Inquiry method

  1. Using different resources (e.g. World Water Atlas: Belin Publishing), students describe the current situation.
  2. In groups, students analyse its (un)sustainable components and make suggestions as to why this could be, looking at the issue
    • from an environmental, social and economical perspective;
    • from a local, national and international point of view.
  3. In groups, students research their suggestions to see if there is evidence that they are correct.
  4. In plenary, various roots of inequality in water access and unsustainable management of water resources are presented and discussed.

Ask students to take note of examples of stereotyping experienced – differences in attitudes, behaviours, opinions, values towards men & women in the course of a day.

Small groups reflect on findings and differences and similarities revealed.

Show or handout a copy of a map demonstrating the unequal nature of access to education around the world. Ask students to discuss the following questions:

Use charts, infographic and statistics that show for contagious diseases in the world, or malnutrition in the world etc.

In groups, students use various sources of information (e.g. ICT), and explain the figures, facts and statistics and present a holistic view of the problem. Examples of prompting questions are: In which countries or regions is the problem big and in which countries is it non-existent? Why?

Which ages are affected? Which factors intensify the problem? What remedial measures are taken? How can countries, groups, people eliminate the risk? What policies and strategies are followed for addressing the problem?

Each group presents and discusses their results to the plenary and jointly develop a plan with suggested strategies addressing the local context for increasing local resilience.

Game-example: Profit-Seed

The Profit Seed game explores the issues surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMO) and the patenting of agricultural seeds. It is also an experiment with a novel game mechanic. A player uses her mouse to control the wind, trying to plant heirloom seeds while preventing GMO seeds from blowing onto a farmer’s plots. If enough GMO seeds land in the field and germinate, the lawyer from an agribusiness corporation comes to sue the farmer and take his land.

Students complete the ‘poverty print’ (or use search words ‘tradecraft blog poverty footprint quiz’), discuss the outcome and set up a ‘personal action plan’ for improvement.

Students read the ‘poverty footprint indicator guide’ for organisations. After reading, students, in small groups, choose three points of interest from the guide and prepare interviews for different levels of the school personnel (managers, teachers, staff, cleaning personnel, restaurant employees, students, post-graduates etc.
After the interviews the results are compared and a final conclusion is written.
The activities can be broadened to a next level by using the guide for nations:
A final discussion is organised in which the guide is used as a ‘quick evaluation instrument’ for nations: take the lowest five nations on the list of poor countries (see ‘participation’) and see if there are clues for the low positions in the poverty footprint guide.
Discuss ways improvement can start…

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In addition to knowledge and thinking skills also more affect-eliciting activities (stories-films-cases and multi-perspective discussions about them)

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See, for example:; also other concept development/conceptual change approaches (Vosniadou et al.). Look also system thinking skills (Assaraf & Orion, 2010), etc..

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For a class of approximately 30: Split class into 9 groups of 3 (or 2-4 per group to fit numbers).

The first three groups are given the task of investigating What’s so good about…? Each of the groups receives a different topic: e.g. A. Social Justice; B. Biodiversity; C. Maintaining a Stable Climate. They are asked to find out: What is this about? Why is it important? Is this desirable? If so, why?

The second three groups are given the task of investigating What’s the problem with…? Each of the groups receives a different topic: e.g. A. Using cheap labour to make our clothes; B. Eating large quantities of cheap meat; C. Using fossil fuels for our energy needs. They are asked to find out: Why is this considered to be a bad thing? What impacts is it having on people’s lives/the environment? Why is it happening?

The third three groups are given the task of investigating How can we deal with…? Each of the groups receives a different topic: e.g. A. Exploitative employment practices; B. The negative impacts of the meat industry; C. Greenhouse gas emissions. They are asked to find out: How can we deal with this issue? How might we reduce its impact? What alternatives are there for this (in terms of materials and our actions or habits)?

Share: After 30-40 minutes’ group work ask the groups to come together in three teams comprising the Group As, Group Bs and Group Cs. The teams should now listen to each other in order to discover any links that they can between their different pieces of evidence. They should work together to develop a presentation that they can share with the other two teams.

Present: Each team gives a five minute presentation to the rest of the class and takes questions on their given issue.