The Competition Gym at the Episcopal School of Dallas was buzzing with students and parents at the first “Snack Sack” presentation in November. Students were responsible for working in small teams to research and assemble nutritional snacks to donate to students at the St. Simon’s After School Program at Stephen C. Foster Elementary. The students then explained their selections to their parents on hand-made poster boards.
“This project was just one of several steps we’re taking to help raise student awareness about hunger insecurities in North Texas Food Bank, and learn how their actions are making a difference,” Christi Morrow, ESD’s Director of Community Service, said.
Through ESD’s Learning Innovation Grant program, Jill Simpson, a fifth grade math teacher, teamed up with Morrow over the summer to develop an integrated learning unit that would not only sharpen students’ math skills, but also make them more aware of hunger issues and food insecurity challenges in North Texas and identify how they can help.
“I decided to tie it in with my decimals study,” Simpson explained. “It was too easy to just make the students quantify the costs of the boxes, so we made them discover snacks that have no more than 400 calories per serving, and put together a sack that falls within a budget.”
“The math part of the project was really fun, but challenging, because we had to use the total calories in a box of snacks and divide it by the serving size,” student John Stallings, said. “We could use the iPads to look at calorie counter.com to help us find the numbers to start with, and then we worked together to come up with a solution that met the project’s requirements.”
“We learned that some students have access to food, but it might not be healthy food,” Sumner Wooldridge explained. “We were sad to learn that healthier food is more expensive than non-healthy food, so we’re really grateful to see these bags will help.”