This is a serious fun activity we wrote for the Engage project*. As human population increases, our appetite for meat grows but very soon demand will outstrip supply. Farming large animals puts a strain on our natural resources and creates polluting waste. Scientists are proposing eating insects to help solve this problem. In this activity students are asked to plan a menu for the school canteen which contains tasty insect dishes alongside more familiar ones. Can they use persuasive communication, and their knowledge of natural resources, to get students to opt for the insect alternatives?
Learning objective: Communicate an opinion using evidence, persuasive writing and scientific knowledge of Earth’s natural resources.
Download the activity
Starter The news story is presented: Brussels University canteen sell dishes containing insects
Main Students design their special lunch menus
Plenary Peer assessment of persuasive writing.
*Engage is a European Commission project to prepare students for making decisions in their lives using science. Its materials are published under a Creative Commons license.
England National Curriculum KS3:
- Spoken language: articulating scientific concepts clearly and precisely
- Chemistry: Earth and atmosphere: Earth as a source of limited resources; the production of carbon dioxide by human activity
GCSE Combined Science subject content:
- Scientific vocabulary, quantities, units, symbols and nomenclature: use scientific vocabulary, terminology and definitions
- Chemistry: Carbon dioxide and methane as greenhouse gases: evaluate the evidence for additional anthropogenic causes of climate change; The Earth’s water resources
A comprehensive article on eating insects for teacher background reading
Most of the data in this activity came from this FAO report on edible insects
Professor Marcel Dicke from Wageningen UR makes an appetizing case for adding insects to everyone’s diet.
Why not offer your students some insects to try? Enter the code ENGAGEwithGRUB at the checkout for a 10% discount.
Reviews – why not add yours below?
“I tried this activity in my Geography class (age group: 12-13 years) and the results were really rewarding. Students expressed enormous interest. All of them became involved, they participated in the discussions and they handled efficiently their assignments. It led to a discussion about the inadequacy of earth’s resources due to population growth and what the solutions to that problem might be. Thank you!” User: Natdrak
“I have used this with my year 8 students and they loved it. I had them calculate how many different insects they would need to eat in order to have a balanced diet – they got really competitive to see who would finish first. Thanks again for this.” User: davekier
“My Year 8 class loved this – they enjoyed making menus and writing a piece to persuade people to consider insect-based dishes as an alternative to meat. Great resource – thank you.” User: Maryb
“A potentially boring, over-done topic of increasing demands on natural resources (yawn yawn to a Year 7 pupil). This Xmas menu activity makes the topic more ‘digestible’ and very accessible to all pupils. Pupils learned! Pupils enjoyed! = success. Thanks.” User: Maryb
“I used it with year 7, students created their own recipes. They did not like the idea of eating insects but after discussing the topic, watching the videos and analysing opinions from different perspectives, they then changed their mind. The material is very inspiring. A strategy to provoke their curiosity would be starting the lesson cooking insects, in order to make the context more fun with demonstrations. The science-in-the-news links were very useful. It was possible to connect the lesson with natural resources, ecosystems, sustainable actions and societal values. When they were able to include their knowledge, information analysed in the materials and evidence found in the multimedia references (news and TED video) they improved their writing significantly. However some students who were not able to justify their opinions with enough knowledge during the debate in peers had more difficulties to elaborate argumentative writing. Next time It might be worth to try different strategies for group discussion for peers to share questions, arguments, knowledge and evidence.” User: Alex
“This activity is very interesting for the biology students.” User: Rusben