Teaching Social Deprivation and Poverty in UK cities

I have recently taught a lesson on social deprivation and poverty in UK cities and this post outlines the key activities in the lesson and provides the resources used. This lesson was designed to fit the IGCSE specification, but could also be used in other contexts. The purpose of this lesson was to introduce pupils to social deprivation and poverty in HIC (high income countries) cites, and while a range of examples are used, the focus is on London. The powerpoint for this lesson is available here:

The lesson takes places as follows:

  • Starer: Pupils to write down the first 10 words they can think of which relate to social deprivation and poverty in HICs. Going around the class to find their answers can be quite revealing about their initial perceptions about social deprivation and poverty.
  • Activity 1 is based on a map produced by the UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis which is entitled Living on the Line. The map displays child poverty and life expectancy on a tube map of London – tube stops show the life expectancy number for that area, and the grey tones (which usually indicate tube zones) indicate level of child poverty. Pupils are given a map of London where life expectancy and poverty is displayed. I have removed the life expectancy numbers for the central line (red line) and pupils are to fill in the missing life expectancy for tube stops and to describe the patterns of poverty and life expectancy along the Central Line (they are provided at the bottom of the worksheet). Pupils can then begin to think about the factors that are causing these patterns. The worksheet is available below:
  • This can be followed by a class discussion to identify what patterns they observed and what factors they felt were causing these patterns.
  • Activity 2 is an investigation of social poverty and deprivation in London, but a little more in-depth.Pupils are given a range of materials  from the London Poverty Profile report related to different elements of social deprivation and poverty in London. These can be used to identify where some of the most deprived areas are located and symptoms associated with them. Images can also be used to describe some of the conditions experienced. There is a worksheet for students to write down their ideas based on the information they have been presented with. Those who finish early can begin to think about how to categorise these  symptoms into social, economic and environmental groups. The worksheet, maps and images are available below.

It’s ok if students don’t work through all the material. Ideally different pupils will use different pieces of data and the ideas generated from this can be shared in the discussion that can follow this exercise.

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