Democracy Around the World

AP Government and Politics

In a Pew survey of 38 countries* (see list below), of the following ways of governing a country, which is the most popular: Representative Democracy, Direct Democracy, Rule by Experts, Rule by a Strong Leader, Rule by the Military?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is most surprising in this data?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is one political consequence of this data?

  6. Is this good news?

  7. If we had the data from 1937 (80 years ago, and on the eve of WWII) how do you imagine that data would compare to today's?

  8. How different do you think this data is going to be in 10 years?

  9. What percent of statistics are made up on the spot?

  10. Which of those five types of government would you say is more like the current government of the United States?

  11. Imagine the earth was under attack by Martians (I know they don't exist, bear with me). Explain whether you think that would make earth-people more or less democratic.

  12. American Democrats and Republicans don't always see eye to eye. However, if the typical American Democrat and the typical American Republican took this survey, how much do you believe their answers would differ?

  13. Explain the circumstance in which you believe that democracy is not the best form of government:

  14. Since the rule of POTUS Trump, would you say the US has become more or less democratic (with a small d)?

  15. This data is taken from citizens from different countries, of which some are democratic (Japan), somewhat democratic (Turkey) and non-democratic (Russia). How would the data differ if you only surveyed citizens of democratic countries?**

  16. How would the data differ if you only surveyed citizens of non-democratic countries?**

  17. How would the data differ if you only surveyed American citizens?

  18. How do you think education level impacts the survey data?**

  19. How do you imagine political ideology (left v right) impacts the survey data?**

  20. Explain whether you think that most people living in a non-democratic country are yearning to be free (in other words, do they secretly want to live in a democratic country)?

  21. Are you having a nice day?

  22. If you were in charge, would you allow every single person in the world who wanted to live in a democratic country to move to America?

  23. Imagine a democratic country elected non-experts (I know, it's hard to imagine!!!!) who ran their government very poorly, and then let's imagine a second country that was undemocratic, but ruled by experts who ran a very efficient and good government. Explain which of the two countries you would prefer to live in:

  24. Rank the 38 countries* from the chart below from most to least democratic. Which three would be at the top of the list (most democratic), which three would be at the bottom of the list, and where exactly would the U.S. under our current POTUS rank?

  25. You know, you should thank your teacher for giving you this cool class starter right now. They could be giving you a quiz or a test or a 5 paragraph essay or something like that but instead they are giving you this awesome information. So hey, why don't ya show them some love!

Learning Extension

Read the entire Pew report on the state of democracy.

Action Extension

Think about one thing you could do to make your country more democratic and one thing you could do to make your country less democratic. Share your answer in class or online. And don't forget to thank your teacher!

The 38 Countries*

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Bonus Charts!!!!**

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Changes in Democracy

US Government and Politics

How has the percent of the world living in a democracy changed over the past 200 years?

Max Roser - Our World In Data

US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprises you about this chart?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells about democracy in the world?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is the most important consequence of this?

  6. Overall, is this good news or bad news?

  7. What the heck is a closed anocracy, and is that the direction the U.S. is headed in under Trump?

  8. What question do you have about this chart?

  9. With the Trump victory and the rise of authoritarian political party power in Europe what do you think the future of democracy looks like over the next 4 or 5 years?

  10. Based on the overall trends of this chart, what would you say to people who are all in a tizzy with worry about the rise of Trump and authoritarian governments around the world?

  11. If the % of people living in democracies has increased, what types of government have most decreased?

  12. If you had to extrapolate and predict where we would be in the next 200 years what prediction would you make?


Learning Extension

Check out this list of the world's closed anocracies


Action Extension

Keep the U.S. a democracy! Go online and Register to vote. If you are not old enough to vote, or already are registered, share this link with your friends on social media.

Bonus Chart

Happy?

What is the happiest country in the world?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is the takeaway message of this chart?

  3. What surprised you about this chart?

  4. How different do you think this chart will be in 100 years?

  5. Do you think that these kinds of rankings matter?

  6. Of all the things that could be ranked, what would you want your country to be best at?

  7. Are there any patterns in the sorts of countries that ranked among the happiest?

  8. Are there any kinds of countries that are absent from the top of the rankings?

  9. How did your country do on this chart and why do you think that is?

  10. The US came in as the 15th happiest country. In the comments section below, speculate on why we ranked 15th.


Action Extension

Interview 10 people and ask them to speculate on how the US ranks in the World Happiness Report. Show them the actual rankings and ask them to share their reaction with you and on social media.


Learning Extension

Read more about the 2015 World Happiness Report


By the way, the least "happy" — countries include Togo, Burundi, Syria, Benin and Rwanda.

World's Biggest Companies

What is the world's biggest company by market cap (total financial value)?

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  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What surprised you about this list?

  3. Which of the top 5 companies do you use/visit?

  4. Which of the top 5 companies have you never heard of?

  5. What questions do you have?

  6. How many of the top 5 companies are American (hint: look at the names)?

  7. Would it be more accurate to describe this chart as business globalization or business Americanization?

  8. What kind of businesses are the most powerful companies (manufacturing, tech, financial, energy)?

  9. If you wanted to advise someone how to get rich. What would you tell them to sell?

  10. The Market cap (financial value) of Facebook is greater than the GDP (financial value) of Finland. Share your thoughts about the relative power of corporations in the comments section below:

Learning Extension

Learn more about the world's most valuable businesses in this PWC report.

Action Extension

Ask ten people to name the world's ten biggest companies and share the results in class or on social media.

Bonus Visual from 2012*

As of 2012

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The World's Population

What will the world's population be in 2050?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprised are you by this information?

  3. What is one big trend you see in this data?

  4. What is one cause of this trend?

  5. What is one consequence of the trend?

  6. How will this affect the US and its power in the world?

  7. Will this trend affect you personally? (for instance, how might it affect where you might live, work, travel, or marry?)

  8. What is one question you have about this?

  9. By 2050, Africa will have the same population as the Europe, Oceania, North America, Latin America & The Caribbean combined. How do you imagine that will change the power dynamic of the entire world?

  10. In the COMMENTS section describe what you think the world will be like in 2050:


Learning Extension

Read this U.N. report on world population projections for 2050.


Action Extension

Contact the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and find out what what they are doing about the global population expansion.


Bonus Chart

Rockin' In The Free World?

¿How free is the world?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about the map and tables?

  3. What is the big story that this map tells?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. How do you think Freedom House defines and measures “Freedom”?

  6. What geographical patterns or trends do you find in the map?

  7. What is the most free region of the world?

  8. What is the least free region of the world?

  9. What do you think is the main explanation for why some parts of the world are free and others aren't?

  10. Explain whether this is all generally good news or bad news?

  11. In the comments section share whether you think the U.S. should take a role in making the world more free:


Learning Extension

Read the entire Freedom House Report: Freedom In The World 2016


Action Extension

Contact President Obama and explain the role you believe the U.S. should take in making the world more free.

Bonus Map Just For Fun

Regions with 1 Billion Inhabitants

¿What is the world's current POPULATION (within one billion)?

Map of the world divided into seven regions of a BILLION people each.

 

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What SURPRISES you most about this map?

  3. Which is the BIGGEST & which is the smallest region by area?

  4. What question do you have about this map?

  5. Does population = power?

  6. How do you imagine this map is going to CHANGE over the next 20 years?

  7. In 1804 the earth passed the MILESTONE of 1 billion people. In other words, this entire map, for the year 1800, would have been one color. How many colors do you think we'll have by 2100?

  8. By 2040 it's predicted that this map will have 10 colors (meaning 10 billion people). Why do you think the world's population is increasing so much?

  9. And what do you think is one consequence of that increase?

  10. In the comments section explain why this map make you feel FUZZY (happy) or PRICKLY (anxious):


Learning & Action Extension

Read the U.S. State Department's official policy on global population and contact Secretary of State John Kerry to explain your opinion of this policy:


Learning Extension Extension

Check out the three UN predictions for the population in 2100 in the chart below.

How old will you be in 2100?


No Vacation Nation

AP US Government and Politics

How many paid holidays and vacation days does the U.S. government mandate by law?

CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What was most surprising about this information?

  3. What is the big story this chart tells?

  4. Why do you think the US has such a low level of vacation time compared to all other wealthy nations?

  5. What is one consequence of not having any mandated paid vacation time?

  6. Overall, is this good or bad news?

  7. What about U.S. history or the U.S. political system help explain why we are so different in terms of time off from the rest of the wealthy world?

  8. If workers get paid time off, who pays for it?

  9. Do you consider countries like Norway, Germany, or Sweden, all which get over 25 paid days off a year, to be lazy or economically weak countries?

  10. What questions do you have about this chart and information?

  11. Describe the different ways liberals and  conservatives might react to this chart:

  12. In the comments section, Based on paid vacation time, explain which country from this list would you most like to live in:


Learning Extension

You can read the entire report on our non-vacation nation from the Center for Economic and Policy Research


Action Extension

Contact your congressional representative and let them know what you think about the fact that the U.S. is the only economically advanced nation that gets 0 paid vacation time.


Bonus Chart For Absolutely No Good Reason

AP US Government and Politics

Global Life Expectancy

How much has global life expectancy changed over the past 300 years?

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What is most surprising about this information?

  3. What is the big picture this chart tells?

  4. What are three causes of the change in life expectancy?

  5. What are two consequences of the change in life expectancy?

  6. Is this all good news?

  7. On average, how long did your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great (you get the drift-I'm taking you back to 1322) grandparents live?

  8. How different do you think this chart will look in 100 more years? in 1000?

  9. Are we at the end of mortality - in other words, could life expectancy continue to increase so much that we no longer have to worry about death?

  10. If we could defeat death, would that be a good thing?

  11. Imagine you were the president of the United States of America. In the comments section, list the one policy you could implement that would do the most to increase life expectancy across the globe.


Learning Extension

Read this National Geographic article about Blue Zones (areas of the world where people live very long and healthy lives) and steps you can take to increase your own life expectancy.


Action Extension

Research suggests that by sitting fewer than three hours a day, you could add an extra two years to your lifespan. If you're lonely in this country, it takes about eight years off your life expectancy as compared with the most connected people. If you join a group, your chance of dying in the next year is cut in half! Use the Blue Zone Life Expectancy Calculator to find out how long you will live, then follow 3 of their recommendations to increase your life expectancy.

 

Bonus Image

Did you know that pictures of cute baby animals (is there any other kind?) make you happier and live longer? Try this one on for size?

Me llamo Horace.

Foreign Aid

AP US Government and Politics

What portion of the federal budget does the US spend on foreign aid?

WOW!

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What most surprised you about this data?

  3. What's the big story here?

  4. Why do you think the U.S. spends such a small portion of its budget on foreign aid?

  5. What is one consequence of spending such a small portion of our budget on foreign aid?

  6. Is this information good news or bad news?

  7. What exactly is foreign aid anyway, and where do you think most of this foreign aid goes?*

  8. What % of our budget do you think the average American thinks we spend on foreign aid?**

  9. Why do you think there's such a huge divide in what Americans think we spend and what we actually spend?

  10. What portion of US GDP do you think we spend on foreign aid?***

  11. If you were emperor/empress/emprex or czar/czarina/czar-x of America what percent of our budget would you spend on foreign aid?

  12. List three members of the US government who play a major role in formulating foreign aid spending and describe their role.

  13. In April, the State Department announced that it was halting all U.S. foreign aid going to the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador at the direction of President Donald Trump who said that the countries had done too little for the U.S. How much aid do those countries get?*

  14. In the comments section below, express your opinion of what portion of our budget we should spend on foreign aid: 

  15. Explain the opinion the following would probably have regarding foreign aid:

  • traditional US conservative

  • traditional US liberal

  • Anti-Federalist

  • Staunch Trump supporter

  • Staunch Bernie Sanders supporter

Learning Extension

I've put together an entire fantabulous lesson on foreign aid. Check it out and play our foreign aid party game at home!

Action Extension

Take our foreign aid quiz and then share it with your friends/fans/followers on facebook, Twitter, Myspace (kidding), Snapchat, or Instagram. After your "friends" answer what portion of the US budget they think we spend on foreign aid, share the actual amount and watch them freak out! Share your results in class or online.

Visual Extension*

Infographic: Where U.S. Foreign Aid is Going | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista
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Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothing Extension

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