Session 2: Measuring Development [AMENDED APRIL 2022]

Geography (Ages 11-14)
Session 2: Measuring Development [AMENDED APRIL 2022]
  • Different Backgrounds, Common Ground
  • Introduction to the development issues that Odisha faces
Key Messages
  • Geography has different "branches" that are interlinked.
  • There are various ways of measuring a region's development.
  • There are difficulties associated with measuring development.
  • Different regions have similarities and differences, which dictate how we meet needs.
  • Reflect on the discipline of Geography
  • Understand ways in which a country’s development can be measured
  • Appreciate that with development comes change
  • Make links between Odisha and our region
  • Categorise geographical features into physical and human
  • Identify key development factors
  • Compare regions
Links to National Curriculum
  • Analyse and interpret a range of sources of geographical information
  • Communicate geographical information in a variety of ways


The Starter is a chance to reflect on the nature of the discipline of Geography. Students are introduced to the concept of the two different yet interacting branches of Geography; physical and human. If your group is already familiar with these concepts, you might wish to use the starter to recap, or you might skip to Activity 1.

  • Project MV Geography 2.1 Geography Categories & Measuring Development, Slide 2. Ask the students to describe their location. Make reference to the homework, which students can have in front of them. Scribe for the group on the board, eliciting if necessary. Students to describe their location, for example, "in a school building", "in a village / town / city", "close to a busy / quiet street", "on a gentle slope", "close to a river / forest / mountain", and so on.
  • Slide 3 Follow the instructions, and scribe for the class as they brainstorm possible categories. "Geography is split into two main “branches”, or types. Look at the list of the features of your location. Can you divide them into two categories? What are the categories? Next to each item on your list, write its category." With guidance if necessary, elicit the two categories of Physical and Human Geography.
  • Slide 4 has definitions of Physical and Human Geography. Depending on the level of your group, also look at the question on the slide, "What is Geography?" An important point to bring out is that there is interaction between the physical and human aspects of a place, and that development means that there are changes over time. The source of the definitions is quoted at the bottom of the slide (School Learning Zone,

Activity 1

  • Slide 5 asks students to categorise the maps from MV Geography resource 1.2 Odisha maps into physical or human. Go through the maps and for each one, have a vote, by show of hands, on whether it is of a physical or human geographical aspect.
  • Slide 6 asks students to categorise the comparisons they made for the Session 1 homework task.

Activity 2

  • Slide 7 asks students to "brainstorm different categories that we can use to measure development". You could do this as a think-pair-share, and scribe suggestions on the board.
  • Slide 8 Follow the link to the United Nations Development Programme Data web page ( and click on the drop-down menu of indicators. Try not to scroll down to the Human Development Index Ranking table below yet! Compare them with the list of categories from Slide 7. What can be inferred? (There is a wide range of indicators, most of which are difficult to measure accurately.)
  • Slide 9 asks students to "brainstorm some reasons why it is difficult to measure and compare geographical regions". (For many indicators, there is no standardised way of measuring them across the regions. How do we know how accurate the statistics are? On the website they are measuring national indicators, but what if we want to know about different kinds of regions?)

Activity 3

  • Slide 10 explains that the United Nations Development Programme produces Human Development Reports, comparing countries by using a range of ways of measuring. Each nation has a number between 0 and 1. Before scrolling down to the HDI Ranking table of nations, ask students to predict which three countries are at the top of the table (the most developed countries)? Where does your country rank? Where does India rank? Now scroll down and answer those questions. Are there any surprises?
  • Explore the HDI table according to students' interests.


  • Slide 11 gives the homework brief. Students use the Human Development Index Ranking table on the United Nations Development Programme website to compare their country with India, and for differentiation, higher ability students could choose one other country to compare them with. You can also differentiate by the format of the comparison (written report, video report, graphs, comparison tables, etc.), and the amount you expect them to complete.