Lesson: Rewrite the Script of Imperialism: International Aide, Percent Change

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Lesson Objective

Students will use percent increase and decrease to compare colonizing and colonized countries’ economies

Lesson Plan

Objective: Students will use percent increase and decrease to compare colonizing and colonized countries’ economies




-       Student white board

-       Computer

-       Internet Connection

-       Calculators

-       Graph Paper


Anticipatory Set:

Write warm-up practice problems on the board and ask students to solve on white boards:


35/100      0.85      0.865      (If students struggle with these, have them warm up with some guidance on this http://www.mathgoodies.com/worksheets/pdf/unit4_wks1.pdf)



From 24 to 96               From 24 to 12  (If students struggle with these, have them warm up with some guidance on this http://www.kutasoftware.com/FreeWorksheets/Alg1Worksheets/Percent Change.pdf)


Ask students what “percent” means. See if you can get a connection between “cent” and “hundred”, and “per” and “each” or the concept of multiplication.  Point out that there are one hundred cents in a dollar, and that “one per person” would mean 1 times however many people were included.  So, a percent is a value multiplied by one hundred. Percent increase is an increase, divided by the original amount, multiplied by one hundred. When you are finding this, you are finding the percentage of the original amount.



            In this case, we will find economic data on two countries that are related through imperialism. We will use one country’s numbers as our “starting amount”, and then calculate what percent greater or smaller the other country’s numbers are.  Here are the steps we need to follow.

  1. Choose a country that engaged in imperialsm.
  2. Choose a country that was taken over by the first country.
  3. Find the GDP, Unemployment Rate, Imports, Exports and Distribution of Family Income for each country using the CIA World Factbook. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
  4. Calculate the percent difference between the countries in each categories.
  5. Write our conclusions.


Guided Practice:

            Let’s do an example together.  I looked up the United Kingdom in the CIA World Factbook and found these figures:

 GDP (per capita)  $35,100

Unemployment Rate 7.9%

Imports $546.5 billion

Exports $405.6 billion

Distribution of Family Income 34


Then, I looked up the United Kingdom’s former colony Uganda and found this:

GDP (per capita) $1,200

Unemployment Rate NA%  (since there is no value, I can not compare these)

Imports $4.474 billion

Exports $2.941 billion

Distribution of Family Income 45.7


So, let’s start with GDP. If I use the UK’s GDP as my starting amount, what percentage more or less is Uganda’s GDP?

1,200 – 35,100            =   -33,900    = -0.965  x 100    = -96.5%     So Uganda’s GDP is almost 100% less

       35,100                                 35,100                                                               than the UK’s.


Complete the comparison with students working on white boards with calculators. Circulate and check their process.  Remind them that the difference between the amounts, divided by the starting amount, times one hundred is the percent difference.


Discuss the conclusions that can be drawn from this data. What would someone who believes in international aide and the IMF say about this? What would someone who thinks international aide is harmful say about this?



Independent Practice:

Students should….

Select a region they will investigate further: the Middle East, Southeast Asia, India, or Hawaii and the Pacific. They should select a country and its colonizer to research and look them up on the CIA World Factbook. On graph paper, they should calculate a comparison and write out how the countries compare.



  • · Read Heart of Darkness pp.110-132
  • · Project Vocabulary Flyswatter Game



Circulate and discuss comparison conclusion with students, asking what conclusion they draw about international economics. 


Lesson Resources

CIA World Factbook


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