Fish or Famine?

A. Wills
Multiple Subject Teacher

Students will understand food scarcity and unequal distribution through a simple, yet concrete demonstration.

Grade Level: 5 - 7th

Subject: Environmental, Science

Length of Time: 10-15 Minutes

Objectives & Outcomes

Learners will understand and discuss food distribution and inequality while learning the importance of sharing.

Materials Needed

Gold fish crackers (or any item that easily fits in a bowl)


Opening to Lesson

Ask students to think about a meal they have had at home. Ask them to think of a time when they did not have enough, if this has ever been a problem. Ask them to think about how it would feel if there was never enough food.

Body of Lesson

  • Have two bowls of crackers (or whatever food is chosen) ready.
  • Begin by handing the first bowl to the first student and explain that they may take as many crackers as they want and then pass it to the next person (but do not yet eat the crackers).
  • Have them continue to pass the bowl, even if the crackers run out.
  • Now have students pass a second bowl, but each can only take a certain number of crackers.
  • Keep each pile separate on their desks.


Encourage a discussion on how each group felt. Was it better when everyone shared or when people took what they wanted? How can this be applied to behaviors outside the classroom or should it? Can this concept be applied to anything (other resources) than food?

Sponsored Content

Assessment & Evaluation

Assessment will be based on participation and discussion to show understanding.

Modification & Differentiation

Some students may need prompting to complete follow up discussion.

Related Lesson Plans

Solar System

The students will learn about the Solar System, the  order of the 8 planets, special words such as orbit and asteroid.

Engineering Design

This lesson is designed to generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.

The United States of Matter

Observe various substances to recognize different characteristics of solids, liquids, and gases.  The students will work in pairs.  

Save the World

This lesson is intended to motivate students to become environmental superheroes.



Get the latest news for teachers.