The geography of our stuff

No idea where this idea came from, but I probably stole it from Jo.  Thought I’d share a Year 7 lesson from today. Last lesson we looked at being able to classify farming and its distribution around the UK.  Next it’s time to get the idea of where food comes from.  I had the pleasure of a History PGCE student visiting the group today too.
1. Ask the class to look at their stuff and find out where it was manufactured. The rule is don’t get naked.  I modeled this with some of the objects below, that happened to be in it. Prize for those who identify the items that I didn’t actually use in the lesson. …
// Suit – Made in China
// Tie – (I Actually took this off an put back on to show off my Windsor knot skills) Made in Italy
// Shoes – (took these off too) Made in India
// Vaseline – not marked but used to model that’s OK
// Sharpie pen – Made in the USA (I use ‘America’ too, but it’s the USA damnit)
// Green Pen – Made in Germany
// iPhone – Made in China
// Water bottle – made in the E.U.
// Windbreak – Made in Malaysia
// Pants – Made in Portugal
2. Give the class three minutes to explore their stuff.
3. Take the register with each student sharing an object and where it came from. Ask the rest of the class to listen hard as Geographical questions would follow.
4. Launch into questions, using the good old think, pair, share idea:
// What type of country are products mainly manufactured in?  The answers to this were stunning, the class managing to come up with ‘mainly Asian’ and make comments on the level of industrialisation.
// Why do companies like Apple make their iPhones in China? Linking to profit, lower wages, GDP per capita etc
// Why do companies bother to emphasise the ‘made in California?’ Great discussion around a comment along the lines of ‘we don’t make anything’ apart from ideas, I answered.  And how much do ideas earn?
5. Go to a computer room for a bit, challenge the class to think of a food they eat and find out the information about it.  The aim was to get the ingredients and where they came from:
// Why is it difficult to find this information for some brands and not for others?
// ‘The McDonald’s bun has a thousand ingredients, sir!’
// One biscuit had ingredients sourced from twelve different countries.
The class had to make some notes ready for the register next lesson where I wanted the brand, ingredients and the geographical questions that came along.  Up raised Palm Oil and a whole range of ideas.  Ideas were recorded on their phones (Evernote, OneNote, Notepad) or paper / planner.
So, next time, what do the students bring with them into the lesson?

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