Linking Geography and Food
Social Studies & Geography ExtensionPrint this Page
- Subject(s): Social Studies & Geography
- Region / Country: Asia & Pacific Islands / People's Republic of China
- Grade Level(s): 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
- Related Publication: Slide show | A Taste of Tongren
Students will explore the ways that physical and human geography can contribute to the food culture of another world region.
Begin by viewing Amy Throndsen's slide show, A Taste of Tongren, and discussing the central concepts using the accompanying lesson plan, What Can Food Tell Us About a Place?. In the slide show, Amy describes the cuisine of the Guizhou region of China. Using the slide show as a starting point, students will explore the ways that physical and human geography can contribute to the food culture of another world region.
- give examples of how physical geography can influence food production
- describe how the movement of people into a region can influence cuisine
- explain the connection of a specific dish to the geography and culture of its region of origin
- Revisit the photos in the slide show, A Taste of Tongren. Have students make observations and inferences about Tongren's climate and geography. Suggested questions:
- What landforms do you see?
- Do you see any bodies of water or evidence of water?
- What foods are grown? What conditions do you think these foods need?
- How are people dressed? What does this suggest about the climate?
- Find Guizhou province and Tongren City on a map. Discuss:
- What else do you notice about the region's topography and location (e.g ., latitude, proximity to water bodies, proximity to other countries and regions)?
- How might these influence food production and consumption?
- Discuss how geography and climate can influence a region's food production and consumption. Give familiar food production examples (e.g., oranges in Florida; corn in the Midwest; grapes in California; lobster in New England) and have students brainstorm additional ideas. How do local climate and geography make the production of these foods possible?
- Explain that human factors, like the movement of people and the presence of distinct cultural groups, also play a role in regional cuisine. Consider the past and present immigrant groups in your region. Is there evidence of these cultures in your local cuisine? (e.g., types of foods families prepare; types of foods available in local supermarkets; types of restaurants in your community; types of foods students have tried before).
- Individually or in groups, have students research food production and cuisine in a selected country, world region, or U.S. region. Ask them to investigate:
- How do geography and climate influence the types of foods that are produced?
- How do the cultural backgrounds of the people influence local cuisine?
- Have students share their learning by preparing a dish from their chosen region. When presenting the dish, students should explain:
- Which ingredients are produced in the region?
- How do climate and geography make the production of these foods possible?
- What are the origins and cultural significance of the dish?
Framework and Standards
- Where we live influences how we live.
- Both physical and human factors shape a place and its practices.
- How does geography play a role in my daily life and in the lives of others?
- How does the movement of people influence the culture of a place?
- Essential Element II: Places and Regions
- Essential Element III : Physical Systems
- Essential Element IV: Human Systems
- Social Studies
- Thematic Strand I: Culture
- Thematic Strand VII : Production, Distribution, and Consumption