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Fairtrade lesson: ‘Banana Split Game’ (CAFOD)
Thursday 6th October
The class were divided into five (mixed ability) groups. Each group represented different jobs in the banana chain. It was explained to them that they are going to explore the path of the banana as it is exported from its plantation in Latin America to their fruit bowls.
In the first round, the roles were: banana worker, planatation owner, shipper, importer and ripener and shop or supermarket. The children were given a role card and asked to read the role information.
After a discussion about the role card, the children were told that each banana cost 15p. They were then asked to decide how much of the 15p they should get for the job/ work they do in the banana chain. The children spent a couple of minutes discussing this. At first, the children shared the 15p equally between the five jobs but with directed discussion, they decided to split the money in other ways. ‘I think it’s fair if the banana worker gets the most amount of money’. This was a common comment across the groups. The group, who had the shipper card, talked about the cost of petrol and vehicles and thought this contributed to the overall cost. After some time, one child in each group told the class about their decided amount. This varied across the groups.
When the true breakdown of who gets what from the final price of a Latin American banana was revealed to the children, the children were very shocked. Comments such as, ‘but that’s not fair’ and ‘supermarkets shouldn’t get the most amount of money because they don’t do much work with the bananas’ were uttered. The class were in agreement that banana workers should get the most amount of money because they work hard. The following questions were asked: ‘Is their cut of the money fair?’, ‘Why do they think the banana money is split like this?’ and ‘Who loses out most in the banana split?’ The children shared their answers and contributed well to the class discussion.
In the second round, the children were given a new set of cards. The cards showed the same role but this time, they are going to try and debate a possible switch to Fairtrade Standards at Daniel’s banana plantation. The pupils were given a few minutes to read their new stories and prepare their arguments. The ‘not sure’ roles decided which way to go. Frank the Shipper has now become a Shopper/Dad, (shipping costs stay the same whether bananas are fairly traded or not).
The teams presented their arguments to the rest of the class, and held a negotiating round over whether to switch to Fairtrade. The teacher asked: ‘Is it in everyone’s interest?’ Initially, the children said it was in everyone’s interest but with some guidance, the children decided that some people would miss out.
At the end of the session, the children watched a short video about Fairtrade, called ‘Some Real Fairtrade Bananas’. The short video was discussed after the children watched it. They were in agreement that the producers should get a ‘fair’ price for their bananas even when supermarkers lower their prices.