LT focus: To understand the scale of wealth inequality across continents
Use the Trócaire figures outlining the world as a village e.g. if the world was 100 people, 50 would be hungry, 24 would have a television, 33 would have unsafe drinking water etc. Discuss the implications of this for all 100 people. Class discussion on how the inequalities may (a) have taken hold and (b) how they could be resolved.
Divide the class into the following groups with the following number of biscuits without telling them they are arranged into continents: Africa – 5 children – 1 biscuit. Asia – 15 children – 4 biscuits. Europe – 4 children – 9 biscuits. South/Latin America – 3 children – 1 biscuit. North America – 2 children – 10 biscuits. Australia – 1 child – 5 biscuits. Antartica – 0 children – 0 biscuits. Allow the children three minutes to eat the biscuits. Afterwards, ask the children if they can guess which continent they are in. Follow up with a discussion on the number of biscuits received, how they felt when they got this many, could they do anything about it, was it unfair etc.
Reassign the children to 6 equal groups, and assign each a role-play card from the following: Chairperson of World Trade Organisation; Farmer in Ethiopia; Irish Minister for Agriculture and Food; Farmer from England; Irish person on social welfare benefits; President of the USA. Role-play a meeting in which each of these people meet and tell their side of the story and try and come up with solutions.
After the role-play, come up with a list of things we in Ireland can do to aid those in other countries suffering from the wealth inequality.
Other teacher resources for teaching this topic: The Fair Trade Story (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6pcJxFen8Y) – for discussion on Fair Trade at the end of the lesson
Facts and figures obtained from Trócaire’s ‘Primary school teachers’ resource’ obtainable online https://www.trocaire.org/getinvolved/education/resources