Mar 12, 2009

From the Classroom vol 11

I believe that it is relatively easy for my students to see the connection between GDP and wealth. Higher GDP means more goods and services—more flat screens, better cell phones, more restaurant quality meals, etc. They tend to dwell on just the materialistic things. Therefore, in order to help my students recognize the relationship between GDP per capita and standard of living, we get down to some old fashioned research (well, as old fashioned as an Internet search can be.)

I generate a chart which requires them to find a variety of stats (GDP per capita, literacy rates, percent of GDP from agriculture, infant mortality rate, etc) for a variety of countries. All of this information is available at the CIA World Factbook. The students are then required to draw conclusions about the relationships between GDP per capita and quality of life stats based on the information they gather.

As educators, I believe that we all value opportunities for our students to draw their own conclusions from a set of data, and I think this is a relatively pain-free (for you) way to achieve that. That is, assuming you have Internet access (that actually works) for all of your students.