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Everyone Counts

Elementary, Middle

Description

This creative teaching unit uses a multidisciplinary instructional strategy to actively engage learners in analyzing and describing the issue of global inequality.  Data from Oxfam’s “Young Lives” international research project which examined childhood poverty in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam, forms the basis of a series of math activities that focus on statistics, numeracy and measurement.  Using these relevant case studies provides an authentic context for meaningful dialogue where students are able to:

  • Identify and describe similarities and differences in their daily lives compared to children in other countries
  • Measure and describe factors that affect well-being.
  • Analyze daily timetables to compare and contrast between countries.
  • Evaluate the connection between GDP and life expectancy.
  • Reflect upon the interdependence between humans and their environment.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Data collection
  • Data management and analysis
  • Critical thinking
  • Presenting and defending a point of view

Strengths

  • Multidisciplinary approach that supports Math, Social Studies and English Language Arts outcomes.
  • Many support materials such as teacher background information, PowerPoint slides and worksheets.
  • Develops global citizenship skills.
  • Actively engages students in reflection and critical thinking about the issue of poverty as it relates to sustainability.

Weaknesses

  • Teachers will need to adapt some of the facts and figures to reflect Canadian numbers.
  • Does not provide assessment tools.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource provides a great opportunity for a teacher to offer a multi-disciplinary unit in which students use math skills such as comparing and ordering, evaluating graphical data, measuring time and distance and problem solving to explore the theme of inequality and the social costs of poverty.  

The reflection and sharing component provides an entry point for a number of classroom projects.    Students could offer weekly reading sessions to pre-school children and their parents or organize after school sports events.  Access to clean drinking water could become the basis of a school collaborative program whereby students link with a non-profit organization to help purchase a community well for a region where safe water access is limited.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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        • To use Language to communicate and learn
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Themes Addressed

  • Human Health & Environment (2)

    • Hunger and Malnutrition
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (5)

    • Cultural Diversity
    • Education
    • Gender Equality
    • Poverty
    • Social Justice

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

Cultural diversity is respected as students reflect upon the concerns and hopes of children from other regions of the world.  Pupils are also actively encouraged to examine and challenge preconceptions about poverty.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

Students learn that extreme poverty leads to a whole range of social and environmental issues beyond the immediate daily requirements of food, shelter and water.  Citizens who cannot obtain an education are unable to secure stable employment which affects local economies.  Poorer countries cannot sustain infrastructure to address human induced environmental problems like water pollution.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

Learners will gain an understanding of how poverty is impacted by the relationship between governments, global economies and resource allocation. 

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The closing lessons have students reflect upon their new learning about inequality by planning effective approaches to raising awareness about this issue within their community.  This exercise provides an opportunity for students to initiate a locally-based project to inform peers and other community members about how they can help support poverty reduction efforts around the world.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

Students are able to strengthen and act upon core ethical values such as respect, fairness and compassion as they recognize the interdependence between humans and their environment. 

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

This resource actively promotes respect for the children living in each of the described countries.  As students compare their own lives with those of others they will develop more profound insight into the hardships of people living in extreme poverty.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered

During the discussions surrounding personal well-being many Canadian students might consider our country’s abundant wilderness as an important factor in their life.  A class could explore this topic further by comparing and contrasting rural and urban living.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

Because students are asked to describe their own life in comparison to less fortunate children they will gain a deeper appreciation for their family and community which translates into a more meaningful experience.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory

The graphical approach used in the activities provides many opportunities to evaluate historical and future data trends.  For example, students could investigate historical infant mortality rates in a country like Ethiopia to determine how food support programs have helped citizens.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

A collaborative learning environment fosters open discussions about poverty where students are able to freely express opinions.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very Good

This resource supports math outcomes related to data management, percentages, comparing and ordering numbers and measuring time and distance.  There are strong connections to Social Studies outcomes that investigate cultural diversity, children’s rights and poverty.  Citizen engagement and oral communication skills are also encouraged through reflection and planning of public awareness strategies.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

Although much of the learning is teacher directed there is a great deal of peer to peer interaction which facilitates questioning and encourages inquiry.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Very Good

Differentiation strategies have been included with some of the activities.  Suggestions for adaptations focus on students who may have difficulties with math or require more intensive and challenging lessons.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

The hands-on math approach provides opportunities to apply new learning in an authentic and meaningful context.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

A think-pair-share strategy is used to facilitate peer to peer interactions.  Students also work in groups to produce data and graphs.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory

No formal assessment tools have been included with the resource although the activity sheets and reflection questions provide excellent formative assessment tools.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Good

The math activities provide a great opportunity for some peer tutoring where skilled students are able to support and lead others.  Students also work cooperatively to develop communication tools to inform peers and the community about the topic.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good

The data and information that comes from accurate sources and activities like reading a 24-hour clock have a practical application.  Selecting child poverty as the theme also means that this learning unit will be particularly significant to students of similar ages.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

In the "Reflection and Sharing" lessons students identify and develop ideas to communicate their new learning to the wider community.  This provides the entry point for further student directed research to develop and implement projects that focus on increasing awareness of children’s rights.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.