Population and Resource Distribution
Video Summary: How are resources divided among the world's population? Who are the "haves" and the "have nots"? What is life like for each group? What actions can citizens of the world take to rectify inequities? To help her students understand the complex issues surrounding the distribution of resources throughout the world, Becky Forristal uses a role-playing and simulation exercise.
Each student randomly receives an arm band containing statistics about a specific area of the world: birth and death rates, life expectancy, literacy rates for men and women, population growth rate, and percentage of arable land, for example. After analyzing the data on their arm bands, students predict what kind of life they might expect as a resident of a particular region.
The regions of the world are outlined in tape on the floor: Africa, Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Canada, the United States, and Latin America. Students stand in the mapped area for their assigned region and compare population distribution. Symbols representing different resources -- like food, oil, and Gross Domestic Product -- are given to the leaders of each region, who must decide how to distribute them and what to do if there are not enough to support the population. This simulation fosters discussion among Ms. Forristal's students about economics, geography, the role of governments, and global connections.