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Freerice- Elementary Vocabulary

Page history last edited by Chelsie Schwartz 7 years, 4 months ago


By Chelsie Schwartz and Olivia Torrance



What is Freerice?

Freerice is a free online game and learning tool that can be found at the URL http://freerice.com/. Freerice was founded in October 2007 and since then has helped many children with education as well as feeding millions of people since the game has launched with help from sponsors.This game allows players to raise rice to fight world hunger while learning through educational, multiple-choice games. 10 grains of rice are donated to the World Food Programme for every question that is answered correct. Freerice has a policy of purchasing rice from the same country to which the rice is allocated. This means that we not only save on the cost of transporting the rice, more importantly we also support the local economy. When you play the game, sponsor banners appear on the bottom of the screen for every correct answer that you choose. The money generated by these banners is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people (World Food Programme, "FAQ", 2013).


The word definitions for English vocabulary come from a wide variety of sources including dictionaries, thesauruses and books of synonyms. Each definition is double-checked and edited for accuracy. There are 60 levels of vocabulary with over 12,000 words in all, but it is rare for people to get above level 50 (World Food Programme, "FAQ", 2013).








(World Food Programme, "About Freerice.com", 2013)



(World Food Programme, "Freerice - Not Your Average Trivia Game!", 2012)


The available subjects include English vocabulary (the original subject with which the game launched), multiplication tables, pre-algebra, chemical symbols (basic or intermediate), English grammar, SAT, basic foreign language vocabulary for English speakers (French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish), human anatomy, geography (flags of the world, world capitals, country identification and world landmarks), the identification of famous artwork, and literature (classic and popular books). Total score is displayed as a mound of rice and the amount grains (World Food Program, "FAQ", 2013).


(World Food Program, "Subjects", 2013)


Why Freerice.com says learning vocabulary is important:  

Learning new vocabulary has tremendous benefits. It can help you: 

  • Better formulate your ideas
  • Write more effective papers, emails and business letters
  •  Speak more precisely and persuasively
  • Comprehend more of what you read
  • Read faster because your comprehension improves
  • Get higher grades in high school, college and graduate school
  • Increase your scores on tests like the SAT, GRE, LSAT and GMAT
  • Improve your performance at job interviews and conferences
  •  Sell yourself, your services, and your products more effectively
  •  Be more successful in your job

(World Food Programme, "FAQ", 2013) 


(World Food Programme, "Freerice", 2013)


How to Play Freerice:  

  1. When you go to the website the page starts with English vocabulary. (As seen above)
  2. Students can create an account that will keep track of the grains of rice they earn by clicking on the tab on the top of the page that says “Sign Up”. From there students will be asked to create a username, give an email address, and a birthday. (World Food Programme, "Sign Up', 2013)
  3. An email will then be sent to the student that will give the student a link that logs then into the website. After the link is clicked the students will be asked to change their password to something they remember. Their profile and password can be edited once the student is logged in because the top of the screen will now show a tab that says "My Account". When putting the mouse over this tab a drop menu appears that has the option that says "Edit Profile" When this is clicked the students are taken to a page that allows them to change their password.
  4. The students can also add their class as a group (only if the teacher has create a group for the class) by going to the top of the main window on the page where is says "Select a group". Students will be given a small window in which they will need to click on "Find a group". Then students will be taken to a page with a list of groups. The student can search for the name of his or her class' group. 
  5. Students can then begin playing by clicking on the "Home" tab at the top of the page. The English Vocabulary game is what appears on the home page.  
  6. If the subject needs to be changed, go to the top of the page and click on the tab that says “Subjects” where you can pick the subject you would like. 
  7. If after answering the first question the student needs a more difficult level, the bottom of the main window with the question will have a button that says “Change level”. After clicking this, the level can be changed to a more appropriate level for the student. 
  8. To answer the question on the screen, click on the correct answer in the middle of the page.  (As directions are seen above on the right side of the webpage)
  9. If the question is answered correctly a harder question with appear next. If the question is answered incorrectly the next question will be easier. The wrong answers also reappear later on while playing the game until it is answered correctly.
  10.  For each correct answer FreeRice donates 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. The number of grains earned for the current game can be seen on the right hand side of the screen in which the rice earned appears in a bowl (as can be seen below). Once a student is logged in, the website will keep track of how many total grains of rice the student has earned. This can be seen on the top of the main window where is says "My totals".


How to Incorporate Freerice into the Classroom:

There are a variety of different levels that can be used for the vocabulary. Based on the grade and level of the class the level for the students can be determined so that students are challenged enough, but not challenged to the point that they do not learn.

This is also a great tool for a variety of other subjects and can be used in many other content areas in the curriculum for a variety of grades.

This tool also allows for different languages to be used. Therefore, if there is a second language learner the student can use this tool to strengthen both his or her first and second language.


Ideas in the Classroom:

Lesson 1: Vocabulary Box

Students are first broken up into two teams to play the English Vocabulary game at the level that is appropriate for the students. The screen can be projected onto a screen so all the students in the class can see the question. One student from the first team can come up and try to answer the question or guess which word is associated with the key word that is shown on the screen. The student’s team can help, but they only have 10 seconds to guess a word. If the student or team guesses correctly, the team gets a point and continues guessing the next word. If the student or team guesses the word wrong, the student’s turn in over and must create a vocabulary card for the vocabulary box of the key word and the correct associated word. A student from the next team would then take his or her turn. The game continues in the same way. Through this game the vocabulary box will grow over time. Students can also choose to create an online vocabulary box through a flashcard site (Neufeld, 2012).


Lesson 2: Think Twice For Rice

Students will first need to be broken up into teams of four students. It is suggested that ability levels should be mixed within the teams. If there are students left over from teams of four those students can be made scorekeeper or timekeeper. The students will be required to create an order of play within their teams so that everyone gets a fair chance. A projector is then needed to project the questions on a screen so that the whole class can see. The game begins with the first player on the first team. The question can be read aloud while the students view the question on the screen. The student must then answer the question within 15 seconds. After he or she answers the question the student turns to his or her team and says “think twice for rice”, which gives the teammates a chance to agree or disagree with his or her answer. The team has a 15 second “think twice” time period to decide how to answer the question before the student must give a final answer. If the question is answer correctly the team receives a point, but if the question is answered incorrectly the team does not receive any points. The next question goes to the first person on the next team. Once the first player of each team has had a turn, the game continues with the second player on each team. The game continues for a set number of rounds or for a set time ("Think Twice for Rice", 2010).


Lesson 3: Hunger Games

During a Hunger Games unit students can participate in a class mock reaping for the class “Games”. The class “Games” can be based on who earns that most grains of rice. The student with the most grains of rice becomes the “Victor”. In order for students to keep track of how many grains that earn the students must create accounts and log into the website before they begin. A class group can also be created (Orman, 2012).


Web Links:


This link is a great resource that explains how to use this tool. This is also a great resource that gives an idea of how to have students use the tool and gives a great log for students to use to keep track of their work.



This link has a great document that can be downloaded that has ideas about how the game can be played in the class: two team class competition, small group competition, or individual competition. This downloadable document also explains how using this tool is beneficial to students in the classroom.



This link provides information about Freerice from the organization, World Food Programme, which is through where the grains of rice are donated. This link provides information on what the game is and what the rice goes.



This is a great link that shows how one teacher incorporated the tool of Freerice into her classroom. The teacher answers questions about what she did in her classroom and how the students did when working with the tool.



This link gives people a good idea about how students feel about using FreeRice. This link provides a student’s perspective about how he feels about Freerice and how he tried getting his school to participate. 






(World Food Programme, "Infographic: The Freerice Phenomenon, 2012)



  Neufeld, S. (2012, December 19). Teacher Development: Using FREERICE in the language classroom. Retrieved June 13, 2013, from Blogger      website: http://sfltdu.blogspot.com/2012/12/using-freerice-in-language-classroom.html


Orman, T. (2012, September 30). Incorporate Free Rice Into Your Class "Games". Retrieved June 13, 2013, from Blogger      website: http://www.hungergameslessons.com/2012/09/incorporate-free-rice-into-your-class.html


Think Twice for Rice: A Grammar and Vocabulary Game. (2010). Retrieved June 13, 2013, from Education World      website: http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/dailylp/dailylp/dailylp116.shtml


World Food Programme. (2012, January 5). Freerice - Not Your Average Trivia Game! [Video file]. Retrieved      from http://www.wfp.org/videos/freerice-not-your-average-trivia-game


World Food Programme. (2012, January 13). Infographic: The Freerice Phenomenon [Video file]. Retrieved      from http://www.wfp.org/videos/infographic-freerice-phenomenon


World Food Programme. (2013). About Freerice.com. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from Freerice website: http://freerice.com/about


World Food Programme. (2013). FAQ. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from Freerice website: http://freerice.com/about/faq


World Food Programme. (2013). Freerice. Retrieved June 15, 2013, from Freerice website: http://freerice.com/


World Food Programme. (2013). Sign Up. Retrieved June 13, 2013, from Freerice website: http://freerice.com/user/register


World Food Programme. (2013). Subjects. Retrieved from Freerice website: http://freerice.com/category


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