Dollar Street

Resource: Dollar Street by Gapminder is a fascinating website which collects pictures of families from around the world and documents what they have and how much they earn. There are pictures of practically everything they own from shoes to pets and everything in between. It may not be the typical look at ‘raw data’ but it does allow for some interesting comparisons to take place. The site collects pictures and introductions from the families. The data is presented in a very easy to navigate way, categorising different items these families own, and you can use filters to look at different groups or geographical locations. It is an important website because it gives students the opportunity to investigate the lives of the richest and the poorest people in the world but, most importantly to recognise that most families live ‘somewhere in the middle’.


Curriculum link: This resource can be utilised throughout the curriculum in a number of different ways and units of work. In the Digital Technologies Curriculum area, the concept of data collection and presentation is a key focus. Specifically, the curriculum area of Process and Production skills has a sub-strand which focuses on collecting, managing and analysing data.


Integration: Dollar Street has clear links to the HASS curriculum, especially in the upper primary years. Students could investigate the lives of a family living in Africa and a family living in Europe to identify characteristics that are similar or different. This sort of project could be essential for students inquiry into the Economics and Business strands of year 5 and 6. Specifically: Year 5: (ACHASSK119, (ACHASSK120), (ACHASSK119), (ACHASSK121), (ACHASSK121) and year 6: (ACHASSK149), (ACHASSK149), (ACHASSK150) and (ACHASSK151). One idea that could be focused on throughout an inquiry utilising Dollar Street is the concept of scarcity. Some families need and want more, but what comes first?


In the English curriculum, students could use images and the knowledge gained from investigating Dollar Street to inform a persuasive text about what it might be like to live in the shoes of the poorest people for a day, or conversely the wealthiest. Students could engage with various digital platforms to display their task through a podcast, movie or slide presentation. Meeting the curriculum demands of the interpreting, analysing and evaluating sub-strand of the English curriculum.


Dollar street allows for the integration of the SAMR model at the modification and redefinition levels by providing an investigative platform for students to question their world view.


Criticisms/concerns: I think investigating Dollar Street for some students may be confronting. The website provides a detailed view in pictures of families who are less fortunate than they are. Although the platform is very easy to navigate, the teacher will have to build lessons and content specifically around the platform to really take advantage of the data it provides.

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