Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Moral Tales: A Program on Making Choices for Grades 2-3

Alternate Activity 2: Material World

Part of Moral Tales

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Copy of the book, Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel (Sierra Club Books, 1994)
  • Optional: Copy of the book, Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel (Random House, Inc., 2005)

Preparation for Activity

  • Look through the book or books and bookmark some pages to show the children which will demonstrate visually the large discrepancy in what people in different parts of the world own and eat. You may also wish to read some of the captions and prepare to share with the group the information you learn.

Description of Activity

The goal of this activity is to show visually patterns of ownership and wealth across the globe. Both books photographically depict families around the world. In Material World, families place all of their worldly belongings in their yard for a picture. In Hungry Planet, photographs reveal the eating habits of 30 families from 24 different countries. Photographs are both respectful and honest, revealing the large discrepancy in what people in different parts of the world own and eat.

Show the children the pictures that you have selected and share information from the books. Ask questions like:

  • What do you notice in this picture?
  • What differences do you notice between this picture and the last one?
  • Does this seem fair to you?
  • What would be in a picture of your belongings?
  • What would be in a picture of your family's meals?

Including All Participants

It is important to remember as you plan and lead this activity that some children in the group might be homeless or living below the poverty line. Be careful to use language that includes this possibility and that does not assume all of the children come from financially wealthy homes. Avoid language that refers to people with less money or people living in other countries as if they are "different" from these children, or in a category of "other."