AbstractThis introductory-level interactive class exercise is designed to introduce key concepts related to wealth and inequality. Student works in small groups to visually depict U.S. Wealth Distribution using a pie graph (splitting U.S. wealth into fifths). Then students are asked to create a similar graph for what they think an ideal distribution of wealth...
- Subject Area(s):
- Introduction to Sociology/Social Problems
- Resource Type(s):
- Class Activity
- Class Level(s):
- College 100
- Class Size(s):
Usage NotesStudents typically have a lot of fun with this exercise. I’ve had some groups really get into deep philosophical discussions about the nature of inequality and what is ‘fair.’ I spend, on average, 45 minutes on this exercise (25 min for creating the diagrams and 20 min for discussion). This exercise works best if the instructor moves around the room and...
Learning Goals and Assessments
- Learning Goal 1: Students will examine the role that ideology plays in the popular understanding of inequality.
- Learning Goal 2: Students will apply key concepts related to class, wealth, social mobility, and inequality to better understand wealth inequality.
- Learning Goal 3: Students will explore potential solutions and barriers to social change.
- Goal Assessment 1: Students are asked to explain the discrepancy between their perception of wealth inequality and the reality. A follow-up written assignment can assess retention. Sample question: 1) How would Marx explain this discrepancy?
- Goal Assessment 2: Students are asked direct questions about concepts. Objective exam questions assess retention. Sample questions: 1)What is the difference between wealth and income? 2) What role does wealth play in intergenerational social mobility?
- Goal Assessment 3: As part of the post exercise discussion students are asked the following questions: 1) If people generally think that extreme wealth inequality is less than ideal then why doesn’t it change?