Display the Human Development Index (HDI) table for students. Explain what the HDI is and what it measures. Engage students in a discussion on standard of living by focusing on a few countries. Look at the data for a country with a high HDI, such as Switzerland. Discuss what it means for this country to have a high standard of living. Ask students to speculate on how Switzerland has achieved this. Then, look at a country with a low HDI, such as Rwanda. Ask students to speculate on why Rwanda has such a low standard of living. This is a good time to review with students important vocabulary, such as physical capital, natural resources, human capital, productivity, etc.
Discuss the meaning of other statistics on the HDI table, such as life expectancy and gross national income.
Place students in pairs and allow them to set up their computers/tablets. Students will then select a country from the Human Development Index and discuss that country's ranking and other data.
Students will conduct internet research on their country in order to explain that country's standard of living as reflected in the HDI. They will need to research the following factors at a minimum:
- Natural Resources
- Physical Capital
- Political climate
After conducting research, students will compile their information into a Country Report on a Google Doc or similar word processor. The purpose is to explain to the class that country's standard of living and the factors contributing to it. The report should be brief and take the form of a bulleted list, chart, or graphic organizer. Each country report will also need to contain a map.
Student pairs will present their findings to the class by sharing their reports. Engage students in a discussion on the common factors leading to growth and a high standard of living and the common factors leading to a low standard of living.