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ECU launches video game to help adolescents understand bare supermarket shelves

Friday, 22 May 2020

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This year has seen Australians confronted by bare supermarket shelves and major restrictions on their grocery purchases for the first time in their lifetimes, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many consumers, including young people, interpreted empty shelves and limitations on staples like flour, pasta and rice with alarm, believing them to indicate genuine shortages of foods and other products as opposed to disruptions to the supply chain.

Now, a group of ECU researchers has developed a timely new educational video game aimed at helping adolescents make sense of how food production and the supply chain works.

Farm to Fork is a brand-new transformational video game aimed at students from Years 6 through 9, specifically developed as a free resource for educators in line with the school curriculum.

Newly released to the App Store, Farm to Fork has been designed to provide teachers and home schooling parents with an interactive and immersive tool with which to educate students about the health, economic, scientific and social realities of food production systems.

The game was developed by academics across ECU’s Schools of Medical and Health Sciences, Science, Education, and Arts and Humanities, in collaboration with school students and teachers.

Professor Amanda Devine from the ECU School of Medical and Health Sciences said transformational games are a strategy that has been shown to engage young people in their education.

“Farm to Fork helps young people understand the complexities of the food system, but also provides learning activities that show how simple changes can improve people’s food choice that impact health outcomes for individuals, communities and the environment,” she said.

“Children are our consumers of the future so ECU has released this game as a strategy to support better informed food choices for the health of all Australians and the planet.”

Professor Devine added that the education goals of the game have been specifically aligned to the Curriculum in Science, Design and Technologies, Humanities and Social Sciences and Health and Physical Education, making it an ideal resource for educators.

“Teachers can access lesson plans to extend student learning from the game and to help them apply new knowledge to their everyday lives,” she explained.

The game centres on the journey of a food commodity – the humble potato – from production to consumption (farm to fork), with levels and challenges to highlight learning outcomes at each stage.

Students will complete the game with an understanding that food supply chains are complex, learning that decisions at each stage can influence the nutritional quality, waste generated and economic viability of the product.

The research and development of Farm to Fork was funded by Healthway and Edith Cowan University, and is a collaborative project by researchers Ms Margaret Miller, Associate Professor Martin Masek, Dr Julie Boston, Dr Donna Barwood, Ms Sandy Smith, Mr Luke Kelly, Associate Professor Stuart Medley, Dr Jo Jung, Ms Jenny Hanna, and Professor Amanda Devine.

For more information, please contact:

Ms Margaret Miller
Senior Research Project Manager
Email: m.miller@ecu.edu.au.

FAQ

How can I download the Farm to Fork game?

Farm to Fork is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Which student cohorts is the game best suited to?

Farm to Fork has been designed and specifically mapped to the WA Curriculum for Year 7, 8 and 9. It may also be suitable in some Year 6 classrooms.

How can I incorporate Farm to Fork into my teaching?

A free teaching resource booklet and a Power Point presentation on how to play the game have been developed to support educators in introducing Farm to Fork into the classroom. Learning outcomes aligned to the WA and ACARA Curriculum areas of:

  • Science;
  • Design and Technologies;
  • Humanities and Social Sciences; and
  • Health and Physical Education.

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