There is a children’s book that I got long ago for my daughters called If the World were a Village by David J. Smith, ©2002. This book always struck a chord with me as I wanted my girls to see that they were just a small part of a large diverse world. I wanted them to realize that others had different experience and opportunities and how would they react if they knew someone in their village of 100 people didn’t have the same things that they did. Here is a YouTube video of the book.
With recent events in the world I have been thinking about that book and as Monday, July 11th being World Population Day, I decided to take the book and reduce down the village of 100 to a classroom of 30. If the world were a classroom what would it look like? I took the same topics that were in the book and made it into a classroom population. The different elements that the book looked at were basic needs like education, water, food, shelter, and then worldly elements like age, religion, region, language and finally comforts like internet, money, etc. I have placed all the different elements on sheets of 30 labels with the appropriate percent for the classroom.
Teachers can print the stickers and place them onto index cards and then shuffle up the cards and have the students draw a card and have a discussion about what their classroom looks like and how they feel about it. For example, one sheet of 30 labels is on health; 6 labels have the word “overweight”, 19 labels for “healthy”, 4 labels for “malnourished” and 1 label with the word “starving”. These labels are placed on index cards and shuffled. Students draw a card to see what group they represent. How do they feel to be labeled as overweight or malnourished? How does it feel that you might be healthy but one of your fellow students is starving?
Mathematically you can discuss what percent each group represents. That is easier to do if there were 100 students but upper elementary and middle school students can determine what that percent would be with 30 students. You can also have student looking at the ratio of one group to the whole or to another group. The one element that was hard to represent with 30 students was the percent of money, 1%, or .03 of 30, of the world population controls 50% of all the money in the world. I think this could be represented by having a Lego man or woman showing the small percent of people who have the largest amount of money.
Feel free to contact MANGO Math if you would like a PDF of the labels to use with your group of kids.