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6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


English Language Arts, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 60 minutes
  • Worksheets

Regional Focus




Making Space for Food

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  • This activity helps students visualize the area of land needed to grow or raise specific foods. 
  • While practicing geometry, the students gain some insight into the disproportionate land requirements of livestock compared to plant-based protein sources.

Teaching Tips


  • This lesson is a practical and engaging way to practice mathematical concepts.
  • The worksheet for the students is very detailed, with clear instructions on how to record and analyze dimensions measured.

Additional Prerequisites

  • A large open space like a gym or field is needed for this lesson.
  • Teachers will need to provide students with measuring tapes and cones or some other sort of marker.


  • This activity can be used to review conversion from one metric value to another.
  • For students who are not very math-loving, consider creating the groups so that their strengths are emphasized in the analysis/reporting section.
  • Students could select from a wider range of foods using this resource.
  • Other related resources include this SubjectToClimate lesson about the carbon footprints of foods, this video on innovative farming practices to reduce land requirements, and this video on the negative climate impacts of beef.
  • Using this video as background, students could do similar calculations to those from this lesson but instead measure the land requirements for different energy sources like solar, wind, nuclear, and fossil fuel.
Scientist Notes
This resource is geared toward older students, 15 years and older, that can do some basic geometry by calculating the actual amount of land needed to produce 100 grams of protein from different sources. All of the facts and percentages in the resource are accurate and verifiable, and the sources offer additional resources for those interested. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.11-12.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Geometry: Modeling with Geometry (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSG.MG.A.2 Apply concepts of density based on area and volume in modeling situations (e.g., persons per square mile, BTUs per cubic foot).
  • Related Resources


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