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Library Games #1: Free Rice!

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Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students will learn how to play games on Free Rice, the web site that is owned by and supports the United Nations World Food Programme.  On Free Rice, students learn vocabulary, flags of the world, chemistry, anatomy, maths, and much more!  Each time a question is answered correctly, rice is donated to the World Food Programme, helping to end world hunger.  If you need a filler or last-minute lesson that requires no preparation, this is as good as it gets!

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:



To become familiar with the Free Rice web site and to play at least two games on Free Rice, thus helping to eliminate world hunger while learning.

Suggested Time:

40-45 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each student will find and bookmark the Free Rice web site and play two Free Rice games.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Explain to the students that sometimes they catch a break, a lesson so enjoyable they’ll want to tell all their friends.  Today is the day for that lesson!

Because of field trips / scheduling complications / teacher illness or absence / earned reward, this period gets to be one of great learning but also great fun.  Grab a device, a partner, and get to work on freerice.com.

2. Main:

Demonstrate how to play games on freerice.com.

Teach the children that this web site is owned by and supports the United Nations World Food Programme.  So, every time they answer a question correctly, ten grains of rice are donated to help end world hunger.  Demonstrate how answering a question correctly results in grains of rice in the bowl on the right.

Show the children how to choose different categories to play.  Ask them to play one of the vocabulary games and one other game.  Also point out that if they miss a question, the correct answer is given at the top of the page.  So, even if they answer incorrectly, they can learn the correct answers!  Questions missed are repeated in the game, so go slowly enough to learn the correct responses.  Give students most of the class period to play Free Rice.

Note that a student’s progress cannot be tracked and points saved unless he creates an account and logs in.  I usually don’t have my students create a log-in.  Please adjust this per your own school policy and preferences.

3. Conclusion:

Wrap-up by explaining that their work today really has resulted in a donation to the World Food Programme.  Challenge the children to play the game often to improve their own knowledge and to make further rice contributions.

  1. Internet access.
  2. Devices, at least one for every two students.
  3. Flipchart paper or board to record the students’ scores (optional)


I usually show my fourth and fifth graders how to play Free Rice.  I’ve been using this lesson for years and everyone loves it!  There are enough categories of questions that everyone has a chance to show his or her expertise.  The students cannot get enough of filling their rice bowls.  The biggest problem you’ll have in this lesson is kids shouting out their scores, “I’ve got 800 grains!!” etc.

This is my “go to” lesson when a class needs cover quickly, or when I need a “filler” lesson due to a staff absence or scheduling complications.  There is no preparation, it’s 100% educational, the kids love it, and it’s quick and easy to get them started.  You need an internet connection and devices, but other than that, the class runs itself.

Recommended books for this lesson:


Key Terms:

Games, Vocabulary, United Nations, World Food Programme, Hunger, Rice