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Calculating food waste and the environmental cost
Stefan Gates meets Pamela Kane from Wastewatch who gives him information on the amount of food that is wasted in the UK each year. Stefan uses that information to create a pie chart using a real pie to understand what are the different elements of avoidable and unavoidable food waste. The numbers are very large so he uses percentages to make comparisons. He finds out that a lot of energy is wasted and greenhouse gasses are produced when we throw food away. He demonstrates that if we stopped wasting food it would be like removing one car in five from the roads. To find out about waste in the supply chain Stefan visits a unique supermarket in Manchester. He speaks to Dan Weston who runs the fruit and veg area and he shows Stefan how they minimise their food waste in a variety of ways. We see a calculation of how many tonnes of food waste is avoided each month. Stefan then meets food waste heroes from Newton Ferrers School and joins them for lunch. They show him how they measure and collect data to compare school dinners with packed lunches and find out which produces the most waste. First broadcast in the Learning Zone on BBC2 in March 2012 as part of the series Ecomaths.
Discuss representing data in forms that will have an impact on others, such as the real pie chart representing percentage of food waste. How many other data representation methods can you spot? Use sources like the internet, magazines, advertisements, and brochures then ask the children to classify all the different ways of presenting data. Why has the particular method been chosen in each case? Ask the children to think of ways of representing data that will get across key eco issues.
Conduct a survey to find out the percentage of food that is wasted in your school? Use the ideas from Newton Ferrers to think of ways of collecting your own school data. Compare your schools results with theirs and have a discussion with the children to interpret the results. How would you change or extend your survey? How could you use the survey and present the results to encourage children to reduce food waste? Do the children in the school change their behaviour because they know you are doing the survey? What happens when you stop? How long do you need to continue a survey to feel confident that the results are reliable?
Maths in the real world.
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