View Lessons by Subject > Social Studies & Government > Class Discussion & Debates
This lesson plan was designed to demonstrate the global divide. It was in the form of an exercise in which students chose to represent one of 16 countries. I choose countries from various continents and, also those which are involved in the broader curriculum of the class. For homework, the girls looked up 13 statistics from the website. I chose statistics that are high indicators of quality of life in country. For example, infant mortality and female literacy. Each student was also charged with knowing why one of the assigned statistical categories was a high indicator of quality of life. For the class, we met in the gym and began by discussing why each category gave us a glimpse of what life was like in that country. Then they line up across the gym, all "equal." I then asked students to step forward or backward depending on their answers to the 13 statistical questions. Within two questions, the global divide began taking shape. By the end of only 13 questions, some "countries" were up against one wall and others were out the door on the opposite side of the gym. They put down their country signs where they ended up and then walked around to see the global landscape. The ensuing discussion was about what surprised them about their own assigned country and what comments or insights they could make out of the exercise.
Usually, political issues make for cold and strictly partial arguments between two sides, but this discussion was an open opportunity to fully discuss and dissect the prompt and the many sides and factors that contribute to it. We were not afraid to be wrong because we knew there was no right answer. It helped me realize that we need to have this mindset about conversations in politics in general. To understand why each side could reason for their position and respect it.