Using Google Maps to Explore Food Deserts

Katelyn Gardepe, Fifth Grade, Selwyn ES

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This unit is intended to spark curiosity about the many social issues that plague our society and the areas around the neighborhoods of our students. Students will use Google Maps and the United States Department of Agricultural (USDA) Research Atlas to explore income and access to healthy and nutritional foods in various neighboring areas in my student’s community. Students will use the internet in various capacities to access data on demographics, locations of supermarkets and convenience stores in the specified areas, and ways in which we are working to help diminish food deserts and food insecurity in our county. Students will explore Food Deserts, where they are located, and attempt to understand why they exist. We will locate the local supermarkets and convenience stores, determine the difference between the two, and how access to one or the other could affect your entire lifestyle. Throughout the unit, students will explore various math concepts such as place value, addition and subtraction strategies, units of measure and conversion through scaling, and comparing fractional parts. As a culminating project, students will express understanding of all of these different pieces through collaboration. Each group will gather additional data on the topic to share with the class and come up with a variety of ideas on what we can do to help!