Date Posted... Feb 29th 2024




Year 5 Investigate Fair Trade

In Year 5 humanities the children have been learning about the rainforest. This fascinating topic has ended with a look at products we get from the rainforest, leading to an investigation into the Fairtrade Foundation.

Today, children in two classes joined together to become orange growers and traders. They were organised into family groups and had to ‘grow’ oranges using farming tools of paper, stencils, scissors and colouring pencils.

The families could earn money (the currency being ‘peels’) by taking 4 of the oranges they had grown to the trading table. The amount they received depended on the quality of their oranges and the going market prices (which fluctuated with time).

Every week (5 minutes), the Cost of Living Officers would come to collect tax money of between 50 and 100 peels. Families faced ‘real-world’ problems like sickness and debt. Each family was aiming to earn enough money to afford to send a child to school.

The children made several important observations at the end of the activity, in particular how life was not fair for some. For those who had to borrow money to pay their taxes, the penalties were high; if they failed to earn enough, they had their tools taken in lieu of repayment, leaving them unable to earn further money.

Other groups remarked on how they had to work extremely hard for very little return. Some had family members taken away to hospital and they struggled to keep up with work and payments. None of the families came up with the idea of joining another family to work together and pool resources.

The activity helped the children to see the importance of the Fairtrade Foundation. Fairtrade works with farmers and workers in more than 1,900 producer organisations, across 70 countries, to improve standards of living and to protect and invest in communities and the environment. By buying Fairtrade products, consumers can help to ensure that these workers receive a fair and steady income for their work and produce.