Teachers' Notes

Resource created by:  East Midlands Regional Archive Council 

This resource demonstrates the different aspects of rationing during WW2 and its effects on ordinary British people.


Curriculum Links

  • KS2 Design & Technology:  Cooking and Nutrition
  • KS2 History - Study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066 (eg. 'wars throughout History', 'food throughout History', 'Rationing throughout History')
  • KS3 History: World War 2


Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of rationing and food shortages in WW2.
  • Understanding of the impact rationing had on the WW2 Home Front.
  • Skills to interpret original sources and consider the use of propaganda.


Discussion Ideas

  • Why do you think the government introduced rationing?
  • What might have happened if they had raised food prices instead?
  • How do you think British people felt about rationing in WW2?
  • What sort of food would you miss most if rationing was introduced today?
  • Why did rationing finish such a long time after the war ended?
  • Would any aspects of rationing have benefited people?
  • Do you think we generally have a healthy diet today? 


Activity Ideas

Food Technology:

  • Research ingredients: Ask pupils to write down their favourite breakfast, lunch and evening meals. Use the internet for research and get them to find out the ingredients for their three meals.
    - Which of these meals would have been affected by rationing
    - Can you think of any alternative ingredients you could use instead of the rationed ones?
  • Create a class recipe book: Pupils could create a wartime recipe book using foods listen in the ration book and additional online research. These could be sold/tasted by other year groups during a whole school event.

Art & Design:

  • Design a poster promoting the Beeston Pig Co-op, which encourages people to join.
    - Think about how you would persuade your audience that it is a good idea.
    - Think of a catchy slogan for the poster.


  • Write a short speech for a radio broadcast, encouraging people to be creative with their non-rationed foods.
    - Look at the unrationed recipes for inspiration.
    - Think about why it was particularly important to stay healthy during the war.  
  • Debate: Hold a class debate on the issue of introducing rations, arguing for the measure or the introduction of higher prices instead. Additional research can be undertaken to collect supporting evidence for each side.