One of the things it has kids do is go directly to OPEC's website. As you can imagine, the reading level is quite high on that site, so we went over a lot of it together.
For instance, one of the first questions asked is: Why was OPEC created, and what are the objectives of the organization?
OPEC's website answered that question. But the reading level was through the roof, so I tried to break down that response.
Take the objectives of OPEC for instance (as found on OPEC's website, linked above):
1. To co-ordinate and unify the petroleum policies of the Member Countries and to determine the best means for safeguarding their individual and collective interests;
2. To seek ways and means of ensuring the stabilization of prices in international oil markets, with a view to eliminating harmful and unnecessary fluctuations; and
3. To provide an efficient economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations and a fair return on capital to those investing in the petroleum industry.
I've found that even though students know a lot of those words individually (they can probably tell you want petroleum, unify, countries, individual interests, eliminating, etc... mean), they lose track of what they mean when they're surrounded with other high level words. (At least, that's how my brain tends to work.)
So, here are some things we looked at:
- "safeguarding their individual and collective interests" - I related it as a gang, a Scooby-Doo-esque gang. They each look out for themselves as individuals, but they also look out for the rest of the group. They help one another out.
- "ensuring the stabilization" - We looked at what would happen if Saudi Arabia and Venezuela were always undercutting the price of the other country. What would happen once one country could no longer compete?
Image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scooby-Doo