I love teaching Social Studies and Language Arts, and I love finding new and creative ways to engage students in learning about history and the world.
Recently, I read about a site called If It Were My Home, and I went directly there. I was so excited by the content on this site. It is a Social Studies teacher’s dream comparison site.
If It Were My Home is a unique site that allows students to read about and consider what their life would have been like if they had been born in another country. There are over 100 countries to choose from. This country comparison site allows students to then compare living conditions in their country to other countries around the world. Once you click on a country, the site instantly provides a lot of great mini facts that statistically compare the two countries, including birth and death rates, electricity and oil consumption, health care, class divide, employment opportunities.
If you compare Canada to China the screen would then read –
If China were your home instead of Canada you would . . .
“Consume 91.o2 % less oil”
“die 6.78 years sooner”
When students click on the mini-fact provided, they get a more detailed description of the comparison fact as well as the original source. Not only can you compare Canada to other countries in the world, you can also choose to compare two other countries, for example compare Rwanda to Afghanistan. How are their lives different after comparing Canada to each?
In addition to providing great comparative information, the site also offers, for most countries, an additional reading list with suggested books about the country. I spent an hour exploring the site the first time I went to it. The educational uses were swirling. Here are a few ways I thought it could be implemented into my classroom.
Students can use this site to help find information on a country study. They can use it to compare and explore different government structures around the world. Health care availability can be directly compared.
Create a chart of life around the world and pick 6 different countries and have students compare different facts. They can then use this information to write a report or to do statistical comparisons.
Language Arts (with Social Studies integrated in)
Add a creative writing element and have students write a short story “If I lived in …” or
Have them pretend they are moving to another country and compare and contrast their current life with their new life.
- Use the statistics provided and graph them, analyze them and so on . . .
Energy consumption comparisons
Usage of renewable and non-renewable resources around the world
The Disaster section – see details below
Finally, I teach Grade 7, but every once and awhile I get the dreaded 6/7 split. Any split is difficult to teach, so finding a resource that makes it easier is oh so nice!
Last year, I created and began presenting my workshop “From Dynasties to Communism.” One of the sole purposes of this workshop was to address the Grade 6/7 split in 3 core subject areas – Social Studies, Language Arts, and Science. One of the Socials activities I included was a simple comparison of life in Canada to life in modern China. This site will now be added as a recommended destination, and the assignment will be more comprehensive!
This website is an amazing source of easy to use information. In addition to the county comparison tool, check out the Disaster section. Here students can see how man-made and natural disasters have affective the lives of millions of people around the world. Information is provided to help students understand the scope of a disaster in relation to their own country. This can help students better visualize how disaster affect the lives of others in other parts of the world.
N. Keyworth, Grade 7 Teacher, Treasurer for PITA
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