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From "Exploring Global Issues"

Secondary, Middle

Description

Students are introduced to a Global Mall which provides all of the resources required by humans to survive, plus "non-essentials" - at a cost. Every student is given a specific amount of Global Mall Dollars, and instructed to fulfill their survival needs before buying any extras. The amount of available Mall Dollars distributed to individual students reflects the different access to wealth characteristic in the world today.  There will be more poor students than wealthy ones!

This lesson promotes awareness of the social, economic and environmental impacts of different standards of living as well as the social inequities in the world today.

After making their purchases, the students addresse such issues as: what they bought and why, the personal consequences of what they were unable to buy and the broader social and environmental impacts of their spending choices.

Students are encouraged to assess and explore their own habits and values and to make choices that limit environmental damage and alleviate poverty.

Through this experience, students see how they may or may not be able to afford proper nutrition, safe drinking water, an education, appropriate health care - and how these factors may have other impacts on society and the environment.

The resource provides thought-provoking questions to help students realize and reflect on local to global inequalities, and are provided with some general suggestions for authentic action experiences within their school, community and beyond.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

It teaches students about money management relative to what they can buy and value of money in terms of needs and wants.

Strengths

  • Students are encouraged to explore the social, environmental, and economic aspects of consumerism with opportunities to explore moral and ethical issues as well; encourages creative problem solving.
  • Accommodates various learning styles and is innovative and interesting to work through.
  • Provides students with a realistic simulation of economics relative to needs and wants.
  • There is a very good quantity and quality of background resources available for the teacher and student available online at an appropriate reading level for most junior and senior students.
  • The resource is very easy to use, well-explained and has the purpose clearly stated and supported throughout the simulation.
  • The resource is current (2006)

Weaknesses

There are no assessment tools provided.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Ecological Footprint
    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Economics (1)

    • Poverty Reduction
  • Human Health & Environment (3)

    • Access to Health Care
    • Hunger and Malnutrition
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Poverty

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

Everything about this activity is based on money, yet many cultures barter and live in a sustainable manner without western economic values.  Alternative options not really explored. The teacher can certainly direct class discussions to address these issues.

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 are encouraged to explore the social, environmental, and economic aspects of consumer wealth with opportunities to delve into moral and ethical issues as well.  The resource encourages creative problem solving.

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

The Global Mall Impact sheet and background information emphasize the complex nature of survival and consumerism.  Students may develop an appreciation of the multidimensional aspects of the impacts of lifestyle on society, environment and economics but this would be further enhanced by class discussion, perhaps after more exposure to these issues. The Mall Impact sheet does point out very well the short and long terms implications of activities, such as gathering water, not being able to go to school or spend more time at work, less money, etc.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The resource encourages students to take action, but unless students are really self-motivated, it may not happen. The teacher would also need to suggest/give direction on this and help to facilitate the authentic action process. The resource lists a few suggestions.

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 Satisfactory

After experiencing this simulation activity, students are encouraged to explore their own values and belief systems. Opportunities for further examination could be facilitated by the teacher. Students can assess and clarify their own values with their peers in the group debriefing. Since everyone is a consumer on different levels, the students can appreciate how spending their money supports different producers (ie Fair Trade coffee rather than free trade coffee).

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Empathy and respect is encouraged and fostered indirectly.  

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

This activity is done in the classroom  and does not provide out-of-doors experiences.

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

The learning is relevant and concrete for students because most teenagers enjoy shopping and the activity introduces what is probably a different and interesting perspective on consumerism.

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 Poor/Not considered

The resource does not focus on any issues of the past and is open-ended about the future. The activity really centers on the consumer decisions that people make now and the resulting short term and possibly long term impacts.

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

This resource provides students with the opportunity to explore many aspects of consumerism - why people make certain choices and how relative affluence and high consumption patterns relate to environmental degradation. The students will realize that there is more than one right answer, and that multiple solutions are possible.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
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

Depending on how the teacher approaches this resource, and the grade level it is used for, students can be given a minimal amount of direction to discover the implications and concepts on their own. They may also be directed to do independent research to find out more about consumerism and its impacts in different countries.

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

The resource does fit with various learning styles and can be easily adapted to both struggling and gifted students.  It addresses the cognitive and affective domains. The extension activities would help to reinforce the concepts for all learning styles.

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 resource is built on an effective simulation activity.

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

Students work in groups after they have gone through their own individual spending choices of how to spend their Mall Dollars.

Cooperative learning skills are not explicitedly taught.

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

There are no specific assessment tools or self-assessment opportunities. For self-reflection, teachers could suggest that students consider their own expenditure over a period of time to consider what they buy, why they buy it, and what the impacts may be.

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 Poor/Not considered

As mentioned above, students may influence their peers as they present their own choices, either individually or as a small group. This would be incidental though as it is not directly part of the simulation.

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 Poor/Not considered

The resource has suggestions for more information, but there are no specific case studies provided.

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 Poor/Not considered

This would depend on whether the teacher chose to do the extensions or not and gave students some choice of selection.  

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.