Having recently spent Geography lessons learning about the fashion industry, discussing the morals of using low-income countries to produce garments, Year 7 spent a morning finding out about the equality, or lack of it, in the wider world trading systems.
Playing the 'Trade Game', the pupils were told to manufacture shapes to specific dimensions with only the resources that they were given. It didn't take them long to realise that while some countries had all that they need, others were lacking technical equipment such as pencils, rulers and protractors. They had to be resourceful, work in their country teams and negotiate their way through the task. The morals of some teams were questionable as they sold their 'duds' to other countries, and some stole resources, but it was a useful talking point when it came to the summary!
Current world trading systems are helping to maintain the gap between rich and poor nations and playing this game introduces the issues of trade, and the inequalities that exist. It is a valuable introduction to the basic issues that determine how the gap between rich and poor nations is maintained. Year 7 fully engaged in the activity and while some thoroughly enjoyed their spot at the top of the trading world, others certainly felt aggrieved at the situation they found themselves in. Creativity, negotiating skills and initiative were needed to make the most of each country’s situation. At the end of the game, the winning country was able to spend their hard earnt money on delicious cakes, pizzas and sandwiches, while the poorer countries were left with crackers. It was a hard hitting, but important, lesson in the realities of the world trading systems.
During the conclusion Year 7 reflected upon the situations that were introduced and the behaviours of the children and how they relate to the real world, as well as how fortunate we are to live in a prosperous country. We also compared how the desire of wanting to increase wealth can conflict with personal and religious values.
Mr Kimber, Head of Geography