Poverty, Inequality and Income Distribution - Lesson Plan

Poverty, Inequality and Income Distribution - Lesson Plan: 2 x 1 hour lessons

A series of 'off the shelf' lesson plans and resources for use in the classroom. These lessons deal with Poverty, Inequality and Income Distribution and are relevant to the following specifications:

  • AQA: Module 5, 14.4 and 14.5
  • Edexcel: Unit 5A and 5B
  • OCR: Unit 2884, 5.4.4


The purpose of these lessons is to investigate the meaning of the term 'poverty' and to begin to understand some of the problems facing policy makers in tackling the problem. The range of problems is highlighted through the links, where an array of definitions of poverty are provided. Who decided that these levels were appropriate anyway? The links and the images also aim to stimulate students to recognise that poverty can mean different things to different people in different circumstances. For example, rural poverty is different in nature and cause to urban poverty and so policies to help solve them cannot be 'blanket' solutions.

The use of the Virtual Economy in this context is useful in that students can experiment with different strategies and see what the outcome of some of those strategies might be. The final task asks students to summarise what they have covered and to try to draw some informed conclusions about the issues and difficulties facing those charged with attempting to reduce poverty.

Learning Objectives:

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

  • The difference between relative and absolute poverty
  • Definitions of poverty applied to the UK
  • Different ways of viewing poverty - by region, function and so on
  • Different strategies available to governments for tackling poverty through its fiscal policy
  • Problems associated with trying to tackle the problem of poverty


Lesson Structure:

Lesson 1

  1. Introduce the topic by viewing the series of images provided. Students should be asked questions about which of the images relate to poverty and why. Students need to be guided to recognise certain features in the photographs - for example in the first image, is the fact that the country has electricity (implied by the pylons in the background) enough to suggest that absolute poverty does not exist? Whereas, the implied affluence of the family in the 'People's March' may disguise the extent of the hardship facing some in rural communities. (15 minutes)
  2. Following on from these discussions, use the PowerPoint Presentation to introduce the key issues surrounding poverty, equality and income distribution. (20 minutes)
  3. Begin the Activity - this can be run as an individual activity or in small groups (no more than 3?) (20 minutes)
  4. Review main points of the lesson. (5 minutes)

Lesson 2

  1. Review main points from the last lesson. (5 minutes)
  2. Continue with the Activity. (35 minutes)
  3. Discuss outcomes of the Activity and the conclusions drawn as a result. (15 minutes)
  4. Summarise key points arising out of the two lessons in relation to the learning objectives. (5 minutes)