topical, but tricky, questions – The Irish Times

Well-prepared students will be pleased with a challenging higher-level home economics paper that featured accessible terminology but some tricky questions, teachers have said.

Linda Dolan, home economics expert and a teacher at Mercy College, Sligo, said that some parts of the paper required very specific information and there was a “disappointing” lack of focus on nutrition and food commodities.

Students were required to answer a compulsory question on iron consumption, and there was a question on restricted budgets. Ms Dolan said that many students may have expected carbohydrates or vitamin B to appear instead.

“The pie chart provided was easy to comprehend and analyse, however the questions were quite specific and incorporated a section on Vitamin C,” she said.

Mairéad Tomkins, TUI subject representative and a teacher at Coláiste Eoin in Hacketstown, Co Carlow, said that the budget question was very topical, asking how to ensure the nutritional needs of a family on a low budget are met.

“Their knowledge of own-brand products and cheaper sources of protein, such as pulses, eggs and cheaper cuts of meat, was called on here.

“Ireland’s cultural changes inspired another question relating to how we are now more experimental in our culinary choices.”

In the short questions, Ms Dolan said that there was an emphasis on food processing and the food industry.

In a topical part of the elective home management section, students were asked about ensuring a pleasant and warm – but sustainable – home, with a quote from The Irish Times on “rethinking how we live in our homes” forming the basis of a question relating to changing housing styles.

They were also asked about the impact of burning fossil fuels and asked to devise strategies for their household to reduce emissions.

Like the higher-level paper, the ordinary level paper also had extra choice in the elective area as a response to missed classroom time during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It covered sustainability, money management, budget and consumer responsibilities.

“The compulsory question was straightforward, laid out well and relevant to the age group as it asked students to evaluate three different protein bars,” Ms Tomkins said.

Try this one at home:

Leaving Cert home economics, higher level

1. (c) ‘We have been forced to rethink how we live in our homes in recent years.’ (The Irish Times)

(i) Discuss how environmental, economic and social factors influence the choice of housing styles in Ireland today. (18 marks)

(ii) Describe the impact of burning fossil fuels in the home.

Refer to: • an emission produced by burning fossil fuels • effects on the environment • a strategy households could implement in order to reduce emissions

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