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Rethinking Globalization

By Susan Hersh and Bob Peterson

An important part of a person's understanding of global issues is the recognition of the dramatic inequalities between nations and social classes with-in countries.

The purpose of this activity is to graphically demonstrate the vast differences in wealth between different areas of the world. It combines math, geography, writing, and social studies.

We remind students of some of the things we learned about colonialism - such as how great quantities of silver and gold were stolen from the Americas and taken to Europe. We also explain that current relations between countries and international organizations such as the World Trade Organization also affect how wealthy countries are. We make sure that students know the following terms: resources, GNP, wealth, distribution, income, power, and colonialism.

MATERIALS

SUGGESTED PROCEDURE

Susan Hersh developed this lesson while teaching fifth graders at La Escuela Fratney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She currently teaches seventh grade social studies at Preuss School in San Diego, California. Bob Peterson (repmilw@aol.com) teaches fifth grade at La Escuela Fratney and is a Rethinking Schools editor. A version of this article first appeared in Rethinking Our Classrooms, Volume 1 (Milwaukee, WI: Rethinking Schools, 1994). For sample student handouts visit our website: www.rethinkingschools.org/rg.

Winter 2001/2002 -- Last Updated Summer 2004