Teacher Review for Gapminder

Serious potential for students to find real data to support opinions on global issues

James D.
Educator/Curriculum Developer
IdeaDriven Education
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My Subjects English Language Arts, Social Studies, English-Language Learning
My Rating
Learning Scores
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time More than 15 minutes
Great for Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
How I Use It
GapMinder NEEDS introduction and support in order for students to use it to its potential. I introduce it by connecting it to the research process, generating some student questions (with the guidelines that they need to be data related questions). Then we examine the data tables and the visual representation as a whole class. We discuss together how we could compare different countries and the implications of the data results. I then have students practice in pairs or small groups with discussion time built in. Each group looks at their 'measure' and reports back some interpretation to the class. It's not the most exciting time we spend in the classroom, but it is an invaluable introduction to the use of data to support points of view. For projects, I often require some kind of statistical evidence and present GapMinder as a tool for finding it. It can be dry and difficult, but it's worth introducing to students.
My Take
The information presented in GapMinder is not simple. If you take the time to help students learn to use the site and to understand the meaning of real data, you will be doing them several favours. 1. You will teach them how to understand data and infographics. 2. You will help them find concrete evidence to support points of view on serious global issues. 3. You will support their development of real research techniques. It's been worth it in my classroom.