Monday, 31 October 2011

How Much Land Does a Rice Farmer Have in Indonesia?

Today we researched about how much land does a rice farmer have in Indonesia. We found the answer on

"Di Pulau Jawa, rata-rata petani hanya memiliki 0,3 hektar sawah. Seandainya satu hektar sawah bisa menghasilkan lima ton gabah kering giling, berarti mereka hanya mendapat 1,5 ton gabah sekali panen. Jika dalam setahun terjadi dua kali panen, mereka hanya memperoleh tiga ton setahun. Itu setara dengan Rp 9 juta per tahun, atau kurang dari Rp 1 juta per bulan."

We copy pasted the answer into Google Translate. Here is the translation:

"In Java, the average farmer only has 0.3 hectares of rice fields. If one hectare of rice can produce five tons of dry unhulled, meaning they only get 1.5 tons of grain at harvest. If it occurs twice in a year of harvest, they only get three tons a year. That’s equivalent to Rp 9 million per year, or less than Rp 1 million per month."

The students converted the answer into square meters by making a long division using a small whiteboard.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Using iPads in Inquiry-Based Lessons

Today I will present a workshop at the annual Teachers Conference for the National Plus Association of Schools in Jakarta, Indonesia. I will be videoing this workshop and I am hoping to podcast it later on. I will be using the iPads from SWA so that each participant will be getting a hands-on experience. I will post the podcast here later after I have done the workshop.
View more presentations from Jane Ross.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Life on a Limited Budget Part 2

5MJ cooked fried rice. The idea came from Jessica who thought that it would be a good idea to turn all the rice that we cooked in the previous lesson into fried rice. Here is the video of that lesson. The class had a lot of problem solving to do. This was not a cooking lesson, but an inquiry into how to create a healthy meal for under Rp 14.000 or $1.60 for four people. Each student brought in an ingredient and all of these had to be priced and added together.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Student Questions About Rice

Last Thursday 5MJ brainstormed some questions about rice farming in Indonesia. We have learned that Indonesia is the 3rd largest consumer of rice in the world and it is the largest importer of rice.

5MJ students wondered about rice farming ..

Each student wrote a blog post about their rice questions. Today in class we will watch a video that Ms Jane made about rice farming near Bogor. The students will also be working on finishing their information report on cooking a meal for Rp 14.000 for four people.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Carrying Water - How much can a Grade 5 student carry?

My partner teacher Marion MacQueen made a great inquiry into carrying water. As a part of our inquiry into Life on a Limited Budget we have been looking at how people in the villages live in Indonesia. We have learned that there are many people who live in places that don't have clean water. The children in Grade 5 were asked to find out how much water they are able to carry.

We took our initial inquiry into carrying water a step further by actually experimenting with filling and carrying buckets. By now the class knew that you needed 2 litres a day to survive, and 25 litres a day to stay clean and healthy. What did those quantities look like? How much can be carried in a bucket?

Inquiry Into Life on a Limited Budget

My class 5MJ has just started a new unit of work. The theme is Sharing the Planet and our focus is about resources and how they are not equally shared in the world. This is particularly the case in Indonesia.

This morning 5MJ were given a task to follow up their front loading done last week. In that activity the students were asked to work out how they could buy a meal for four people with Rp. 14.000. The students thought that it was impossible, so today we decided to inquire further.


The students worked in groups. They brainstormed what kinds of food they could buy and recorded the questions asked by the group as they tried to find out. Each group found that they had more questions than answers.


Where can we buy the food? (Jinny)

Is 14,000 enough? (Bernhard)

How much money do we need to get us to BSD and Jakarta? (Regina)

Where can we find food that is cheap and near to BSD? (Keaton)

Where can we find food that is less than 14,00o? (Jessica)

What food can we buy with only 14,000? (Regina)

How much is a meal for a person? (Jinny)

Is bread enough for eating in one meal? (Gabi) – Can we just eat bread for this meal?

How long does the big aqua last? (Gabi)

What different foods are cheap? (Shereen)

What if the person can’t even buy the food? (Gabi)

How much is tempe? (Zubin)

What is the price of something cheap to drink? (Lisa)

How much nutritious food can the people with less money eat? (Shereen)

What kind of foods are too expensive for people who have less money? (Shereen)

Can you just live on water? (Zubin)

Each group asked their group members about which food they eat the most of every day. In each group, rice was the food that was eaten the most. We agreed that we needed to include rice in this meal that we are trying to plan.

Ms Jane shared a video that she took last night when she went to a warung (small shop) to buy rice. Ms Jane bought 3 kinds of rice, Rp. 6.200, Rp. 6.500 and Rp. 6.800.

We took at look at each of the three liters of rice that was purchased and compared them. We wondered how much does it weigh? Each student made an estimation after feeling the weight.

Many students talked about how much rice they cooked at their house and where they bought the rice.

Next we decided to COOK the rice. We had a big discussion about how to cook the rice. Jinny was the only student who knew that you had to wash the rice before cooking it. We decided to make three groups of four to work together to cook the rice. Ms Agnes had bought her rice cooker to school for us to use.

We need to find out more …. we wondered how much rice costs at a supermarket.

And then we wondered …

How is rice distributed across the world?

Our current UOI is ‘Sharing the Planet’ and our central idea is:

“It is our shared responsibility to ensure resources are more evenly distributed.”

Gabi found a great website which is the International Rice Research Institute. From the website we can learn about which countries consume the most rice in the world. Here is a pie chart showing which countries consume the most rice.

Image from:

So, back to our first inquiry …

How can we make a meal with only Rp 14.000 budget?

Jessica had a great idea! She asked, “Why don’t we make fried rice with the rice that we cooked today?” We agreed that this might be possible with our budget of Rp. 14.000. We know that one liter of rice can cost as little as Rp. 6.200.

Now the class is looking into what ingredients are in fried rice.

Some of the students said that eggs are in fried rice. Ms Jane shared a video that she took last night at an egg shop in the village. To buy the fresh eggs it costs Rp. 13.500 per kilo. I wonder how many eggs are in one kilo?

(video coming soon)

We must decide who will being which ingredient and that person must know the price of that ingredient.