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Teaching Guides Introduction


While this web site encourages explorers of all ages to investigate on their own, it also offers guidelines and materials for more structured explorations.

For Teachers contains a range of activities for teaching each learning module and follows the sequence of map, text, charts and graphs, data table, and case studies. The activities progress from facilitating comprehension to reinforcing critical thinking skills, and they encourage student participation and group learning. The activities are designed for use in geography, social studies, environmental studies, history, economics, international studies, and current affairs classes.

Point of View

The point of view of these learning modules is:

  • Economic development is a means to a better life for people everywhere, especially those living in low- and middle-income countries.
  • All countries, rich and poor, face environmental problems that are often closely linked with efforts to reduce poverty and improve people's standard of living.
  • The relationship between economic development and the environment is complex, and reliable data are often scarce.
  • Rising economic activity can both cause environmental problems and, with the right policies and institutions, help solve them.
  • Greater economic strength and higher standards of living in all countries contribute to a healthy, vigorous world economy.
  • The increased interdependence among countries that accompanies economic development can benefit all countries.
  • This interdependence means that meeting the needs of people today without jeopardizing our ability to meet the needs of future generations is an issue that affects all people in all countries.

Goals and Objectives

The learning modules have two main goals:

  • to increase students' knowledge and understanding of the often complex relationship between sustainable development and the social, economic, and environmental conditions in a country;
  • to strengthen students' ability to perform statistical calculations, to make and interpret maps, charts, and tables,; to analyze and synthesize information to make inferences and generalizations; and to think critically when analyzing information, making decisions, and solving problems.

As a result of using these learning modules, students should be able to:

  • recognize basic areas of social, economic, and environmental concern that affect people in all countries;
  • compare and contrast social, economic, and environmental conditions in developing and industrial countries;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between population growth rate, GNP per capita, and access to clean water;
  • make inferences from statistics about living conditions, levels of economic development, and issues of sustainable development;
  • express opinions about sustainable development and use statistics to support them.

Teaching the Learning Modules

This Teaching Guide has teaching units to accompany each learning module. These teaching units contain a full range of questions, activities, and exercises. You can get answers by clicking on the Answers icon.

Begin teaching each indicator by discussing the definition of the indicator, then continue with the map, text, charts and graphs, data table, case studies, and photos.

Activities included here are not organized by increasing complexity.

The blank comparative data table is designed so that, in most cases, space is available for students to add more data if you wish to have them do so.

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