In this activity, students use vocabulary and structures regarding the environment to understand the economic impact of micro-loans through the website KIVA.org. Students navigate the website (in English), and then pick a loan that they would like to fund. In a consensus-decision model, students then try to convince the other classmates that their loan is the best, until the entire class comes up with one loan that they would like to fund. In my classes, we then fund-raise until we come up with the money that we choose to donate, but that is not a requirement of the activity.
It is a great activity for the kids, as they explore through the site how people are trying to make a living, and what ways people can improve the environment through environmentally-friendly practices. It also teaches empathy and cultural understanding. Finally, my students invest both emotionally and financially in this activity, and it furthers their connection to helping others.
I have included both the student sheet (in the form of a web quest) and teacher instructions on how to run the consensus conversation. If you are interested, I can also supply a fundraising letter for you to modify should you wish to fund raise with your students. Please email me if that is the case, and I will provide it free of charge.
I am working this in to our unit on environment, and we use both the conditional and future in the discussion of the loans.