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Our Miniature Earth Simulation

Learning Module


This social science learning module for 9-12 year olds looks at issues such as education, race, wealth, poverty and hunger through a simulation based on Our Miniature Earth, developed by World Vision.


World Inequality, Education, Race, Wealth, Poverty, Hunger, Social Science

Knowledge Objectives

As a result of completing this learning module, students will be able to:


The student contributes to group effectiveness


5.LC.1: Identify why people cooperate in groups and consider values that communities share to help them live and work together.

5.LC.5: Set and achieve goals in cooperative and competitive games situations.

5.LC.6: Respect and build on other learners' ideas and opinions as well as their own, and provide and accept positive and encouraging feedback in group situations.

5.LC.7: Communicate ideas and opinions effectively in a group situation


The student understands world issues and events


23.LC.12: Discuss and provide opinions on current and past global issues and world events, considering some different perspectives.


The student uses a range of strategies to think and learn


1.LC.1: Experiments with some structured thinking tools or processes to explore issues and problems and consider different perspectives.

The student understands world issues and events


23.LC.12: Discuss and provide opinions on current and past global issues and world events, considering some different perspectives.


The student understands world issues and events


23.LC.12: Discuss and provide opinions on current and past global issues and world events, considering some different perspectives.

1. How Well Do We Know Our Own Planet?

For the Student

Today is Peacemaker Day. With a partner take turn to answer this question:

What do you think is the point of having Peacemaker Day?

If the world population was only 100, what would it look like?

How well do we know our own planet?

Form groups of 6;

1. Find a partner from your school.

2. With your partner find two other pairs of students. Each pair should be from another school. Once you have formed your group introduce yourself, sit down on the floor and decide who will be the Recorder for your group. Set a team social goal that will guide your group to work successfully.

In your group consider the following questions and record your predictions on the prediction sheet:

How would the population be distributed?

How many people would be Asians, Europeans, Africans, Americans, Australians?

How many do you think would be hungry/malnourished?

How many can’t read?

How many would have a secondary level education?

How many would own a fridge?

How many would own a bank account?

How many would have to survive on less than $2 US a day?

For the Teacher


Welcome students to the school and Acknowledge Country.

Introduce the theme of the day - Peacemaker - with a Think-Pair-Share.

See the Miniature Earth webpage.

Place a big circle (symbolising the earth) on the middle of the board and write the question for today’s lesson inside - If the world population was only 100, what would it look like? Then around the outside of the circle write the question: How well do we know our own planet.

Students form groups of 6. Each group should comprise two students from each school and have a designated Recorder.

For goal setting, prompt students to recall goal setting strategies from Cooperative Reading and cooperative learning activities. There are some social goals listed on the back of the student prediction sheet. (Social support)

Students work in groups of 6 to discuss the questions about the world’s population and record them on a sheet. Each group then merges with another group of 6, discusses their responses and comes up with a joint response. Each group of 12 then reports their responses to the whole group to come up with a whole of group response.

This activity is designed to reach consensus through discussion (Substantive communication) and to identify and acknowledge students' prior knowledge (Background knowledge).

For this module you will need:

A student photographer and camera from each school

Two student observers from each school. They need to be 'good' writers

Butchers' paper, Blu-tac, textas, pencils, 6-part Placemats, Prediction recording sheets, Laminated signs for each 'miniature earth' grouping.

2. Watch 'Our Miniature Earth'

For the Student

Watch Our Miniature Earth. (Also available on YouTube)

With a partner talk about what you saw, thought of and felt as you watched it.

For the Teacher

Audiovisual presentation

Students watch an audiovisual presentation titled Our Miniature Earth from World Vision.

Encourage students to discuss their personal responses to the film before going into the explicit teaching. This values diversity (Inclusivity) and prior knowledge (Background knowledge).

3. Make a Miniature Earth

For the Student

So… How well did you know your planet?

We’d like 100 volunteers from the audience so our year 5 students create their own miniature earth.

Firstly we need to distribute the population between the continents:

61 Asians, 12 Europeans, 13 Africans, 14 Americans, 1 Australian.

Anyone in the audience who would like to comment on whether this spread surprised them or what they think…

And our lonely Australian how do you feel?

Remember what you are each time.

Now everyone come back to the centre (students move out of their continent groups and are now back as one).

13 are hungry/malnourished.So you are hungry and malnourished – how does your future look? Is this fair?

Come back to centre.

For the Teacher

Describe the world's population

A presenter then poses the question:

So… How well did you know your planet?

The presenter asks students to volunteer and form different patterns based on facts about the world’s population.

Use visual props (laminated A4 images) to label each grouping.

Questions are posed to the volunteers as well as to the audience to reflect on the information that is presented through the activity. Use a Think-Pair (or Triple) -Share-Square structure to ensure all students are participants in the reflections (Inclusivity). After each question ask Is this fair? and ask students to justify their answer. Allow time for groups to discuss the questions (Substantive communication).

Teaching tips

Photographers and Observers should record the learning. Prompt them to consider the impact of the learning on the students. Are they surprised? Are they disturbed?

4. More about Miniature Earth

For the Student

Continuing the task:

14 can’t read.

7 have secondary level education.

Hands up all those who are surprised by the fact that only 7 people will get a secondary education …. Why? Is this fair?

Come back to centre.

Everyone here – put up your hand if you own a fridge at home? What about a cupboard to hang up your clothes? Who owns a bank account? Now let’s look at the miniature earth…

25 own a fridge – making you richer than 75% of the population.

30 own a bank account – richest people in the world.

47 survive on less than $2 US a day.

Out of all the money 6 people own 50% of the wealth.

Do you think it is fair that this six people own half of the money of the entire world?

How do the "richies" feel?

How the poor people feel?

Come back to centre.

For the Teacher

The world's population continued

Change the student roles so that the seated students become part of the 'miniature earth' population of 100. Continue with the grouping and re-grouping activity.

Also continue with asking students to compare the information to their original predictions and reflect on similarities and differences.

5. So What?

For the Student

What was the point of today’s activity?

Who’s in control? Who has the power?

Do Australians fit in the rich group or the poor? Why?

How can things be changed to make the world more equal?

If the world were more equal what might happen to world peace?

How can things be changed to make the world more equal?

Use the placemat to answer the following questions. What can you do? How can you be a peacemaker?

How well did you work in your team? Consider your team goal and come to an agreement about your group effectiveness. Use an attitude scale to indicate how well you did.


Why is it important to cooperate in groups?

For the Teacher


Use a Think-Pair–Share strategy for students to reflect on the activity and record their responses to the questions.

(Problematic knowledge)

Use a 6-part placemat to answer the final question What can you do? After students complete their section of the placemat individually, ask them to share their answers in their group then synthesise these into a group response that values all 6 contributions.

(Substantive communication, Inclusivity)

In their teams of six, and using a Round Robin structure, students evaluate their group effectiveness in relation to their team goal and discuss why it is important to cooperate in groups. (Social support)

6. Graffiti Wall

For the Student

Partner up with someone from your group who goes to a different school to you.

With your partner share 3 things you recall from the day's activity, 2 insights (or new understandings) and 1 question.

With your partner plan and comment on the activity on the class graffiti wall. Thank your partner and describe one thing they did that you value (give a compliment).

When you get back to class you can:

  1. Share your learning with the members of your class who did not participate in the day's learning.
  2. Create and display a class graffiti wall with your comments and any pictures that you find.
  3. Create a visual and/or written exposition about how equality could make our world more peaceful.

For the Teacher

Sharing reflections

Pair students so they work with a partner from their group but from another school. With their partner, use a 3-2-1 strategy to scaffold student reflection. Students plan and write a comment to add to one of three graffiti walls about their reflections on the activity. Each school will be able to take one graffiti wall.

Follow up in classes. Students can debrief the learning with students who did not participate in the learning (Yr 4 or Yr 6). Display the school graffiti wall and create a class version for each class. Students can add images from magazines, websites etc.

At school students produce either

a visual representation


a short exposition

about how equality could make our world more peaceful.

7. Acknowledgements

The original version of this learning module was created by Sue Gorman and Rita van Haren.

Title: (Source); Dove (Source); Map (Source); Scales of Justice (Source); Peace Sign (Source); Graffiti Wall (Source).