How I Use It
I introduced the game after a discussion about global issues. Hunger and its causes never fails to be a topic in that discussion. I show a video about Free Rice and how it started and works, posted on YouTube. The students can't wait to play and donate. I've been stopped in the grocery store by parents telling me how everyone in the family was playing after their child told them about it! At the end of each class students record the number of grains they earned in a spreadsheet in a shared sheet. When the unit is over, we total the grains donated, and graph the results, practicing and learning skills in using a spreadsheet. Students, working with a partner, also use the World Food Program's web site (a link on the Free Rice page) to research one country. They find the reasons the people of that country are hungry and in need of help from Free Rice. Using a shared word processing document, students report that information to each other. Students would play for 5-10 minutes at the start of class or when they had finished their assignment for that day. Learning, caring, and helping, Free Rice is the start of it all!
While the game does not provide feedback for incorrect answers, you do know when you are correct. Students can practice math skills and learn new vocabulary. My 4th graders enjoyed playing, trying to earn the most grains of rice they could. Even more, they loved that those grains meant they were helping someone, somewhere in the world!