Category: Sharing the Planet

Opportunity and Social Mobility #4: A Virtual Field to Dollar Street from Gapminder

Lesson Overview:

Using the brilliant work of Anna Rosling Rönnlund at Gapminder, take your students on a virtual field trip.  Let them visit homes around the world arranged on an income scale.  From left to right, homes on Dollar Street go from poor to rich.  The students will be able to observe living conditions and thus be able to see what access to resources looks like in practical terms.  Opportunity and access to resources is made plain for the children in the real-life photos and family descriptions.

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:

3-5 

Objective:

To read for information, take notes, and use the information to draw conclusions about access to resources in two different areas of the world.  (AASL 1.1.8, “Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry.”)

Suggested Time:

45-50 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each student will investigate the lives of two families in two different parts of the world.   Families will be compared on five different scales relating to opportunity and general well-being.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Remind the students that in the last lesson they looked at the world as if it were a village.  With 100 villagers representing everyone on planet Earth, they gathered statistics to evaluate access to sufficient food/nutrition, clean air, clean water, sanitation facilities, and energy (electricity).

Explain that in today’s lesson, the students will look at two families in different parts of the world in more detail.  Pass out the student assignment sheet (attached) and go over the instructions with the students.

Show the students how to find and use Dollar Street on the Gapminder web site, found here:  Gapminder’s Dollar Street

2. Main:

Explain to the students that they need to choose two countries from two different continents on Dollar Street.  For example, they could choose one country from Africa and one country from Asia, but not two countries from Asia.  Ask the students to look carefully at the information provided about the families.  They should read the descriptions as well as look at the pictures.

Ask the students to write key words on their assignment sheets so that they capture some of the relevant information about the families.  Give students 25 minutes to complete this task.

Once they have finished, ask them to work with a partner who chose different countries.  Talk to their partner about their own findings.  What did the families have in common?  What was different?  This is a version of the “Think, Pair, Share” thinking routine.

3. Conclusion:

Ask the students to think about their findings from last week.  Did most people in the Global Village have enough to eat?  Did most people in the Global Village have access to clean water or sanitation?  Are today’s findings consistent with the statistics studied last week?  Ask the students what they can conclude about access to resources and opportunities to live healthy, happy, and productive lives in the countries they examined today.

Resources:
  1. Dollar Street segment of the Gapminder website, found here: Gapminder’s Dollar Street
  2. Copies of the Student Handout (attached)
Notes:

None.

Recommended books for this lesson:

None

Key Terms:

Statistics, Population, Social Sciences, Graphs, Charts

Student Assignment, Dollar Street

Opportunity and Social Mobility #3: If the World Were a Village, by David J. Smith

Lesson Overview:

Using David J. Smith’s acclaimed If The World Were a Village, students will extract statistics and then use them to create graphs and charts.  The graphs and charts will help the students better understand inequalities in our world in terms of access to food, clean air, clean water, sanitation facilities, and power (electricity).  Working in teams, the students will be able to describe opportunity and access to key resources based on data.

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:

3-5 

Objective:

To read for information, extract statistics, and then use them to create a graph to show data in key indicators of human well-being.  (AASL 1.1.8, “Demonstrate mastery of technology tools for accessing information and pursuing inquiry.”)

Suggested Time:

45-50 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each student will use statistics and simple software to create a graph showing key economic indicators of well-being in access to food, clean air, clean water, sanitation facilities, and power (electricity).

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Remind the students that they have looked at access to education (Toni Morrison’s Remember: The Journey to School Integration) and information (Ukrainian village and Internet access, Andrew Carnegie, information wants to be free).  Explain that today they will be examining how “fair” or “equal” the world is on five different scales.  Those are:

  • Access to sufficient food/nutrition
  • Clean air
  • Clean water
  • Sanitation facilities
  • Energy/Power (electricity)

Explain that in today’s lesson, students must pretend that the entire world is a village of 100 people.  Read the introduction from Smith’s text on page 7.  Make sure that the children understand that each person in the village represents 67.5 million people.

2. Main: 

Part 1:  Have the students number off from 1 to 5.  You should have four or five groups.  Five is the ideal number for a group, but in groups of four, the students can work together to complete the 5th assigned graph.

Ask each student to pick up the appropriate handouts.  The handouts should be prepared for the children according to their assigned categories.  Everyone will need the statistics page (attached).

Number 1 – Food/Nutrition: Statistics Handout plus p. 17 from text

Number 2 – Clean Air: Statistics Handout plus p. 18 from text

Number 3 – Clean Water: Statistics Handout plus p. 18 from text

Number 4 – Sanitation Facilities: Statistics Handout plus p. 18 from text

Number 5 – Energy/Power: Statistics Handout plus p. 25 from text.

Students should read to obtain the statistics in their assigned area, then talk to others in their group to fill in the remainder of the statistics.  Each student should have statistics for all five categories before moving on to making charts.

Part 2:  Creating Charts/Graphs:

With their completed student assignment sheet and gathered statistics, have each student go to the National Center for Education Statistics “Create a Graph” site, found here:  https://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/.  A picture of the first screen on the site is attached.

Once the students are on the site, demonstrate how to use the software to create a graph.  Complete the required steps on each tab.  There are five tabs to complete:   Design, Data, Labels, Preview, and Print/Save.  Keep the graphs/charts simple.  Be sure that the graph name includes the student’s name.  For example, “Clean Air in the Global Village by Saadhana.”  Also, be sure that the students list the book as their source!  All source information needs to be directly credited in the graph!

Once a chart is complete, ask the students to email it to themselves.  They should open the mail, change the subject line to include their name, and then forward it to their teacher so that the graphs can be printed and added to the portfolio as evidence of learning.  If the students know how to upload the file directly to their digital portfolio, great.  If not, have the teacher print the students’ graphs to be added either to the Maths or Unit of Inquiry notebooks as a completed work sample from this lesson.

3. Conclusion:

Encourage the students to look at more statistics from the source text and to use the graphing software for other projects that have data sets.  Thank them for their work and tell them that next week they will get to take a virtual field trip to Dollar Street to see how kids around the world live and how their family’s income and physical environment may affect their opportunities as they grow up.

Resources: 
  1. If the World Were a Village by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong.
  2. Copies of pages from the text, which give statistics about food, air, water, sanitation and power. These should be pages 17, 18, and 25.
  3. Picture of the first screen of the “Create a Graph” tool (attached)
  4. Copies of the Student Handout (attached).
  5. Access to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) website “Create a Graph” tool, found here: https://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/
Notes:

I usually keep black print, a white background, and 2D in my demonstration.  Once the kids see how easy it is to use this software, they will immediately start playing with colors, fonts, etc., but make sure that they get a couple of charts with solid data before they start to experiment.

Recommended books for this lesson: 

If the World Were a Village by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong

Key Terms:

Statistics, Population, Social Sciences, Graphs, Charts

Create a Graph

Student Handout, If The World Were a Village

Opportunity and Social Mobility #2: Information Wants to be Free

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students explore the concept of equal access to information.  The key concept is causation: Why do some people have access to more and better information than others?  What difference does access to information have in the lives of people today?  If you have access to information, how will you be better off?  Using tales from a Ukrainian village, the history of one of the richest men in the world, and recent footage of information experts, we can safely conclude that “information wants to be free.”

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:

3-5 

Objective:

For students to understand that access to information is important for economic and personal well-being.   Also, to identify a common theme from multiple information sources.  (AASL 1.1.6, “Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format . . . in order to make inferences and gather meaning.”)

Suggested Time:

45-50 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each student will capture the main idea from three different information sources, then use that main idea as the foundation of a personal statement about the importance of access to information.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Remind the students that last week they considered equal access to schools and education.  Ask them to tell you a few things that they learned or remember.

Explain that this week, they’ll be working with the idea of equal access to information.  Ask the students to imagine a small village, cut off from the rest of the world.  Information can only go in and out of the village on paper or with a telephone. The village has no Internet.  Consider asking these thinking questions:

  • How would the lives of the villagers be different from people who have access to the Internet?
  • What difference does access of information have in the lives of people living today?
  • What can people with better information do that people without information can’t do?

Show this video clip, which highlights what happened when the Internet was brought to a small, Ukrainian village:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0tmJL_GIhQ

Hint:  The video is in Ukrainian but it does have English subtitles.  I’ve used this video many times and it never fails to amaze the students.  They especially love the lady in the market yelling about pushing the buttons and having all the information appear!  The Ukrainians are very enthusiastic, and your students will be, too!  The dialogue proceeds quickly, so you may need to pause a few times for the students to catch-up reading the subtitles.

2. Main:

While the students are still discussing the tomato-growing success of the Ukrainians (thanks to the Internet and access to information), pass out the student assignment sheets.  Go over the instructions, which are simply to record the main ideas from three information sources.  Information source #1 is the video clip about the Ukrainian villagers.  Have the students complete that section of the assignment with a partner.

Next, choose information from either the American Heroes Channel, the Public Broadcast Service, or World Book, on the life of Andrew Carnegie.  The source you choose will depend on the amount of time you have and the subscriptions your school has.  Because this lesson already uses two video/audio sources, I prefer to use a written source for the Carnegie segment.  If you can access it, print copies of the World Book article on Andrew Carnegie.  Teach the children that a massive part of the Carnegie fortune was spent in establishing public libraries so that common people would have access to information.  Ask students to record their second answer on the assignment sheet.

Finally, show the video clip from Getty images.  Ask students what they think the phrase, “Information wants to be free”, means.  Discuss this with the class and have students record their third response.

3. Conclusion:

Point out that approximately half of the information online is not free, it is available only behind a paywall, most often in the form of a subscription.  For example, World Book charges fees to access their information.  The same is true of BrainPop.  Use your school’s subscriptions to make this point.  Children whose schools do not have these subscriptions cannot access the information!  In today’s world, information is not always free!  Ask the students to record a response to the last question on their assignment sheet.

If they are interested and if you have time, challenge the students to find out what information resources a friend living far away, perhaps in another state or country, has.  Compare the number of books, magazine titles, or digital subscriptions.  Does everyone have access to the same amounts of information?

Resources:
  1. Student Handout, “Information Wants to be Free” (attached)
  2. “Effects of Introducing Internet at a Village Public Library in Ukraine.” Available on YouTube at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0tmJL_GIhQ
  3. “Information Wants to be Free,” original quote as found in Getty Images archives: http://www.gettyimages.in/detail/video/at-the-first-hackers-conference-in-1984-steve-wozniak-and-news-footage/146496695
  4. “Andrew Carnegie and His Early Rise from Poverty” by the American Heroes Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5ayVoY2qcY  (less than four-minute clip)
  5. PBS’ Andrew Carnegie, The Richest Man in the World (multiple articles and video segments): http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/carnegie/ – part01
  6. World Book Online’s article, “Carnegie, Andrew.” (By subscription only.)
Notes:

Today’s students live in an information-rich world.  Every time I work with these concepts, students are shocked to discover that not all information is free and that not all people have access to the same information.

I have not delved into the concept of censorship in this lesson, but will touch briefly on that idea in a subsequent lesson.

Recommended books for this lesson:

None.  The juvenile biographies I found for Andrew Carnegie were at least ten years old.  That is too old for a new book purchase, so I would stay with digital resources for this lesson.

Key Terms:

Information, Equal Access to Information

Student Handout, Information Wants to be Free

Opportunity and Social Mobility #1: Remember, by Toni Morrison

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students are confronted with evidence of vast inequalities between black and white people in the United States during the time leading up to the Civil Rights Era, which began in the 1960s.  Using period photographs, Toni Morrison pens words that might have been in the minds or hearts of the subjects of the photographs.  Both powerful and disturbing, this lesson will show young people what inequality looked like in the U.S. in the recent past.

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:

4 and above. The content is too difficult and perhaps too mature for younger students.

Objective:

To understand what social inequality and lack of opportunity looks like and to imagine what it feels like in the minds of those experiencing it.  (AASL 2.3.1, “Connect understanding to the real world.”)

Suggested Time:

40-50 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each student will be able to explain some of the inequalities between black and white people in the United States in the years leading up to the Civil Rights Era, which began in the 1960s.  Each student will also complete a reflection assignment to show their understanding and thinking about the subject.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Ask the students what their new Unit of Inquiry is about.  Hopefully they will be able to say something general about access to education and opportunities.

Explain that today we will be working from a text that will show them in some detail what limited opportunities looked like and felt like in the United States as recently as 50 or 60 years ago.  Tell the students that some of the images are shocking and the inequities very disturbing.  Ask them for their full attention and explain that this is not an easy topic to teach or learn about.

2. Main:

Show the cover of Toni Morrison’s Remember: The Journey to School Integration.  Ask the children if they know what integration means.  They probably won’t know, so quickly teach the concept of segregation according to race.  Racial segregation was legal in the U.S. and based on the doctrine of “separate but equal” until the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The pictures in the text will show that in many places, separate was not equal!

Share a few of the pictures and lines.  Below I’ve listed several that I’ve used and feel comfortable working with.  I’ve noted the starting point and some of the possible comments/content you may wish to point out.

Pages 12-13, which begin, “Her name was Betty when she belonged to my cousin.”

  • The doll had two owners before this little girl got her.
  • The doll no longer has any clothes.
  • The doll’s voice is broken.
  • The doll does not resemble the child playing with her.

Pages 14-15, which begin, “Outside the grass is tall and full of bees and butterflies.”

  • No desks
  • No school supplies
  • Dark
  • Cold in the winter

Pages 16-17, which begin, “Our parents sued the Board of Education not because they hate them, but because they love us.”

  • Brown vs the Board of Education was the court ruling that destroyed the “separate but equal” doctrine.  It was highly controversial at the time.
  • What did black parents want for their children? What does any parent want for his or her child?
  • How could access to education change these children’s lives?

Pages 32-33, which begin, “No, no, they said.  You can’t come in here.”

  • Have you ever been kept out of a place because of your gender?  Skin color?  What does that feel like?
  • What does it feel like to be left out of something important, something good?
  • How would you feel if you knew that your Mom or Dad did not have a good job and would never have a good job because of his/her skin color?

Page 40, which begins, “I eat alone.”

  • The effects of racial segregation went on even after the laws changed. Here we see a girl at school, but it is still not a healthy environment for her.  Why not?
  • What would make this girl’s school experience better?
  • Have you ever seen someone sitting alone? What have you done?

Pages 44-45, which begin, “They are trying to scare me. I guess they don’t have any children of their own.”

  • Would you be scared if you were the one walking into a school where many people did not want you?
  • Would you be scared if you had to walk past people with guns to get to school?
  • Would you be scared if people with guns had to protect you while you were going to school? If appropriate, share Normal Rockwell’s The Problem We All Live With to highlight how school integration was such a controversial public issue.

3. Conclusion:

Emphasize that racial discrimination, segregation based on race, or any policy or practice that purposefully limits access to basic human rights is abhorrent.

Explain that these practices are still in effect in too many places in the world today, and that learning about them and raising awareness can help put an end to these practices.  Inform the children that throughout the unit we’ll be looking at more examples of people and efforts being made to ensure equal access to basic human rights as well as opportunities for advancement.

To end on a more hopeful note, play the short excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Resources:
  1. Remember: The Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison
  2. Norman Rockwell’s The Problem We All Live With, found here: Normal Rockwell Painting of Ruby Bridges and her Federal Marshall Escorts
  3. I Have a Dream speech excerpt, Dr. Martin Luther King, found here: I Have a Dream Excerpt
  4. Student Assignment Sheet (attached)
  5. Additional age-appropriate items from your library’s collection about school segregation, desegregation, and race relations.
Notes:

It is rare that I issue a warning with a lesson, but you need to be careful with this one.  Remember is perfect for what we need it to do, but some of the images are not appropriate for elementary students because of the violence or hatred represented in them.  Spend time with the text, study it, and carefully choose the images you will use.

For some students, especially in an international school setting, seeing these images paired with Morrison’s words may be the first time they are confronted with racism.  I have taught this lesson to children who, figuratively speaking, lost their innocence as a result of what they learned.  I remember distinctly one little boy asking me, “But why did the skin color matter?”  He was both dismayed and perplexed by the problems for which, from one perspective, I was grateful.  Used to playmates of all colors and races from all over the world, the issue of racism had simply never occurred to him.  I wish that this were true for all children.

Also, be sure that you talk this lesson over with the classroom teacher before you teach it.  It is best if the classroom teacher is present when this lesson is taught so that there can be some continuity between what is covered in the lesson and follow-up throughout the unit.  If you choose to use the images of Ruby Bridges and Rosa Parks, their stories will need to be shared at some point later in the unit.

I’ve used Remember in two separate international schools.  Each time I have planned the lesson, I have received complete support from my teachers.  They were thrilled to know that this text was available and pleased with the way it prompts discussion.

I’ve left the lesson intentionally unstructured.  That is because the lesson is provocative.  The children will respond to the pictures and text, and the course of the lesson depends entirely on their comments and questions.  I’m always prepared with six of the images starting with the little girl and her doll on pp. 12-13.  From there, I follow the children’s lead.  If the material proves to be too much for them (this has not happened to me yet), transition into Ruby Bridges or Rosa Parks’s stories that can be followed through to a positive conclusion.  If the children have some exposure to the subject, let them share what they know.

This lesson focuses on the United States because plenty of materials exist to show and discuss racial discrimination in that country.  However, you could just as effectively use South Africa’s experience with Apartheid, the caste system in India, or any place in the world where race has played a role in oppression.  Sadly, there are many examples to choose from.

Most important is that the children understand that limited access to education, jobs, health care, food/nutrition housing, travel, nature (and many others), has devastating effects on human development and thus devastating effects on our society.

Don’t shy away from this lesson.  Teach it, but do so realizing that you really must be prepared and that you need to make a positive impression on the children in terms of their responsibility to treat all people equally and treat all human beings with dignity and respect.  This is fundamental to the IB philosophy and to international education.

Recommended books for this lesson: 
  1. Remember: The Journey to School Integration by Toni Morrison.
  2. The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles and illustrated by George Ford.  (Optional)
  3. Rosa Parks by Cynthia Amoroso and Robert B. Noyed.  (Optional)
  4. A Picture Book of Rosa Parks by David A. Adler, illustrated by Robert Casilla.  (Optional)
Key Terms:

School integration, Discrimination in education, African-Americans

 

Student Assignment, Remember, by Toni Morrison

Peace #6: Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize, by Kathy-Jo Wargin

Lesson Overview:

In this lesson, students will discover the history behind the world’s most prestigious peace prize.

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:

2-5

Objective:

To help students understand the life of Alfred Nobel and his motivation to establish international prizes rewarding human achievement, especially peace.

Suggested Time:

40-50 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each student will be able to explain what Alfred Nobel did that made him wealthy and why he funded international prizes for achievement.  Each student will also decorate a dove to display in school to promote peace.

Lesson Plan:

1. Introduction:

Remind students of everything they have done thus far in their unit on peace.   Tell them that today they will learn about the world’s greatest prize for peace, the Nobel Peace Prize.

Show the book cover.  Ask students to look very carefully at Zachary Pullen’s cover illustration.  If you pay very close attention, what do you notice in the cover illustration?  (Answer:  There is a dove almost hidden in the figure of the eye.)

Explain that there was a man named Alfred Nobel and that he created the Peace Prize to try to make our world a safer, happier, more prosperous, and more humane place.  Ask students to listen to the text and try to discover:

  1. Which country Mr. Nobel came from.
  2. What Mr. Nobel and his family invented.
  3. What made Mr. Nobel wealthy.
  4. What made Mr. Nobel so very, very sad.
  5. What action Mr. Nobel took to make the world a better place.

2. Main:

Teach Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin and illustrated by Zachary Pullen.  Check for understanding as you proceed through the text.  The children will almost certainly be unfamiliar with many of the places, inventions, and businesses.  Emphasize the big idea, that Mr. Nobel left his fortune to establish international prices to reward remarkable work in the sciences and arts, as well as peace.

Explain that the dove is an international symbol for peace.  Show the children the handout and give them instructions about decorating, cutting out, and displaying their doves.

Allow the children time to complete their dove projects.

3. Conclusion:

Review some of the facts the class learned today about Alfred Nobel.  These might include:

  1. Alfred Nobel was born in Sweden.
  2. Alfred Nobel was an inventor.
  3. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.
  4. Alfred Nobel did not like that his inventions were used to harm others.
  5. Alfred Nobel used his fortune to fund international prizes in science, the arts, and peace.
  6. The Nobel Prizes are awarded every year.

Thank the children for their work and give final instructions about how to finish decorating and displaying the doves.

Resources:
  1. Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin and illustrated by Zachary Pullen.
  2. Copies of the dove student handout. (Free Clip Art)
  3. Colored pencils or supplies to decorate the dove.
  4. A few photos of doves so that the children have an idea of what a real dove looks like. (I usually use Google images to pull up a few quickly.)
  5. The Nobel Museum: http://www.nobelmuseum.se/en
  6. Alfred Nobel’s Life for Grade School Children: https://www.nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/biographical/articles/life-work/gradeschool.html
Notes:

This is an easy lesson and one the children will remember.

Recommended books for this lesson:

1. Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize by Kathy-Jo Wargin and illustrated by Zachary Pullen.

Key Terms:

Alfred Nobel, Nobel Prizes, Nobel Peace Prize, Inventors, Science Experiments

Dove Student Handout