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An opportunity in AP Comparative Gov & Politics

Apr 13, 2018

Mr. John Unruh-Friesen, social studies, took his AP Comparative Government and Politics outside of their typical classroom setting to demonstrate the global development.

“It’s nice to get out of the normal everyday environment and try something new,” Katie Kadoun, senior.

Though the class is currently focusing their studies on Iran, Unruh-Friesen organized an activity to demonstrate the Human Development Index (HDI) of nations throughout the world. Made up of life expectancy, education, per capita indicators, gender equality, and overall health, the HDI is a composite statistic to rank a country’s human development.

Each student was randomly assigned a country to represent. Among them were Russia, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Mexico, France, China, Iran, and the United States of America.  

“I was Nigeria and I had one of the highest HDIs among countries in Africa. It was interesting and a good way to visualize it,” Kadoun said.

The class as a whole had to line themselves up in order of the HDI’s they assumed were correct.

“You could really tell that we lined up based off of stereotypes that we have of the countries,” Kadoun said.

When Unruh-Friesen revealed the actual HDIs for all of the countries, the stereotypes proved to be almost completely accurate. One example is that most of the countries residing in Africa were on the lower end of the line and the United States of America was near the top with the second highest score.

“A lot of the countries in African countries are less advanced and developed because of colonization. Other countries would go into Africa and exploit the people and their materials,” said Rielle Miguel, senior.

Iran was the one country that surprised the students when its HDI was revealed, tying back into the current curriculum of the class.

“Iran was very high in the spectrum when we found out the actual HDI’s, but our class placed it very low on the spectrum. We assumed that since it was so war-torn, that was suffering,” Miguel said.

For the students of the AP Comparative Government and Politics class, this activity was an opportunity to learn in a new way as well as have their eyes opened to more global issues.

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