Transformative Applications in Education/Gapminder

Overview edit

When taking a look at two dimension graphs and even three dimensional graphs, one cannot experience the power that a Gapminder Motion Chart can show you. Imagine taking 200 two dimensional graphs of Income per person vs. Life Expectancy at birth, one for each year from 1800 to 2000, and putting them in a flip book. What would you see? After making sure to flip each page correctly, you would see only one aspect of the Gapminder Motion Chart. Hans Rosling took a Trendalyzer program to a new level by creating these motion charts where real information is put into a graph including many different aspects which will give any student the ability to make many connections throughout the learning that is going on in the classroom. There are many aspects and variables that the students can explore which will relate to multiple lessons on social change in showing how daily life can affect, or be affected by, humans.

Background of creation edit


Hans Rosling: Physician by day, Illustrator by night. In 2005, a talented professor of global health at Sweden's Karolinska Institute[1] decided to continue the development of the Trendalyzer software. This software takes statistical numbers and creates a way to show the information so that every learner can understand and utilize it. When listening to Hans Rosling, [2] you will be blown away by the ability that he has to show development and understanding. Hans, with help of his son and daughter-in-law, Ola and Anna, finished the creation of Gapminder in February of '05 [3]. Gapminder was bought by Google in 2006 and now has it's home at When looking to utilize a graph by Gapminder, one should go to Gapminder World to choose the parameters and run the application.

Description of Application edit

The number of variables that can be discussed throughout this software are truly endless. Not only does this program hold capabilities of showing more than two variables on a graph, the axes are equipped with multiple variables that any teacher can choose to help show the differences between multiple situations. Teachers and students are able to stop the play by play action to discuss reasons for the outcomes and differences along with highlighting on countries that could be of a certain importance for the lesson or task at hand. Along with just highlighting and discussing a country’s effect, one can also view how a countries’ population, a possible third variable that is included free of the two that would be found on the axes, can make an impact on the results that are viewed by “playing” with these motion charts.

Variables edit

Just to name a few, but in order to gain appreciation for the work that has been put into this software, here are some of the variables that one, meaning teacher or student, explorer or experienced statistician, can choose to evaluate the effect on the worldly conditions on:


• Income per person • Infant mortality rate • Children per woman • Life expectancy at birth • CO2 emissions • Sugar consumption per person • Female labor force • Military expenditure • Total income • Primary school completion (of girls &/or boys) • Ratio of girls to boys in Primary and Secondary Ed • Literacy rate (adult vs. child) or (girls/boys/ total) • Population • Children and elderly (per adults) • Surface area • Paved roads • Urban population • Maternal Mortality rate • Health issues (Included are many) • Electricity Or Oil consumption • Cell phone use • Internet users • Poverty • Export/Import of goods and services

Transformative Potential edit

Gapminder has many reasons why it has transformative potential. Not only is Gapminder, extremely affordable, it's free, but it's also very easy to learn and use. Many teachers and students will be able to use and learn from the program as it can relate to any age group depending on the level of in-depth they allow their thinking, including critical, can be. With this program, you can also utilize the potential to review and discuss material that was covered in class. Almost anyone can access the program, as long as the internet version runs appropriately. The videos are also a very easy way to learn more about the program by watching Hans Rosling demonstrate his program. [4] The downloads section is another way to utilize the program if the internet version is not running correctly on the computers- simply download the item you are interested in and download flash and you should still be able to use the same concept of Motion Charts in a lesson. [5]

Sample Activities/ Connections edit

A teacher or student can use Gapminder to explain:

[Math] edit

Graphs edit

Students can interpret and predict worldly events by viewing the graphs that have been created based on past known information. The great thing about this program is that students can choose their own parameters and can choose their own ways of thinking about the outcome. There are many different ways to explain the graphs and many different variables to comment on. The student can choose their path and the amount of variables they want to discuss. This therefore, is a great way to show differentiation due to the student's ability to choose how complex their interpretations are going to be.

Relationships edit

In a similar way as using graphs, students can use this program to explain relationships in sets of data shown on the Motion Charts.

[Science] edit

Health Situations edit

Socially, in a health class sort of way, students can view the parameters of what carbon dioxide does to our health or life expectancy, along with other sorts of health issues vs. income, etc.

Affects of Change in the Environment edit

Students can view graphs on renewable resources vs. income, etc. and explain why these situations are occurring based on the fact that they can also view information on surface area, forest area, paved area, etc to show the environmental affects.

[Social Studies] edit

Population Variances edit

Students can view population trends on the graphs to show how historical events may have caused the different affects shown on the graphs by having the bubbles change.

Geographical Changes edit

Students could view the graphs in order to use their knowledge of historical events to explain the changes in paved roads, CO2 use, and forested areas.

World Phenomenon edit

This can be based upon on historical events that they learned about in Social Studies.

External Links edit

Videos edit

  1. ^ Videos of, mostly Hans Rosling, the Gapminder software in action. These are videos which run off the website, where Hans Rosling has taped many of his appearances in different countries.

Examples edit

Is Shanghai healthier than New York?

200 years of history in 4.5 minutes.

Swedish students say: “They can never live like us”

Debunking myths about the “third world”

Reducing Child Mortality

Hans Rosling uses Gapminder World to shed light on differences in the way we live around the world.

All humans emit carbon dioxide (CO2) and contribute to the climate crisis. But some humans emits much more than others.

Downloads edit

  1. ^ Downloads of Flash Presentations Teachers can download this websites in order to show the PDF or Flash Presentations in situations that there is not internet accessibilty.

Examples edit

Number of people living with HIV.

Human Development Trends, 2005

Dollar Street

Has the World Become a Better Place?

References edit

  1. ^ Hans Rosling: Global health expert; data visionary. (2007). Technology, Entertainment, Design. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from:
  2. ^ About Gapminder. (2009). Gapminder. Retrieved April 15, 2009, from: