Saturday, 15 October 2011

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.

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