In this challenge, students learn of the role of public services in four profiled communities in India, Tunisia, Peru and Ukraine by determining the biggest contribution made by a particular service in each community. In preparation for this activity, assemble images (print, video and online) and textual material on a selected public service in each community (e.g., a school in Tunisia, a hospital in Ukraine, rail transportation serving an Indian community, communications in Peru). A search of Google™ Image Search using the country and the topic (e.g., "India health care" or "Ukraine transportation") will generally produce a generous supply of photographs, although searching by specific community within these countries produces limited results.
Introduce the activity by inviting students to think of the benefits of a service (e.g., television) in their own community. To assist students in imagining this, ask students to consider the implications if that service was not available. Suggest categories of effects to consider (e.g., health and safety, jobs and products, enjoyment and opportunity). For example, without television, what health or safety benefits would no longer to readily available and how would this affect the community (e.g., television offers programs on healthy diets and proper exercise, television informs people about disasters or dangerous storms)? Help students to appreciate the ways in which this service touches on various dimensions of their lives.
Explain to students that they are to work in groups to examine the contributions of a public service in each of the four profiled communities. (You may prefer to examine at least one of the services with the whole class.) Remind students of the categories or dimensions to consider (e.g., health and safety, jobs and products, enjoyment and opportunity). Invite students to look for evidence of the benefits of their assigned public service for the community. Provide students with the assembled images, text, video and bookmarked Internet sites on the assigned service. You may want to adapt the chart and strategies for Collecting Information (Support Material) to structure and assess students' findings.
When students have compiled a list of the benefits provided by their public service, invite them to consider which is the greatest contribution to the community. Suggest three criteria for students to consider:
- the frequency of the contributions (e.g., Are they daily, weekly, once in a while occurrences?)
- the importance of the contributions (e.g., Are they small, medium, big differences?)
- the number of people who benefit (Does this benefit a few, many or almost everyone in the community?).
You may want to use the strategies and chart for Considering Options (Support Material) and Selecting the Best Thing (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity. Invite each group to share its conclusions with the class.