Health Literacy: A 21st Century Skill

Continuing the discussion of 21st Century Skills  we have been having for a couple weeks now, today’s focus is the interdisciplinary theme of Health Literacy. And more specifically, the framework “understanding national and international public health and safety issues.”

A 21st century public health and safety issue that is no stranger to discussion is food security. Food security is a topic of international and national importance, and can be found frequently in the news cycle. It’s often discussed when weather events impact distribution and supply, when new reports cover genetically modified organisms and public health, or during the discussion on the effects of overgrazing and soil desertification. And these are just a few examples. A dialogue on the impacts of insecure and unsafe food resources on international public health with your students will challenge them to think about the future in feeding a growing population. That discussion could be enhanced with a visual, and we happen to have just the activity for that!

The middle school and high school lesson plan, Earth: Apple of our Eye, uses a model to illustrate the limited arable land available to grow food on Earth. Using an apple to represent the planet, sections are removed (representing water, urban areas, inhospitable lands, etc.) until you are left with the portion of the apple that represents arable land. The demonstration is followed by a class discussion on what happens to farmland as our population grows.