Tricia Miller, a 6th and 7th grade World Cultures teacher at Westwood Middle School in Minnesota, has been using the DevInfo Facts of the Week to teach her students about global awareness.
“We first talk about why it’s important to be aware of development issues, and then look at the facts disaggregated by topics.” Mrs. Miller came across the DevInfo Facts of the Week through a simple Google Search, and has also been using the award-winning di Gameworks, in which children and adolescents can play games while learning about development issues (click here if you’re in the mood for a game of Pic-Tac-Toe, where you need to match a fact to its respective Millennium Development Goal).
Once the students become familiar with the eight Millennium Development Goals, they are able to pinpoint certain trends – such as the fact that areas like Sub-Saharan Africa seem to be less developed than others. “They’ll then understand that Africa is not a country and look at a map of the continent to view specific nations that are struggling more than others,” says Miller. “They get really into it.”
Mrs Miller, who was just named 2013 Teacher of the Year by the Spring Lake Park School District, takes pride in ensuring that her students subsequently transform their knowledge into action. This month, her 6th graders from just three classes raised a total of $750.93 for an organization called Water for Life that builds wells in Haiti and Africa. Students in her 7th grade class raised $319 for the non-profit organization Kiva and chose people around the world to loan the money to. The idea of taking the information learned via the Facts of the Week to the next step by actually raising money for worthy causes is very much in line with UNICEF’s latest campaign from Sweden entitled “Likes Don’t Save Lives,” which argues that awareness needs to be followed by action.
As the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals approaches, Mrs. Miller finds it important to inquire what priorities students think should be taken into account to further development in the future. She mentioned that “access to technology” had sprung up a number of times.
Below is a slideshow showing some of the 6th graders’ response to the question: “Why is it important to be globally aware.”
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