How has the life expectancy in the world changed over the last 200 years? What is the connection between education and how many children women have in their lives? How are health and wealth connected? We are always looking for a way to connect our students to the world around them. Gapminder is a tool that helps visualize complex data in a way that is easier to understand.
Using Gapminder World allows you to chart countries from around the world on an animated bubble chart with two attributes. In addition, users are able to select time for their x-axis, making a line graph of changes over time. This visualization of complex data is an excellent way to spark questions and set students on an inquiry course. Through a data management lens, it is a great way to work with real-world data looking at line graphs and scatterplots.
In addition to Gapminder World, gapminder.org also offers teacher resources including PowerPoint presentations, teacher guides and videos to further explore the gaps between development levels of nations. One of these tools, Dollar Street, allows students to compare standards of living through the use of pictures from around the globe.
Check out Gapminder World’s bubble chart here: http://www.gapminder.org/tools/ and ask your students: “Were the ‘good old days’ really that good?”