The Ecological Cost of Dinner

Credit for the video above : Glam, inc.

The idea for this inquiry came up after participating in a video lesson of MIT BLOSSOMS project regarding food energy transfer. The video title was "The Ecological Cost of Dinner", and is found in the following link:

Watch the video, and after you finish, try to design a family dinner with as lower ecological footprint as possible. Present your dinner with a video or graphics which describe and explain why it has a low ecological footprint, and add it as an answer with a point on the world map.

Provide an answer by clicking on "Map" and then on "Add an Answer".

Results, Analysis and Discussion

1.  Teng Teng (16.08.2017 pm 12.07.46)
Good job! Easy for understanding.

Dear Group 4 members,

Thank you for providing this excellent video instruction for students. 

In my own understanding from the video, it explains how important the ecology is on the earth and how it is affected in our lives.

Ecological cost in daily life is important for both people’s health and ecological environment health. The video presents people’s daily life which is easy for students to understand because it is connected to their lives. For example, the video presents the theory by going to supermarket and showing groceries’ features there. It not only gives students a close look on daily lives, but also let them feel practical.

As concepts shown in the research ‘Environmental impacts of food consumption in Europe’(, it elaborates how food consumption relates to environment. Specifically, like it mentioned, “The overall results indicate that, for most of the impact categories, the consumed foods with the highest environmental burden are meat products (beef, pork and poultry) and dairy products (cheese, milk and butter)”. These are foods we should consider seriously in daily lives. It also help us analyze the inner essence and theory for understanding better how it happens.

Overall, your group did a good job and this topic became more meaningful through your presentations. 



2.  fang zhou (17.08.2017 pm 10.40.00)
Good job!


I’ve read your assignment and watch the video you provided, finding that you are doing a really good job!

According to the blossom video, the main principles that the professor wanted to impart are: the efficiency during energy transfers, the 10% rule of energy transfer and also the concept of ecological footprint, which is a measure of how much nature is being used compared to how much is available.

Your project asks students to design a family dinner whose ecological cost is as lower as possible. The question you came up with are based on the course contents, and is relevant for everyday life. It will make students to think more about the concept of ecological footprint and stimulate their critical thinking to design a high efficient dinner. The video you provide make the topic more interesting and easy to understand. And the answer with a point on the world will make students to think more about how the people in different countries design their dinners, which will lead the question to a deep level.

However, I have some questions and suggestions about this project:

1)       In the beginning, you show us a video about 100 years of family dinners change. When I saw the video, I thought there must be some difference between the dietary structures of different years. However, after the video finished, I couldn’t find there are some differences between the human choices about the food in different years, which are all including meat, vegetables, some sauces, etc. I think it if better to present a video with different choices of dietary structure, which are more close to the main point of this project.

2)       I think it is better to mention the 10% rule of energy transfer in the brief description of the project, which is the main concept of the blossom video and based which students can figure out the most efficient dinner better.

3)       I wonder if there are some standards to measure the efficiency of the dinners? I think it is difficult to compare the efficiency of two different kinds of dinner without any standards.

Anyway, you did an absolutely good job that make students easy to understand.

Zhou Fang


3.  Chen Tan (17.08.2017 pm 10.44.44)
Easy and Funny for Students!

Hello, students in Group 4!

You provided an easy and funny way for students to explore the Ecological Cost on their personal life.

Students may have dinner on their own home every day, but it seems rare for them to think deeply about the cost of their dinner. How much energy contained in the dinner can student and their parents absorb? And how much energy, on the other words, the cost of the dinner, are wasted? The dinner not only cost money, but also spend some Ecological Cost such as what shown in your video—some packaging, and unfinished food.

Your video links to real life closely, and I think it is also interesting for students to calculate these costs, so students can have a better understanding of the Ecological Cost.

One thing I want to say is that your video have no animation or something like this. Although it is not necessary, I am wondering if you add some captions or cartoon figures to your video, it will became more attractive to students. See the link ( it is also a video about ecological footprint, and it is totally a cartoon. You can choose some animation techniques or shooting skills used in this video to improve your own video. I think add some background music is also a very effective way. Try to be funny and attractive, we can have better product! However, this is just my personal idea, and it may be incorrect. Welcome to explore!

Overall, I think the video shows that your group have a great idea! Thankyou!

Chen Tan

4.  WANG RU (17.08.2017 pm 11.33.47)
Good job!


  Having watched the BLOSSOMS video, "The Ecological Cost of Dinner", and the video made by yourselves based on the PBL assignment, I think it is an excellent job you have done!

As the video is very simple and has close relationship with our daily life, you succeeded in transferring the abstract concept into a simple one. During the video, I like the last caption best because it plays a role in focusing on the main theme to a certain extent. It suggests that even though a dinner is very common in our life, we should consider more about it such as the ecological cost. Think and learn based on life, we will gain a lot more than the theory in textbooks. What’s more, everyone must be interested in doing this assignment because it is about the dinner and full of challenge.

Besides, it is maybe more perfect if you give a detail introduction about the ecological cost of a dinner such as giving an example. Under this circumstance, students would not be at a loss when given an assignment to design a dinner with a low ecological footprint.

Looking forward to talk with you!

Wang Ru

5.  Akimov Vladislav (21.08.2017 pm 04.49.13)

I find your video quite good, and giving great example of the contrast between the volume of the food that is bought compared to the amounts of volume that are thrown away,
Also by combning the video with the BLOSSOMS lesson, gives to the pupil the full experince of learning by going a bit further in that field combining several disciplines.
The only thing that I can suggest is maybe to provide an example of such low carbon-fingerprint meal, as for to present the pupils the away on how to start thier approch to the problem at hand, or maybe show what are the most important parameters that are needed to be taken into consideration when making such menu or meal.
That said, I think you did great job in the short time you hade to do so.

History of edits
Edited BY: Itamar Frie Edit Date: 2017-08-12 08:55:11
Edited BY: Itamar Frie Edit Date: 2017-08-12 08:43:05
Edited BY: Itamar Frie Edit Date: 2017-08-10 11:37:20
Edited BY: Itamar Frie Edit Date: 2017-08-10 11:34:18
Created By: Itamar Frie Edit Date: 2017-08-10 11:19:21