Just Say "Know" to World Hunger

K, 1, 2

The learners will analyze what it means to be hungry, why people are hungry around the world, and what they can do. They define vocabulary, explore some statistics through a simulation, and come to a consensus on an organization to partner with for a fundraising project. 

PrintThree 45-Minute Class Periods

The learner will

  • define vocabulary words related to hunger and giving.
  • give reasons why some people are hungry.
  • identify areas around the world that are in the greatest need for food.
  • complete a hunger web/KWL to analyze what is hunger, why people are hungry, what can be done, and who we can work with.
  • brainstorm what can be done to stop hunger.
  • express their thoughts through journal entries using pictures and/or words.
  • come to a consensus on a fundraising project for hunger.
  • read-aloud copy of Uncle Wille and the Soup Kitchen (see Bibliographical References)
  • student journals (six to eight half sheets of paper stapled with a cover)
  • printout of Handout One: Hunger Facts for teacher background
  • printout of Handout Two: Story of Stone Soup for teacher read aloud
  • copies of Handout Three: Vocabulary Foldable for each learner
  • chart paper for hunger web graphic organizer, plus markers
  • a simple snack, such as a box of cereal or snack crackers
  • a jar or bowl of pennies (at least 20 cents)
Home Connection 

Dear Families, Our class is learning about hunger in the world and in our community. As we gain compassion and understanding of the needs of others, we also learn that we have the ability to help and make a difference. We will also study nutrition and counting coins, graphing, and comparing values. In addition, we will be discussing literature and writing reflections. In this unit, our students will be raising money to help hungry people. We will select an appropriate organization to work with, and encourage other classrooms in our school to join our efforts. After our collection period is over, we will invite you to learn about our efforts. We will communicate to you and others the steps we took and the impact our dollars made. Students are encouraged to donate their own money and find ways to earn money for donation by doing chores at home and for relatives. Thank you for your support. Sincerely,


Note: Some of these links are from faith-based organizations.


  1. Day One

    Anticipatory Set:

    Ask the students about their favorite foods. Have a brief discussion about delicious foods students like to eat.

  2. Have students raise their hands if they have ever felt hungry. Ask a few students to describe what it feels like to be hungry. Ask them how long they think they could stand feeling that way. Start a discussion with the following dialogue:

  3. Teacher: " Have any of you ever said the words, I'm starving?" Students reply with varied answers.

    Teacher: "Do you think you were starving, or were you just hungry?" Students reply with varied answers.

    Teacher: "Who can tell me what it means to be starving?" Students reply with varied answers. Discuss the difference between feeling hungry and starving. Most children have not experienced starvation. Tell them that when they say, "I'm starving," they are probably exaggerating. What they really feel is hunger. But feeling hungry between meals is not like the hunger many people around the world feel because they don't have access to enough food every day.

    Teacher: "Today we are going to learn about hunger around the world and what we can do about it."

  4. Before reading aloud the book, Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen, ask the learners to describe some of their favorite meals (this may include the type of food, the setting, or the routine). Tell them you are going to read about a special place where people can go to eat if they don't have enough money to buy food and stay healthy. As you read aloud, talk about the details, ask questions to allow students to predict what will happen next, and check for understanding. After reading, discuss the following questions: How does the boy in the story feel about the soup kitchen? How can you tell? Who eats at a soup kitchen, and why do they eat there? Where do you think the food comes from to feed the guests at the soup kitchen? What do you think we could do if this soup kitchen was in our town?

  5. Introduce and discuss the vocabulary terms that are important to this lesson (bold terms will be used in Day Three activity):

    • action -- the process of doing something (take action to make a change)
    • common good -- Involves individual citizens having the commitment and motivation to promote the welfare of the community (even if they must sacrifice their own time, personal preferences or money) to work together with other members for the greater benefit of all.
    • fundraising -- raising money to benefit a cause or organization
    • hunger -- when people do not get enough of the right kinds of food to be healthy and to grow and develop
    • kindness -- an act of goodwill; the state or quality of being kind
    • need -- the lack of something desirable, useful, or necessary
    • philanthropy -- the giving of one’s time, talent, or treasure and taking action for the common good
    • selfless -- putting others needs before one's own
  6. Ask the students if they were aware of people who are hungry in the world (including their own community) before today. Ask the students if they want to find a way that they can help feed people who are hungry (like Uncle Willie does). Tell them that they are going to be philanthropists as they share their time, talent, or treasure, and take action for the common good by feeding people who are hungry.

  7. Tell the students you are going to read a short story about people working together to help the whole community. Read aloud the story on Handout Two: The Story of Stone Soup. Discuss the questions at the end of the handout. Discuss the theme "working together creates a greater good." Ask the students if they believe they have talents and treasures to contribute that can make a difference for people who are hungry in the world. Generate excitement about helping and contributing to a greater good.

  8. Have students draw two pictures in their journals: one of a person who is hungry, and another of a person who has had enough to eat. They may write a few words describing how the pictures are different.

  9. Day Two

    Anticipatory Set:

    Tell the students there arenearly seven billion people on the earth right now and one billion of them are hungry (don't have enough food to have energy to be healthy and grow and develop). Say, "Let's imagine our class represents the population of the world. Let's count off by sevens. Everyone who says "seven" has to stand in a different area of the classroom." Point to children as they count from one to seven (make sure you don't point at your most sensitive children when you get to seven). When 6/7ths of the class are grouped separately from the other 1/7, make sure the students understand that one group represents six billion well-fed people. The other group represents one billion people who don't have access to enough food. Bring out a small treat still in its package (cereal or crackers is a good choice). Pass out handfuls of the treat to the larger group, being extra generous with a couple students. The one billion hungry people can only watch. Silence them politely if they try to object. Show the class that there is plenty leftover for the other children, but put it somewhere that indicates it will get wasted (maybe into the trash can). The students will probably react to the injustice of the situation. Discuss their reactions.

  10. Discussion Questions:

    • How did you feel when you got treats and someone else didn't? How did you feel when you didn't get treats when someone else did?
    • Did everyone get the same amount of food? Why not? (Tell the students that some people get more than they need, while others get enough.)
    • What happened that caused the small group to lose the right to eat? Was it their choice? Do poor people choose to be poor?
    • Did anyone want to share their food with the hungry group? Why did you think you couldn't share your food?
    • If I told you to share your food with them, would you be happy to do it?
    • Why did I waste food instead of giving it to people who are hungry? (Tell the students that 80,000 tons of food are wasted in America daily. That is the weight of 16,000 elephants. Tell them that there are organizations and people who redirect food before it is wasted so it goes to people who need it.)
    • What if I ask you to share your food with people who are hungry today? Would you be happy to do it?
  11. Create a large word web graphic organizer on the board or on chart paper. Write hunger in the middle. Write the following subtopics for the spokes of the web: What is hunger? Why are people hungry? What can we do? Who can help us? Have the learners think about what they already know about these questions.

  12. Ask the students what they already know about hunger. Using one color of marker, fill in information students brainstorm about what they already know about the four subtopics on the word web.

  13. Ask the students what they would like to know more about hunger and these four subtopics. Using a second color marker, write student comments and questions, adding appropriate spokes to the word web.

  14. Tell the students that you will read some facts to them that may answer some of their questions. Have them listen as you read some statistics about hunger. Read aloud some of the information on Handout One: Hunger Facts, choosing the facts that fit the students' age and expressed interest areas.

  15. Ask the students to recall some of the facts they heard to fill in the word web chart. Using a third color marker, add the new facts to the word web, matching new facts with the questions students expressed in the second color.

  16. Have the students write or draw in their journals about what they think causes some people to be hungry and what they can do to help people who are hungry.

  17. Tell the students their homework is to talk to their families about hunger. They may discuss different ways to help people who are hungry. In the next class period, the class will decide on a fundraising project.

  18. Day Three

    Anticipatory Set:

    Show the learners seven pennies and ask if that is a lot of money. Put the pennies in a jar or bowl. Tell them you are starting a penny collection. Say, "We all have pennies lying around, and it is easy to find pennies. A few pennies collected each day by a lot of people adds up to a lot of money." Ask the learners if they would like to collect change as a fundraiser to help people who are hungry.

  19. Tell the learners that in the following lessons they will be making buckets for collecting change, and they will encourage other classes to join their fundraising efforts.

  20. Ask the students if they got any ideas from their families for ways to help people who are hungry. Discuss ideas and organizations, bringing in your own ideas of possible organizations to support with your fundraising efforts. Encourage student voice and guide the students to a consensus about an organization. When you decide on an organization to partner with, spend some time discussing the work of that organization. Go on the Internet to find out more, if applicable.

  21. Remind the students that on Day One, they learned some vocabulary words. Review the words and tell them they are going to make a Vocabulary Foldable to focus on five of the words that they will be using a lot in their fundraising project. They need to know these words well because they may have to talk to other people about them.

  22. Give each student a copy of Handout Three: Vocabulary Foldable. Write the five bold vocabulary words from Day One on the board. Work together to recall and write a brief definition of each. The students fold the Vocabulary Foldable in half like a hot dog. Then they cut along the dotted lines. In the top triangle of each flap, they write one vocabulary word. Under the flap, they write the definition. They draw a symbol or picture on the lower triangle of each flap to help them remember the concepts. These completed Foldables may be used later in a display telling others about the project. Meanwhile, students may bring them home to study the words with their families.

  23. Variation for nonreaders: Have younger students skip the Vocabulary Foldable activity and draw illustrations of the chosen organization helping hungry people. Tell the students to think about the new vocabulary as they draw, then pair up students to tell about their pictures, using vocabulary in their discussions, if appropriate.


The teacher will observe students in classroom discussions to informally evaluate whether the students understand what has been taught. The teacher can also use the vocabulary foldables as an assessment of the terms. Evaluate the journals as complete or not complete, but do not assess the content since it is meant to be a personal reflection.

Cross Curriculum 

Students collect coins to support an organization of their choice that feeds people who are hungry. They also invite other classrooms to stop hunger by adding coins to the "Stop Hunger Buckets" they make.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define philanthropy as the giving and sharing of time, talent, or treasure intended for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Give an example of how citizens act for the common good.
      3. Benchmark E.5 Give examples of actions students can take to improve the common good and list or describe responsibilities that go with those actions.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities, and research.