Critical Analysis Leads to Global Action

By J.P. McCaskey High School, September 25, 2008

Grade Level

  • High School


  • Design for the Other 90%

Subject Area

  • Social Studies

Lesson Time

ten ten-to fifty-minute class periods


In our world, where what happens to one affects all, our students need to become aware of global interrelatedness.  With issues such as refugees and immigration, drug and human trade, environmental issues, violations of human rights, and rogue technologies, it is important for our students to understand cause and effect, portend, possibilities, and their role in being the future designers and “shakers” who will bring productive change to our world.

National Standards

  NSS-G.K-12.2 PLACES AND REGIONS: ·         Understand the physical and human characteristics of places. ·         Understand that people create regions to interpret Earth's complexity. ·         Understand how culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places regions. NSS-G.K-12.4 HUMAN SYSTEMS: ·         Understand the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface. ·         Understand the characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaics. ·         Understand the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface. ·         Understand the processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement. ·         Understand how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface. NSS-G.K-12.5 ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY: ·         Understand how human actions modify the physical environment. ·         Understand how physical systems affect human systems. ·         Understand the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources. NSS-G.K-12.6 THE USES OF GEOGRAPHY ·         Understand how to apply geography to interpret the past. ·         Understand how to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.

Common Core Standards

Anchors for Reading:

Key Ideas and Details:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.2 Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.10Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.

Anchor Standards for Writing:

Text Types and Purposes1:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Range of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Anchor standards for Speaking and Listening:

Comprehension and Collaboration:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Anchor standards for Language:

Conventions of Standard English:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Knowledge of Language:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.


Students will be able to:
  • Identify several challenges created by history, geography, topography.
  • Investigate one of the chosen challenges in the country of the student’s choice and identify the root causes of this challenge.
  • Identify viable solutions to this challenge.
  • Articulate these solutions in a formal presentation.




  • climate: the average and variations of weather in a region over long periods of time
  • tropical: relating to the geographic region of the Earth where the sun reaches a point directly overhead, the Zenith, at least once during the solar year
  • subtropical: relating to the zones of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropic zone, which is bounded by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn
  • arid: lacking sufficient water or rainfall; dry
  • Micro lending: the extension of very small loans (microloans) to the unemployed, to poor entrepreneurs, and to others living in poverty who are not considered bankable. These individuals lack collateral, steady employment  and a verifiable credit history and therefore cannot meet even the most minimal qualifications to gain access to traditional credit


1.  After the unit on the chosen continent, the students individually identify 5 challenges they see within an identified country on the continent of study.  Students then pair off, share their ideas, and reduce their two lists to one list of three challenges.  As a class the students compile these challenges on the board.

2.  The teacher presents the project to the students and explains that the students must first identify one challenge from the board and analyze it.  The students must then propose solutions.  Once the students have identified a solution and researched it, they will have to present this solution in both a presentation and in writing. The teacher demonstrates what is expected with a generic presentation.

3. Students then pair off to identify and research the specific challenge they have chosen within their region.  They must identify the specific elements of the challenge using the textbook first.  They must present a process paper which must include information regarding: who, what, why, and how.

4.  The students should utilize suggested websites (i.e., Design for the Other 90%) to intensify their research.  They should create note cards that include the necessary information and discuss any accompanying issues.  The students should be analyzing any issues identified.

5.  The students use the note cards and researched materials to write a three page paper which should identify and analyze the challenge and propose and support a designed solution which could address one of the following issues:  need for entrepreneurial start-up capital, micro-lending institutions, affordable and well designed money making equipment, products, affordable shelters, and education on networking for marketing and distribution.

6.  The students must then present the challenge and solution in a formal setting.  Students in the audience use a critique and analysis sheet provided by the teacher as they watch the presentations.


  The students will be assessed through their PowerPoint presentation, three-page paper, notes they took during the presentations, check of note cards created during research, and other assorted formative assessments during the process.  

Enrichment Extension Activities

  • Students could research and develop a design for the proposed solution as well as a marketing plan for this design.
  • Students could design and establish a fund-raising event (within the school or community-at-large) in order to establish their own micro lending "institution", focused on "the other 90%".

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.