A look at Gapminder 3/1/16

Monday, February 29th 2016

I persuaded my colleagues who teach Algebra 2A with me to spend some class time looking at data gapminder, an active-movement online tool to compare different categories, sectors, and countries through time. Students were shown the income vs. life expectancy graph and how to read the axes, what the colors and sizes of the bubbles mean, and how to play the graph forward in years. I wanted to students to compare relationships between different sectors.
The categories were infrastructure, energy, work, environment, society, health, education, population, economy, and time, each of which had several sub-categories like literacy rates, cell phones per 100 people, Math achievement scores, and the age at first marriage for women.

I had students write down things they noticed or discovered in the activity. Here are some of the responses.
I noticed how much wealth affects other qualities of life,
I was surprised by cell phone rate and math achievement,
I did not know Quatar had the most carbon emissions,
I was surprised by the percentage of oil per person in certain countries,
I discovered that reading and finding the categories wasn’t hard and that even one year can change everything,
I knew that the US used the most electricity but I didn’t think we used 4-5 times more than the amount of electricity in the world.

Here is a link to the page I provided students.

Here’s a quick introduction to the originator of Gapminder, Hans Rosling, and how he developed his site.

I was excited to introduce some social relevance into my class this year, and look forward to doing some more and teaching math that can be used to become more aware of the world.