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Gapminder World

At the end of an ordinary Year 9 lesson on scatter graphs I had a flash of inspiration and remembered the fantastic Gapminder World tool courtesy of Google and Gapminder.

For the uninitiated this is a dynamic graphing package populated with a range of data about countries covering the last 30 years. You choose two sets of data to graph and hey presto a lovely scatter graph appears with a slider allowing you to cycle through the years:

Within seconds I had the pupils eagerly shouting out pairs of data sets which they thought would have some kind of correlation accompanied by reasoned arguments explaining their thoughts. Then when they saw that we could highlight individual countries I was swamped with requests from a mass of countries of origin.

All in all a refreshing end to a lesson and one that has got my mind racing.

I think that getting the pupils into a computer room with this running would be great, you could use it as an excellent starting exercise before jumping into a data investigation of their own. The cross-curricular possibilities are also great. I may incorporate this into plans I am hatching for a long term project next year with pupils collecting data from other schools around the web.


There’s a great video from last years TED conference from Hans Rosling who created the software.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/hVimVzgtD6w" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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