Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) addressed with this activity:
SS7E3 Describe factors that influence economic growth and examine their presence or absence in Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.
a. Evaluate how literacy rates affect the standard of living.
b. Explain the relationship between investment in human capital (education and
training) and gross domestic product (GDP per capita).
c. Explain the relationship between investment in capital goods (factories,
machinery, and technology) and gross domestic product (GDP per capita).
d. describe how the distribution of natural resources affects the development of
e. Describe the role of entrepreneurship.
SS7E1 Analyze different economic systems.
b. Explain that countries have a mixed economic system located on a continuum
between pure market and pure command.
c. Compare and contrast the economic systems in South Africa, Kenya, and
Activity Length: Approximately 3 days, depending on how fast your students read (60-70 min. classes)
Student Materials needed: blue, yellow, red, and green colored pencils/markers/highlighters/crayons
Activity Background: In my opinion, the economics standards listed above are some of the hardest to teach in 7th grade Social Studies. There are vast amounts of information out there on each country’s economy, but very few of them are completely aligned to the GA standards, and even fewer are written on a 7th grader’s level. I also find that teaching the relationships between certain investments and GDP is easiest within a clear context. So I set out to create my own text that would check off all the boxes I was looking for. I used some old textbooks, some new, and some Internet research to compile the information I included in the text, which is written by me. Color-coding the text by topic in this activity seems to help my students chunk the material so they don’t become overwhelmed, and it also forces them to engage in metacognitive exercises as they read for information. Finally, the activity concludes by asking students to evaluate, support their final answer with evidence from the text, and explain their reasoning.
If you're interested in this activity, you should check out the companion activities for SW Asia and SE Asia! Or, save money by purchasing the bundle of all three.