Nina Loback is the Richmond Brazil’s Academic Coordinator for Language Schools.
(You can read her complete biodata at the end of this post.)
Considering the kind of images from other parts of the world we are bombarded with, we end up seeing stereotypical photos of extreme poverty or wealth mixed with a few natural disasters and exotic people.
Have you ever wondered how the life of regular middle-class people really is in other countries?
Somebody did and her name is Rosling Rönnlund. She created The Dollar Street project, a website that organizes photos of families from all over the world according to their income in the same street. To the left side of the street, she placed the poorest and to the right, the richest. So, people with the same income are neighbours in Dollar Street, regardless of their nationality. That makes it possible for you to compare the everyday life of a family with the same income as yours: you pick the country.
Even if you don’t consider the great social value of it, it is extremely rich classroom material: you get to see the kitchen, toys, food, the toilet, everything in detail and a lot more…
Activity type: revision.
Target language: vocabulary – food, furniture, animals, numbers.
Level: A2 upwards.
Classroom Time: 30 minutes.
Worksheet A – Instructions and answers
1 Ask students to look at the images and answer the questions in pairs or small groups. Check answers with the whole class.
Answer(s): a) China; b) personal answer; c) personal answer.
2 Ask students to complete the box with the numbers: 600 / 2500 / 9000.
Answer(s): a) 600/ b) 9000/ c) 2500.
3 Ask students to look at the image and answer the question in pairs or small groups. Check answers with the whole class.
Give them some time to figure out that the middle class in Brazil is actually towards the right half of the street. If necessary, help them understand that the Brazilian middle class is richer than the majority of the world population by asking questions such “Is a family that lives with U$600 rich or poor? Compare it to the rest of the street/world”.
Answer(s): It is on the right side of the street – that means the Brazilian middle class is richer than the majority of the world population.
4 Ask students to go to The Dollar Street website <http://www.gapminder.org/dollar-street/>. If necessary, guide them into understanding the tool going through (a) to (d) with the whole group.
Answer(s): d) cat, dog, rabbit, turtle, pig…; f) TV, sofa, rug, armchair, curtains…; h) tofu, soup, vegetables, fish, mushrooms…; j) t-shirt, shorts, dress…
5 Now that students have understood the tool, they can explore its variables and possibilities more freely.
Answer(s): Personal answers.
6 Let students discuss in pairs and reach their own conclusions. Ask them to share their conclusions with the whole group. Go back to the name of the activity and check their final answer to it.
Answer(s): Personal answers.
Worksheet B – Answers
1 a) China; b) personal answer; c) personal answer.
2 a) 600; b) 9000; c) 2500.
3 It is on the right side of the street – that means the Brazilian middle class is richer than the majority of the world population.
4 a) cat, dog, rabbit, turtle, pig…; b) TV, sofa, rug, armchair, curtains…; c) tofu, soup, vegetables, fish, mushrooms…; d) t-shirt, shorts, dress…
5 Personal answers.
- You can remove vocabulary items your students haven’t seen yet and add others, such as family member, toys, etc.
- You can work with specific grammar topics such as comparative and superlative adjectives or conditionals (if you earn U$300, you have a sofa; if I lived in China and I was rich, I would…).
- With more advanced students you can create activities that require more elaborate language, such as the conjunctions in spite of, whereas and unlike to contrast and compare.
The Dollar Street site:
Nina Loback is the Richmond Brazil’s Academic Coordinator for Language Schools. She has a degree in Languages (UEPG/PR/BR), holds a CPE, TKT and is an ICELT holder. She has taught adults, teenagers and children for 10 years and is a frequent speaker at conferences. She is an advisory council member of BRAZ-TESOL Curitiba Regional Chapter and co-founder of Voices Sig for Women.