Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Connection between Literacy Rate and GDP

We spent today looking at a lot of data - and trying to make sense of it.  It was very similar to what the students did at Station 5 on Tuesday - but much more in depth.

We started off by looking at 4 countries in Africa that had low literacy rates: <70%.  Most students noticed that the GDP was also low.

Then, we looked at 4 countries in Africa that had high literacy rates: >90%.  Students could also pick up on the GDP being fairly high in those countries.

So then I asked the question, why?  Why do countries with low literacy rates have a low GDP, and why do countries with high literacy rates have a high GDP?

Some possible answers we came up with were:  People who can read and write have more human capital, and will be able to secure better jobs - raising the GDP of the country.  People who cannot read and write will have a much more difficult time finding a job and raising the country's GDP.

Also, if a country doesn't have enough money - they won't be able to pay for teachers. If they can't pay for teachers, it will lower the literacy rate of the country.

The next obvious question is - which is causing which? Is a low literacy rate causing low GDP? Or is low GDP causing low literacy rate? Or both?

Well, we skipped the obvious question, for now - and looked for outliers. Were there any countries that had a high GDP and low literacy rate, or vice versa?

We didn't find any countries with a high GDP and low literacy rate. But we DID find a couple countries with a high literacy rate, and low GDP.




I know that being a teacher, I should write a solid concluding paragraph. But looking up at the clock, I noticed that as a teacher I'm also pressed for time. And there's no way I'll get the whole lesson written down into a blog post.

Still, if any of my students want extra credit, they may read and discuss this blog with an adult. To prove that you were here today, write down definitions for literacy rate and GDP.

Then, have the adult sign the paper. Make sure your name, date, and hour are on it, and turn it in tomorrow.

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