Development Indicators - Lesson Plan

Development Indicators - Lesson Plan: 3 x 1 hour lessons

A series of 'off the shelf' lesson plans and resources for use in the classroom. These lessons deal with Development Indicators and are relevant to the following specifications:

  • AQA: Module 4, 14.5; Module 6, 15.1
  • Edexcel: Unit 5B
  • OCR: Module 2886


The Activity tries to identify the main measures used as indicators of development and to analyse the advantages and disadvantages of using such measures as indicators of development.

Having carried out this analysis, the student is asked to assess the information they have collected in conjunction with some specific data related to a series of countries in each of the main development regions of the world.

The group can then discuss the different interpretations of the appropriateness of development indicators. This can be done through a presentation using some appropriate medium or a simple oral report to the rest of the group.

The intention is to make students aware that there are different measures of indicators, each of which may have certain drawbacks that do not give the complete picture. In addition, the focus on looking at specific countries should make it clear that the results in terms of attempts to rank levels of development will be made more complex because of the differing standards and issues in different regions/countries.

An extension activity is provided to encourage students to draw together their analysis and arrive at some conclusions about the use of the HDI (Human Development Index) as an indicator of the standard of living. The term standard of living is used deliberately as an alternative to 'indicator of development' to encourage students to think about possible differences between development indicators and what we might mean by the 'standard of living'.

There is, in addition, a wide range of activities that can be carried out to support this work in the Virtual Developing Country resource.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of the session, students should understand the following:

  • The distinction between economic development and economic growth
  • The differences between various indicators of economic development
  • That economic development can be seen in different contexts depending on the country/region
  • Some key development indicators of different coutries in different regions
  • The value of different development indicators in generating a rank ordering of levels of development
  • The differences in interpretations of the standard of living


Lesson Structure:

The lessons are designed to encourage students to question the merit of indicators of economic development.

Lesson 1

  1. Discuss what is meant by the term economic development as oppossed to economic growth. Ensure that the distinction is made clear by putting an agreed definition on the board or on a large piece of paper. (10 minutes)
  2. Having agreed on the definition, ask students, in small groups (no more than three), to identify what measures they would use to indicate the level of development in a country - students can write these down on a large sheet of paper which can then be pinned up around the classroom during the feedback session. (10 minutes)
  3. Look at the Mind Map - compare the ideas generated by the students with those of the Mind Map - discuss the value of some selected measures - for example, what does the number of TVs per head of the populaton really tell us? What values are we imposing when we use such measures? (10 minutes)
  4. Look at the Presentation to give some additional detail to the Mind Map and to reinforce the discussions so far. (15 minutes)
  5. Introduce the Activity. Explain the aims and the structure of the activity and divide the class into appropriate groups. (10 minutes)
  6. Review the main points from the lesson and briefly set out the aims for the next lesson. (5 minutes)

Lesson 2

  1. Remind students of the task and the aims. (5 minutes)
  2. Set groups on task and spend time checking progress and posing questions to get them to think about some of the assumptions they are making - especially in the assessment section of the development indicators chart. (50 minutes)
  3. Bring groups back and outline group presentation timetable for next lesson. (5 minutes)

Lesson 3

Carry out presentations in line with the timetable agreed in lesson 2. After the presentations (which should be between 5 and 10 minutes long) discuss the issues arising in terms of why different countries seem to be ranked in a different order depending on the indicator used and the relative merits of the different indicators.

It may be worthwhile attempting to settle on an agreed list of six indicators that the class feel are appropriate to use in measuring the state of development of a country or region. These can be posted on a large sheet of paper and permanantly displayed in the room during the course of the work being carried out on economic development.

The extension task can be set as a piece of summative assessment.

Related activity: