You will need:

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Module 5: Food

Cake Comparisons

Cake Comparisons

This is a whole class activity in which the pupils compare a processed packaged cake and a freshly baked one to investigate the footprint of the cake.

What to do:

This activity will work best if you have the ‘Where’s the Impact?’ activity pack from the Centre for Alternative Technology, used in the session of the same name. (see resources). This time however, instead of using the cards to investigate a chocolate egg with a toy inside, you will be using them to compare two similar products. As the pupils will be already familiar with the type of activity, you might want to vary the format by doing it as a whole class in a large available floor space. (Alternatively, you could have several food pairs for group work – eg home made flapjack and a bought packaged flapjack, apple pies, biscuits, etc.)

Begin by asking the pupils which cake they think will have the biggest footprint or will use the most activity cards. Start with the home made cake, and use the activity cards to trace the production process for each ingredient. If you are doing this as a whole class activity, you will need to spread the cards around the floor in a ring so they are accessible by all the pupils. When you have done the home made cake, complete the process with the bought cake. The bought cake will have many more ingredients, and also packaging. It will become clear very quickly that this has the largest footprint. Spend a bit of time letting the pupils discuss why this is.

Once again, the technical details are not the most important part of this activity – it doesn’t matter exactly how many factories have been used, or whether or not you are sure whether the ingredients have been imported or grown in Britain – the idea is to develop sequencing skills and develop a holistic approach to thinking, so that pupils realise the wider impact of everyday actions and develop the knowledge to choose wisely.

The ‘Where’s the Impact?’ activity pack, consists of several sets of cards which depict various stages of the production process eg lorries, cropland, tractors, factories, etc. If you do not have access to the pack it is still possible to do the activity through discussion, or by developing your own methods of demonstrating the process.

Ask the pupils what they have learned from the activity. They should be able to conclude that processed and packaged food has a bigger footprint than home made food. (They will also be able to consolidate some previous learning – eg the large impact of dairy products for example.)