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Activity 3

Essential Question

How does global trade influence the lives of people?


The influences of global trade on people are evident in many ways. One of the most apparent are consumer items such as toys, clothing, small appliances, and electronic equipment.

Other good examples include cellular telephones, portable CD players, and video games. These items, for the most part, are imported to the United States from other countries in the world. Most people would be surprised at the number of things we import that have become a part of our daily lives.

Instructional Strategies

Strategy 1

Conducting a Survey

  • Talk to the class about surveys and why they are conducted. Discuss the purposes of surveys and how the information can be used to make decisions, solve problems, and explore issues. Model the process of how a survey form is constructed to gather objective data.
  • Develop a survey form with the class to collect data about the imports that have been purchased for home use.
  • Talk about how to use the form. Talk about where they will find information about where products were produced. For example, model how to find the label on an article of clothing. Explain to students that labels on an article of clothing or other products may show where it was assembled, even though the product may have parts from many different countries. Tell the students to focus on clothing, electronics, and packaged foods.

Strategy 2

Collecting and Organizing the Data

Divide the class into groups of three. Each group will represent a survey team. Each member of the survey team will identify ten clothing items, ten electronic items, and 10 packaged items. The team will use the Survey Data Sheet to report their findings, highlighting the country of origin.

Printable Student View

Survey Data Sheet (Example)

Electronics Country of Origin Clothing Country of Origin Food Item Country of Origin
1. DVD South Korea Winter Jacket Guatemala Seedless Grapes Chile
2. Milk United States

Strategy 3

Processing the Data

Talk to the students about how we want to use the data.

  • We want to determine the number of items in our homes that result from trade.
  • We want to assess how imports influence the lives of people.

Instruct each group to combine their data. Use the combined data to make a bar graph showing the number of items observed along the vertical axis and the names of the exporting countries on the horizontal axis. Label the bar graph with a title and label the axes. The bar graphs may be displayed in the classroom.

Provide time for each group to present their information to the rest of the class. Be sure each group addresses the following questions:

  • What two countries had the most exports?
  • What two types of imports were most frequently imported to the United States?

Follow-up Activity: When the reports are completed, discuss with the class that the survey results from each group convey just one small part about trade.

Ask: How can we show the results of each group on just one graph. Guide the discussion to suggest using a computer to set up a spreadsheet so that all of the groups can enter their data. Use the computer to graph the information. Use the graph to discuss the following questions:

    • How has technology impacted how and where we get imported products?
    • Why do we trade with other countries?
    • How does global trade influence our lives?

Strategy 4

Using Maps and Globes

Distribute a world outline map to each group. World outline maps may be printed from the following website: ASU maps

Use the information from the graph or spreadsheet to develop the following map key.

  • Countries that export one to three products to the United States
  • Countries that export four to six products to the United States
  • Countries that export seven to nine products to the United States
  • Countries that export ten or more products to the United States.

Have the students use a color code and shade in each country with the appropriate color. Display the maps and graphs from the survey in the classroom.

Updated January 10, 2023 5:35pm