What Is Hunger?

Students learn facts about hunger and food insecurity and understand the three stages of hunger.

Print2 hours

Students will:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the definitions of hunger and food insecurity.
  • identify the three stages of hunger.
  • Nectar in Sieve quote by Kamala Markandaya (Handout)
  • printout of World Food Programme "What Is Hunger?" webpage: https://www.wfp.org/hunger/what-is 

Kempf, Stephanie. Unit I: "What is Hunger?" Finding Solutions to Hunger. World Hunger Year, 1997. Web.

United Nations. "What Is Hunger?" WFP: United Nations World Food Programme, 2015. Web.

USDA. "What Is Food Security?" Economic Research Service, 2016. Web.

  1. Raise student interest with a discussion about what the word "hunger" means. Create a web or cluster graphic organizer with sticky notes to define terms, causes, and effects.

  2. Introduce the key vocabulary: food insecurity, food security, and hunger.

  3. Have students create a KWL chart on hunger and conduct research to fill in what they learned. Have them share their most interesting findings with the class.

  4. Have students begin to determine some misconceptions about hunger. Provide ample discussion time.

  5. Ask students to visualize hunger. What does it look like? Feel like? What do people who are hungry look like?

  6. Have students work in small groups to create a definition of hunger.

  7. Share with students the quote from Nectar in a Sieve, which describes what hunger is. Discuss the definition with the class.

  8. Use the definitions of hunger, food security, and food insecurity to create a framework from which to understand the three stages of hunger: food insecurity without hunger, food insecurity with moderate hunger evident, food insecurity with severe hunger.


Test on understanding of key terms