hunger and decided on a 3-part project: direct service, raising awareness, and fundraising. This month students visited MEND and volunteered in the food pantry, and helped at No Limits where they packed snacks for the 75 hearing-impaired students and their siblings who visit the center after school. The 6th Grade "Snack Shack" Bake Sale was held in January at Sports Spectacular, where students raised $1,600 to donate to MEND and No Limits for food donations. As one 6th grader explained, "When people saw us at the bake sale they wanted to help fight hunger too."

In addition, the class decided to raise awareness about an online game many Lower School students play called Free Rice. This is an educational quiz game that donates 10 grains of rice for each correct answer to the World Food Program. The game is fun and educational and appropriate for all ages. Sixth graders worked in groups of three or four to research the problem of global and local hunger and create age-appropriate and engaging presentations. "Our biggest challenge" according to one student, "may have been working on the presentation together as a group rather than individually."

"We had to share research, create visuals, write a script, and NOT be boring!" said Stella S. "We all made a difference and raised awareness by playing Free Rice at the same time. We raised 66,950 grains of rice in 7 minutes!"

Deacon P. said, "At first, only forty-four 6th Grade students knew this much about hunger. Now, 300 students of all ages know about hunger. This means we have time to brainstorm and stop hunger."

Julia F. shared, "I feel like the 6th Grade Hunger Project was worthwhile. The Free Rice Marathon showed kids that many people don't have food, and that helping them can be as easy as a click of a computer mouse."

Jonathan Arriaran, 6th Grade teacher, recalled, "Brainstorming any project is feasible in theory, but the 6th Grade students fully understand the intricacies involved in making it come to life from start to finish. As their teacher, it was exciting to see how students applied their skills from class to their active roles in the community. Their efforts further developed their collaboration and presentation skills, and helped them recognize their invaluable contributions to local and global hunger."

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