Mapping Food in Our Community
Large bulletin board with a map of the U.S.
Small index cards/art paper
Empty packages from food products
Many children are not aware of where the food they eat comes from. Some
students do not realize that food produced elsewhere travels around the
world and ends up in our homes. This activity enlightens students as to how vast
our world is and how powerful marketing can be. The activity can be
simplified or the difficulty increased depending on the knowledge and
skills of the children.
Introduce the lesson by talking about the U.S. map on the bulletin board.
Ask the children to find your community. Find your state.
Talk about what foods you and your students and their families eat. Talk
about the foods or food products your community produces.
Show the children some of the food packages that you brought from home.
Explain how to find where the product came from.
Move the discussion to the foods produced in your state. These foods can be
added to the map. Write the names of the foods on a small index card and
put them in the communities where they are grown.
Another way to create this graph is to align the index cards on one side of
the map, connecting them with yarn and pushpins to the communities where
they are grown. Use the other side of the map, and different colored yarn to
connect the names of the foods that the children will bring in from home
the next day.
If you are doing this activity with younger students, you may have them
draw the foods (potatoes, milk cartons, etc.) and use these pictures instead of
Have the children complete the homework worksheet for the next day.
Use this information to add more details to the class map.
Use a ditto of the U.S. with each state drawn in. Have the children make
individual maps detailing the information gathered for the large classroom
Extend this activity by having the children write the state capitols, state
Extend this further having the children put in major cities of each state,
lakes, mountains, etc.
Older children can enlarge this activity to foods and food products grown
all over the world.
Students can research feeding the nation. Write a report on the foods
produced in various states, countries.
Assign several students to research: hunger in the U.S., hunger in the world.
What can we do about feeding those who are hungry in our community, in the world?
Create labels or packages to go with products produced in your state or in
the United States. Some ideas can be:
Grown in California
Steel produced in . . ..
Cotton grown in. . .
Made in the USA
Processed in the USA
Manufactured in the USA
Examine the packages that food products come in. Divide the class into
sections and ask each group to bring a different kind of empty container to
school. Chart the different sizes, brands, and qualities of these products.
This lesson easily moves the class into a measurement lesson.
Have pint, quart, half gallon, and gallon milk cartons for the students to
examine. Talk and discuss which carton is larger, smaller, taller, shorter,
etc. Use symbols such as: >, <, =.
Bring in several potatoes. Weight each potato and chart the weights.
ways to measure objects.
Talk about weather conditions and how they effect food that is transported
around your community.
Set up WHAT IF scenarios.
Allow small groups of children to extend these scenarios
What if it snows and the roads all chose. How will we get more fresh milk?
What if the Y2K virus shuts down transportation companies? How could we get
our food products?
What if there is a drought? How will the farmers keep enough water on their
fields to allow the food to ripen?
What kinds of weather do different food products need, to be able to
their growth process?
Discuss the grocery store.
What kinds of food products do they carry?
Do grocery stores carry other things beside food products?
Have the students draw a map of their ideal grocery store. Label the
different departments. Do the students know that the produce department
What other departments can you find in a grocery store? Bakery, hardware,
produce, dairy, etc.
List foods that belong in each section of the grocery store.
List the jobs of the people who work in the store.
Grocery Store Geography
Many foods we eat are not grown in our own community. Some foods might come
from countries halfway around the world. Let's find out where the foods in
our homes come from.
Today we will go home and find out where ten foods you may have in your
cupboard or refrigerator come from. We will bring this information back to
school to complete out research.
Check the labels on the foods to see where they came from. Complete the
for school tomorrow.
Food in My Home Food Where it Was Grown