Jan 312007

Updated 4/2/07
Gapminder is a BRILLIANT way to analyse development indicators. A range of development data can be plotted on a map or chart and animated over time. Gapminder website

Here are some suggested activites to introduce the Gapminder site to students

Download an illustrated guide to Gapminder (Word doc) Thanks very much to Val Vannet who produced the first version of this document. This could be printed off and laminated. Thanks also to Alan Parkinson for mentioning the Trails feature in his recent comment. Gapminder also provide an excellent tutorial on the application here.

Mapping development indicators
Start by selecting Map, and looking for patterns by selecting different development indicators for the countries.
gap map

Correlating development data
Select Chart and compare different indicators, for example Life Expectancy and Income. What correlations can be found?
gap chart
Students could be asked to try and identify data that gives a positive correlation on comparison (e.g. carbon dioxide emisions and income) or negative correlation (e.g. fertility rate and phone use)

Analysing trends
Try choosing Life Expectancy and analysing changes over time (select Time for the x axis.) Track selected countries by selecting them, clicking the Trails box and playing the animation.
gap time

In the screenshot I coloured the countries by income , but why has Botswana, a middle income country, seen a dramatic decline in life expectancy in recent years? Students really should know why!

Exploring urbanization trends
Compare Urban Population and Time, and track countries from different income groups. In the screenshot example I changed the circle size to one size and the colour to Income Group.
gap urban

In a recent lesson, these activities proved sufficient to turn the students into fairly competent Gapminder users.

I recommend watching Hans Roslings’ entertaining presentation at the TED Talks and visiting the Gapminder.org site for more resources and downloads.