Last week when we went shopping during our maths lesson, we were asked to find out the price of a coconut. We discovered that they cost 69p and we worked out how much change we might get from a £1 if we paid for it.
Mrs Binnie bought it with a £1 coin and brought it back to class – it was going to be part of our lesson for today in Social Studies…
This week we were introducing the concept of Fairtrade. We had already discovered through previous lessons that food was difficult to grow in Africa and other very hot places. We also had found out that food cost a lot of money in these countries and that is was scarce. We called this the “African Food Crisis”.
We have heard about and investigated the work of the Eden Project in Kenya – encouraging children to grow their own food at school in special school gardens – called the Garden for Life and looked at the information we found on the Oxfam website.
However, we were not sure what Fairtrade involved or was meant to do…but we discovered there was a sticker like this on our Scotmid coconut. This posed so many questions…
- Why was our coconut called a Fairtrade coconut?
- Where was it grown?
- Why was it in Scotmid?
In addition to more fundamental questions such as…
- What does a coconut look and feel like outside?
- Is it a seed?
- Where does it grow?
- What is inside?
- Why does it make a sound like my tummy when you shake it?
And most important of all…
It was important that we thought about what we already knew – after all we know SO much as it is!
After an excited discussion we discovered that we already understood that
- coconuts grow in hot places like Africa and the West Indies
- coconuts grow on tall trees called Palm trees
- that we had all seen a Palm tree when we had been somewhere hot on holiday
- Bounty bars contained coconut
- coconuts contained something that might be milk but also might be juice
- coconuts were hard on the outside and difficult to open
- we were going to need to enlist specialist help to open it
We decided that we might need to go along to CDT to get some help! You may be surprised to hear this – after all most people might want to go to Home Economics for assistance with food – but our students knew that they might need use a hammer or a saw to open up our coconut. So off to CDT we went!
One drill and one saw later we were left with a container of clear liquid (funny that, it didn’t look like milk ) and two half coconuts that were glistening white inside. Melissa took them in her hands and clapped them together, making a very convincing horse hoof sound suggesting we could make a drama prop or a musical instrument with the left over husks. Another suggestion that came out of the lesson was recycling the husks as bird feeders. These were both excellent ideas considering our theme this year of sustainable development, recycling and minimising waste!
We later discovered that in countries where coconuts grow, people recycle coconut husks for jewellery, containers and even furniture!
A coconut lamp!
We all had a small sip of the coconut “milk”, having decided that is wasn’t really a milk after all…and, to be honest, none of the class particularly cared for it’s taste. We then each were given a taste of the fresh coconut flesh and everyone commented on how nice it was – and promptly asked for some more!
We concluded that it only tasted a little like the coconut in a Bounty Bar. Bounty bars are so sweet and full of added sugar that they can be a little bit sickly. This coconut was still sweet but certainly wasn’t full of too much sugar – and all the sugar that was there belonged to Mother Nature.
Whilst we enjoyed this healthy snack we came back to the issue of the Fairtrade sticker on the husk.
Why was this coconut Fairtrade?
What did it mean for us and the grower? We found out the following :
Fairtrade is about better prices and working conditions and fair
terms of trade for farmers and workers in countries like Kenya.
By asking companies to pay fair prices, Fairtrade does its best to
help the poorest farmers. It enables them to improve their position
and have more control over their lives.
We discussed where we have seen Fairtrade labels in our local shops and the range of products we have seen carrying the logo. Coffee, tea, bananas, coconuts….so many!
After the October break we will be going back to Scotmid to pay another visit. This time we will be looking out for more Fairtrade labels and making a list of all the foods that can be found under the Fairtrade sign.