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Jessika Richter
Jessika Richter
(Lund - Sweden)

The short and sweet: I have been a passionate teacher since 2001.  I first worked with the National Park Service in Washington (state), then moved to Australia where I completed my DipEd at the University of Melbourne and then taught at Hailebury  ...




A behavioral experiment was recently done to see if people are more moved to compassion when they here about the suffering of a million people in poverty or just the suffering of one specific person in poverty. People had more compassion when they heard about just the one person. Author and World Vision President Richard Stearns expounds on this...

"The story of one child was more compelling than the suffering of millions. Wow! Do you see the disturbing significance of this? Human beings, when enabled to depersonalize a large group of people, respond to them with far less compassion. So the very statistics that should mobilize us to urgent action actually do just the opposite; they seem to excuse our inaction. We can perhaps extrapolate this finding to help understand the existence of other appaling realities in our world. If we are able to objectify whole classes of people so that we don't think of them as persons equal to us, the unthinkable becomes possible. Was it not this flaw in our human character that allowed the Holocaust and the Rwanda genocide to occur? Might this explain how Christian people not only tolerated but promoted and sustained slavery for so many centuries?"

Richard Stearns in The Hole in Our Gospel

With this in mind, you must now think about these demanding questions your self: What are the realities of poverty in the world today? What are other reasons that make people indifferent to extreme poverty? Why am I indifferent to it? What are ways in which I can act?


The Task:

Each student will write a letter to their class with three objectives: (1) explain the seriousness of poverty through three different facts/statistics about world poverty and 3 different facts/statistics about American poverty, (2) offer two thought-out reasons of why people may be indifferent and unaware of the seriousness of poverty, and (3) inform two ways that individuals can make a difference in eradicating poverty across the globe. The letter should be 1 ½ -2 pages long (12-point font, double-spaced). The statistics should be factual, the causes for indifference should be backed with reasonable and reflective argument, and the ways to make a difference should be thoroughly explained.

The Process:

. The two students will work together at investigating world and american poverty. They will first look up http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats to study world poverty and then http://money.cnn.com/2004/12/22/news/economy/poverty_overview/index.htm to study american poverty. After reading these, they will gather 3 stats from each website that brings out the seriousness of poverty. 2. Students will think out why people are so indifferent unaware to poverty. They will jot these ideas down on a piece of paper. 3. The two will break up into different roles, each researching different ways in which individuals can get involved to help out the issues. Student 1 will look up http://www.one.org/us/actnow/ and http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default_b.htm. Student 2 will look up http://www.feedthechildren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=org_club_1000. and www.worldvision.org. 4. Each student will then write a letter to their class with three objectives: (1) explain the seriousness of poverty through three different facts/statistics about world poverty and 3 different facts/statistics about American poverty, (2) offer two thought-out reasons of why people may be indifferent and unaware of the seriousness of poverty, and (3) inform two ways that individuals can make a difference in eradicating poverty across the globe.


Statistics of Povertyprovides one or no statistics of poverty for America and the world

provides two statistics of poverty for both America and the world but the authenticity of the facts is questionabledescribes two facts of poverty for both America and the world and the statistics are factualDescribes three facts of poverty of both America and the world and the statistics are factual Describes three facts of poverty of both America and the world and the statistics are factual

Reasons for Indifference to Povertyprovides one or zero reasons for indifference and/or thoughtfulness and explanation are completely lacking.

provides two reasons for indifference that attain some thoughtfulness but the explanation could have been better argued.

provides two reasons for indifference that are well thought-out, and the explanation and argument is acceptableprovides two reasons for indifference that are well thought-out, and the explanation and argument is excellent
Ways individuals can get involved to help.

provides one or zero ways of individual action and the ways are not explained at allprovides two ways of individual action, but the ways are not well-explainedprovides two ways of individual action that are decently explained.provides two ways of individual action that are thoroughly explained

Stated Objective or Performance    



Now that you have learned about the seriousness of poverty in our world, probed reasons to why people are indifferent to it, and discovered ways that anyone can get involved, you are ready for action. The question is now whether you will be indifferent or whether you will act.

Credits & References:

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns







Poverty Simulation Game

This game is used to introduce students to the concepts behind Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal." Students will be randomly assigned to different social classes; then they will learn what it was like for poor Irish tenants who paid much of their wages to absentee landlords.

This resource is part of the Satire Unit collection.

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Democracy, Peace, and Development for the Bottom Billion: A Conversation with Paul Collier

This February workshop featured Paul Collier, esteemed Oxford University economist, who specializes in the political economy of democracy, economic growth in Africa, aid, globalization, poverty, and the economics of civil war. Specifically, Collier researches the causes and consequences of civil war, the effects of aid, and the problems of democracy in low-income and natural-resource-rich societies. He is the author of The Bottom Billion, winner of the 2008 Arthur Ross Book Award and 2008 Lionel Gelber Prize. His most recent book is Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places. This 50-page resource booklet provides teachers with articles and books by Paul Collier. It also includes extensive up-to-date resources and lesson plans on "democracy in difficult places;" international aid; women, education, and development; human rights, human trafficking; and global/public health.

Open or Download This File:


9.1 Developed and Developing Nations

After remediation week, there were still quite a few students who hadn't met the DBQ requirements. So Ben did a one-week enrichment unit on international development with the finished students, while the others completed their requirements.

This lesson compares developed and developing nations and asks why we should care about international development.

This resource is part of Unit 9: Development and the Social Studies 7 course.

Open or Download This File:


Development Lesson Plan


In this lesson students will learn the fundamental concepts of economic development. Students will learn about the role of globalization in developing societies, different theories of why some countries are more developed than others and will be able to identify the key institutions and players in the field of international development. Students will research, write, present and evaluate grant proposals to fund a development project that encompasses a specific strategy of development (Poverty Reduction, Trade-Not-Aid, Good Governance, or Sustainable Development).

Navigate to This External Web Link:

Slums in the Spotlight: Will the Millennium Development Goals’ Target be Met?


Scenes from Slumdog Millionaire provided some glimpses into life in a slum in the city of Mumbai, India. In this lesson students can learn about slum conditions around the world and about the United Nations attempts to improve those conditions.

Write the following questions on the board:

  • What images come to mind when you hear the word “slum”?
  • What do you know about slums here in this country?
  • What do you know about slums in other parts of the world?
  • If you were to make up a list of factors that characterize a slum, what would you include?
Have students discuss their answers in small groups and then share out to the class. Write the answers on the board.

Activity 1
Have students interact with the Places We Live. In groups let them explore the site for 15 minutes. Ask them to choose a household they find interesting and fill out Appendix A.
As a class revise the answers from the warm up activity on the board with the new information.

Activity 2

Split the class into four groups and distribute BBC's East Africa correspondent Andrew Harding's articles about life in Africa's largest slum, Kibera. Take time to let each student read and underline their assigned article.
1) Nairobi Slum Life: Into Kibera
2) An Evening in Kibera
3) Nairobi’s Slum Life: Kibera’s children
4) Nairobi Slum Life: Escaping Kibera  

After reading allow 15 minutes for students to respond to the following questions in groups.

  1. Identify five characteristics of slum life that are indicated in your article
  2. Is there a place identified with this reading? If so where is it and what point is being made?
  3. What survival techniques do you see slum residents using in this reading?
  4. Are there any positive developments that your article discusses? If so please briefly describe them.
UN Habitat has defined five features of a slum: 1. Lack of durable housing; 2. Insufficient living area, 3. Lack of access to clean water, 4. Inadequate sanitation, and 5. Insecure tenure. Have students individually reflect on:
How does your article compare to this list? Which features were mentioned? Were there others you identified? What are they?
Call on students to share their answers.

Activity 3

Pass out the transcript to In Famous Mumbai Slum, Redevelopment Plans Stir Controversy to each student. Have students read and follow along in class with the video.

Have students individually answer the worksheet Appendix B.

Optional Extension Activity:
Success of Slumdog Millionaire: From your readings and research answer the following questions as a class:

  • What characteristics of slum life were portrayed in the movie?
  • What features of the story have led to its success?
  • How are the proceeds from the film being used?
  • What were Director Daniel Boyle’s motives in making this movie?
Activity 4

Improving Slums as part of the Millennium Development Goals:
MDG GOAL 7d urges the countries of the world to make improvements in slum conditions
Ask the class, If you were to set up goals for the world to improve conditions for the world’s people, what goals would you choose?
Allow several minutes for discussion and disagreement, choose the top ten for the class and write them on the board.

In groups or as a class go to The Millennium Development Goals agreed upon by all member countries in 2000. How do your goals compare with this list? Whose are harder goals? Why would this be?

Read Appendix C about how India is doing on the Millennium Development Goals. Ask students to do a free write for 20 minutes about the urbanization of poverty and the similarities and differences to their communities

Extension Activities
Research living conditions in the U.S.; do not forget to look in urban enclaves, migrant camps for labor, and rural areas. Ask students to write a well composed essay. Does America have any slums? Do international standards need to be applied?

Finally hold an in class debate.

McRel Education Standards Addressed:


1. Understands how politics enables a group of people with varying opinions and/or interests to reach collective decisions, influence decisions, and accomplish goals that they could not reach as individuals (e.g., managing the distribution of resources, allocating benefits and burdens, managing conflicts)


1. Knows the approximate locations of major political and economic cultures

Thinking and Reasoning

1. Identifies techniques used to slant information in subtle ways (e.g., selecting only information that supports a point; ignoring information that contradicts a point) 2. Develops logical arguments that are based on quantitative data 3. Identifies or seeks out the critical assumptions behind a line of reasoning and uses that to judge the validity of an argument

Lesson 37: Effects of Standard of Living


Given the wherewithal to do so, humans have aesthetic expectations in their daily lives. This is a consideration that is less evident in other species. While the earth might be able to hold many more than the current human population of six billion (estimates of the human K with current technology go as high as 50 billion) at some point people will find it unacceptable to live with the crowding and pollution issues associated with a dramatic increase in population. The qualitative measure of a person's or population's quality of life is called its standard of living. It is associated not only with aesthetics of surroundings and levels of noise, air and water pollution, but also with levels of resource consumption.

Americans have one of the world's highest standards of living. While there are many who live in poverty in the United States, on average we have relatively small families, large homes, many possessions, plentiful food supplies, clean water and good medical care. This is not the case in most of the developing world.

While many nations have larger average family sizes, they have smaller homes, fewer possessions and less food. Supplies of clean water may be scarce and medical care may be inadequate. All people desire to have adequate resources to provide good care for their families, and thus population in most developing countries are striving for standard of living of developed nations.

Is it possible for all six billion people on earth to live at the same level of resource use as in the United States, Japan and Western Europe? With current technology, the answer is "no." However, this does not mean that the people of one nation are more or less entitled to a given standard of living than those of another. What it does mean for citizens of nations like the United States is that we must reduce our current use of resources. Of all of the food purchased by the average American family, 10 percent is wasted. In addition, because most Americans are not vegetarians, we tend to eat high on the food chain, which requires more resources than a vegetarian diet.

Calculation of ecological efficiency indicate that from one trophic level on the food chain to the next, there is only a 10 percent efficiency in the transfer of energy. Thus people who predominately eat more grains, fruits and vegetables are getting more out of the energy required to produce the food than those who eat a lot of meat. The calories that a person gets from beef are much fewer than the calories in the grain required to raise the cattle. The person is better off skipping the middleman -- or middle cow in this case -- and eating the grain. This is why many more people can be sustained on a diet that consists of a larger percentage of rice, millet or wheat, rather than of fish, beef or chicken.

In addition to resources used to provide food, Americans use disproportionate amounts of natural resources such as trees (for paper, furniture and building, among other things) and fossil fuels (for automobiles, homes and industry). We also produce a great amount of "quick waste."

Packaging that comes on food in the grocery store is a good example of quick waste. The hard plastic packaging used for snack foods that is immediately removed and thrown away and plastic grocery bags are both examples of quick waste. Thus, patronizing fast food restaurants increases resource consumption and solid waste production at the same time.

The good news for the environment (from both a solid waste and a resource use standpoint) is that we can easily reduce the amount of goods and resources that we use and waste without drastically affecting our standard of living. By properly inflating car tires, America could save millions of barrels of oil annually. If we were to use more renewable energy resources -- like solar and wind power as opposed to petroleum and nuclear energy --there would be a reduced need to extract non-renewable resources from the earth. The amount of packaging used for goods could also be reduced. Reusable canvas bags could be used for shopping and plastic and paper grocery bags could be reused.

At home, many waste materials could be recycled, instead of being thrown away. These relatively easy steps could reduce the overall ecological impact that each person has on the earth. This impact is sometimes termed a person's ecological footprint. The smaller each person's ecological footprint, the greater the standard of living possible for each person.

Finding a Solution - World Hunger


This lesson will introduce students to poverty, food insecurity, and small-scale vs. large-scale agriculture; specifically to sub-Saharan Africa. Students will be required to present a solution to the increasing food insecurity and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

Group Size: Small groups

Learning Objectives:

  • Improve reading comprehension through Read-Aloud.
  • Gain general knowledge of a specific country in sub-Saharan Africa (agriculture, demographics, local agricultural production, etc.)
  • Create a solution to World Hunger (small-scale)
  • Present information in an organized and persuasive format (presentation to class).


“World hunger best cured by small scale agriculture: report” (Class copies), Project Assignment/Checklis, Project Rubric, Computer Lab



  • As a class, read "World hunger best cured by small-scale agriculture: report". 
  • After discussing and review article, divide students into groups.
  • Each group will create a small-scale project that could serve as an aid for hunger specifically for a country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Students may use an example from the article, or create a new idea.
  • The proposition must be reinforced by research and information gathered from the internet. (use checklist)
  • Each group will create a webpage or PowerPoint to present their proposition to the class.
  • The class will vote whether they would invest in the project or not.

Presentation of proposed project will be based on a holistic rubric. (40 possible points)

Answer Key or Rubric:

 Unacceptable = 10 Acceptable = 20 Good = 30 Exemplary = 40
 The proposed project addresses the issue but does not provide a clear solution. The proposed project addresses the issue and provides a solution. Presentation does not give an overview of the proposed solution and does not explain. There is little research or support. Some of the group members participated in the presentation. The proposed project addresses the issue and provides a logical solution. Presenation provides a general overview of the proposed project, but does not fully explain. Support and research is presented. Some of the group members participated in the presentation. The proposed project addresses the issue and provides a solution. Presentation provides a clear overview of the proposed project. There is clear evidence of research and support behind the project. Each group member contributed to the presentation and preparation of the project. Presentation is organized and is in logical order.


Attached Files:


Microfinance for Kids - www.OneHen.org

Our Troubled World: A Study of Global Issues

This lesson was created using the Nortel LearniT 6E + S template for integrating technology within the curriculum.


The students will study global issues through a combination of Internet research and interviews with local organizations. The students will develop a basic understanding of global issues though the initial research. Following that the students will focus on one issue and design an eCollage or brief video in which they express their concern or support.

Technology Integration:

Digital Imaging, Digital Video

Prerequisite Experience:

The Students will have demonstrated competence with navigating the Internet and word processing skills. They will possess some basic knowledge of the digital imaging and digital video production.

Teacher Prep Time:

Teachers will want to become familiar with some of the sites dealing with the topic area. It will be useful to look at the Digital Imaging and video production training videos found at Nortel LearniT (www.NortelLearniT.org). Students should be directed to these videos prior to starting their assignment.

Estimated Time for Completion:

6-8 weeks (one class per week)


Students will create either an eCollage or a brief video in which they present their concern about a particular issue. Their primary purpose should be to inform their classmates through powerful images or video. They should be prepared to introduce their materials with a brief overview of their research findings.

Time Management Tips:

Students can be divided into groups and choose one or two areas to present to the class.


An evaluation rubric has been provided to use in assessing the presentations. Students should be encouraged to evaluate their work throughout the process.


Our Troubled World

On any given day, somewhere in the world;

A child goes hungry.

A spouse is attacked or killed.

Innocent individuals are maimed or killed in vicious attacks.

Someone’s human rights are violated.

One of earth’s creatures succumbs to a polluted environment.

Over 500,000 African children will be orphaned by aids

And on any given day in our world;

An individual, group of individuals, an organization or entire countries make an effort to understand and work towards solutions to the problems facing us as global communities. 
Media and communications technologies have increased our awareness of the problems in our own communities and around the world.  This is your opportunity to learn more about Global issues and specifically, to explore an issue in greater depth.  Your assignment is to educate your classmates about a problem or organization which deals with a particular Global issue through an eCollage or a brief video.   As you explore the resources consider the impact of the issue (who, where, what, when), how future generations will deal with the problem and what evidence there is that the problem exists in your community.  Keep photos, images, important quotes or stats in a separate folder as you complete your research.


You will need a computer with access to the Internet for your research and a word processor to record your findings.   Look at the explain section to help you direct your research to the appropriate goals. 

Check out each of the following sites.  Can you find some additional sites that enhance your understanding of Global Issues?  When you have developed a general understanding of the types of issues that exist, focus on the sites of one or more organizations for your presentation/project.

An excellent overview:  Global Issues that affect everyone.

Human Rights

Amnesty  http://www.amnesty.org/

United Nations  http://www.un.org/

Health Issues

World Health Organization http://www.who.int/en/

Doctors Without Borders http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/


United Nations Aids http://www.unaids.org/


UNICEF – The Silent Shout http://www.unicef.org/silentshout/

ICBL  http://www.icbl.org/youth/hear/


Greenpeace http://www.greenpeace.org/homepage/

Rainforest Action http://www.ran.org/info_center/

National Wildlife Federation http://www.nwf.org/

Women and Children

Free the Children http://www.freethechildren.org/

Woman’s Alliance for Peace http://www.wapha.org/

Children’s Rights http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/crp/index.htm

Those unfamiliar with Digital Imaging and video productions should review the training videos from Nortel LearniT (www.NortelLearniT.org


Now that you have explored the resources provided and discovered a few of your own, you are ready to organize your information.  First try to summarize (1 page) in your own words:

What might a list of Global issues look like?  List 10 issues that you have discovered during your research.  Make a list of the sites you visited with information about those issues.

What evidence is there of the existence of these issues in your community?

Select one issue that you feel strongly about for your eCollage.

What is it?

Who is impacted?

How are they impacted?

Does it exit in your community and if so, what evidence is there of it.

What statistics are there to show that the problem exists?

What steps can be taken to reduce the impact of the problem?

What organizations are currently taking those steps?

You may now need to go back to your resources and collect more issue specific materials.  

Video option: If you have determined that the issue exists in your community, you will need to capture some video evidence and/or interview those impacted and/or head of organizations involved with bringing the issue to the public.


You will present your issue to the class through a brief description of your collage that clearly outlines the issue, describes briefly any organizations that might deal with it globally and locally and finally, outline the rationale behind your choices for the items in your collage. 

Begin by assembling and listing all of your clips of information.   Draw a rough plan for your eCollage indicating what piece of information will go where.  

Edit your images where you feel necessary using a drawing program or photo editing software.   You should review the section on “working with digital images” in the digital imaging videos found at www.NortelLearnit.org

Assemble your images either using appropriate software or print them out and glue them to a poster-sized piece of Bristol board.   Remember, you are trying to make a point and bring attention to your issue.  You will want to assemble your information to maximize emotional impact.   You can use a variety of fonts, photo rotations and placement, etc.

Present your introduction and eCollage to your class or small groups.

Video option:  Prepare a storyboard prior to gather video shots for your video.    Review the information videos that describe the steps to creating storyboards at www.NortelLearnit.org.  You may want to have your teacher make copies of the storyboard template.

Make arrangements with an organization to interview a spokes person for the group or organization that represents the issue you have chosen.  If you see evidence of the issue (i.e. pollution, poverty, etc) in your community you may be able to collect some clips.  Remember that if you video and/or interview someone you must have his or her permission in writing to show the video. 

Introduce your video and show it to the class or small groups.




Group evaluation: Rate the members of your group out of 10 for their performance on this task.    Devise a scale that reflects your assessment criteria for the class.

Self Evaluation: What did you learn? What can you do that you could not do before completing this assignment?


Consider a community or school information session, where Global issues are outlined and discussed.  Invite local political leaders to make presentations. 

You might want to volunteer with an organization that represents an issue that you have developed some interest and passion for. 

Organize a fundraiser to support individuals impacted by the issue you have discussed.   Perhaps your school will want to raise funds to support a local group or organization.

Required Attachments: