Food for Thought

The goal of the Food for Thought project is to understand how collaborative learning activities can be used to support the development of data literacy, with a focus on climate change.

The project team developed an app that combined food choice, calories and costs (topics familiar to students) with data about the amount carbon and water that it takes to produce each food item. Students worked collaboratively to create meals, and were prompted to discuss the data describing the environmental impact of their choices. 

 

The research team is examining:

  • How students collaborate to make sense of multiple sources of data.

  • The features of the classroom activity and the app that are associated with more complex discussions around the data.

  • The design features that supported or limited the students’ engagement with the content. 

 

Current work:

  • Now you can learn more and download the Food for Thought iPad app.

  • We've just collected data on a comparison study with new design of interface. 

Visit the Full Website 

Project Team

Emma Mercier (PI)

Kelly Cole

Lu Lawrence

Susan Kelly 

Max Collins

Collaborators

Sharlene Denos

Uni High

Jefferson Middle School

Funding

This project was funded by the Illinios Campus Research Board Arnold O. Beckman award (Award number: RB15253)

Publications & Conferences

Kelly, S. B., Lawrence, L., & Mercier, E. (2017). Engaging everyday science data to help make sense of data. In B. K. Smith, M. Borge, E. Mercier, & K.Y. Lim (Eds.),  Making a Difference—Prioritizing Equity and Access in CSCL: The 12th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. Philadelphia: The International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Kelly, S. B., Lawrence, L., & Mercier, E. (2017, April). Student collaboration to build joint understanding of data. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Antonio, TX.

 

Lawrence, L., Kelly, S. B., & Mercier, E. (2017, April). Designing for data literacy with collaboration and multi-touch technology. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Antonio, TX.

In the News

Wired In: Emma Mercier

The News-Gazette |  May 1, 2017

C&I professor’s app helps kids understand the environmental impact of food choices

College of Education |  May 2, 2017

New computer app encourages kids to choose eco-friendly meals

Business Standard  |  May 23, 2016 

Healthy Eating App Teaches Students Climate Change

Big Think  |  May 20, 2016

App Shows Kids How Their Dinner Affects the Planet

Take Apart  |  June 5, 2016

App calculates meals carbon footprint

Queminova  |  June 6, 2016

Illini app gives kids something to chew over  

The Big Ten Network  |  May 22, 2016

Computer app whets children's appetites for eco-friendly meals

Psyh Org  |  May 19, 2016

New app shows kids how their meal will affect the environment

Consumer Affairs  |  May 27, 2016

This App Tells Kids Exactly How Their Meals Affect the Planet

Lady Freethinker  |  December 12, 2016

App Encourages Kids to Pick Eco-Friendly Meals

Pune Mirro  |  May 24, 2016

Soon, an app that whets kids’ appetites for eco-friendly meals

The Free Press Journal  |  May 23, 2016

Soon, an app that whets kids’ appetites for eco-friendly meals

The Siasat  |  May 24, 2016

Nutrition: App That Lets Kids See Environmental Impact Of Their Food Choices Being Developed

Parent Herald  |  May 24, 2016