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    Copyright Oxfam GB. You may reproduce this document for educational purposes only. Pa e 1

    Guidance notes Inequality in Brazil


    In 2014 Brazil hosts the World Cup. Historically Brazil has had some of the highest inequality figures

    in the world. However over recent years it has experienced significant improvements. This flexible

    resource deepens pupils geographical understanding of inequality in Brazil and examines how

    Brazil is challenging inequality in the 21stCentury. The activities may be taught sequentially over a

    period of approximately 2 hours or as smaller bitesize activities. Opportunities for curriculum making

    Key Questions

    Which areas of Brazil are poorer than others?

    Why are these areas poorer than others?

    Why is Brazil so unequal?

    How can Brazils inequality be challenged?

    KeywordsInequality Poverty

    Age range: 8-14 years Time: Up to 2 hours

    Learning Objectives

    To explain how Brazils geography and

    history account for its high level of inequality.

    To assess how Brazil is attempting to

    overcome inequality and poverty and the

    degree to which this is successful.

    Learning Outcomes

    Pupils use statistics and written information

    to evaluate the level of poverty in a sample

    of Brazilian states.

    Pupils make inferences from photographic


    Pupils draw conclusions about the main

    causes of Brazils inequalities and how they

    can best be overcome.

    Pupils assess the outcomes of Brazils

    attempts to overcome poverty and inequality.

    Key curricular links

    EnglandGeography: Human geography (international

    development, economic activity, use of natural



    Geography: Understanding places, environments

    and processes, Communicating.


    Curriculum for Excellence: Social Studies

    (People, Place and Environment).


    How much do you know about Brazil?

    Welcome to Brazil (4 states)

    Welcome to Sao Paulo

    Why is Brazil so unequal?

    Land grab!

    Better or worse?

    There are PowerPoint slides to accompany theHow much do you know about Brazil?, Welcome

    to Braziland Welcome to Sao Pauloactivities.

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    Copyright Oxfam GB. You may reproduce this document for educational purposes only. Pa e 2

    This resource contains 6 activities about inequality in Brazil. They are designed to be worked through insequence or each activity can stand alone as a bitesized piece of learning about Brazil.

    These notes provide guidance for teaching each activity and links to the source data to inspire curriculummaking.

    Activity 1 How much do you know about Brazil already? (10 minutes)

    This activity is designed as a quick way for pupils to demonstrate what they already know (or dont

    know) about Brazil. It will introduce the activities that follow or could stand alone with some follow up

    atlas work.

    Ask pupils to label anything they know about Brazil already on the blank map. If there is more time, they

    could draw or shade in the features or places they have heard of. This could be framed by asking what

    is Brazil famous for and where would you find it or you could ask specifically about cities, rivers and

    other geographical features.

    Afterwards, discuss responses, show an accurate atlas map of geographical features and challenge

    any stereotypes (e.g. there are many great beaches in Brazil but the entire coastline isnt a beach!).

    Pupils could also draft questions theyd like to ask about Brazil.

    Activity 2 Welcome to Brazil (25 minutes)

    This activity explores the geography of inequality between four Brazilian states; Piaui, Minas Gerais,

    Santa Catarina and Amazonas. These states were selected to be broadly representative of the

    geographical diversity within Brazil.

    Pupils should work in groups and each group should be given a resource sheet for one of the four

    states. The sheets contain:

    a map showing the location of the state

    a photograph representing the geography of the state

    development statistics for the state

    similar development statistics for Brazil as a wholethese permit comparison

    a brief written summary of the states climate, history and main economic activities.

    Pupils should work in groups to produce a brief presentation about their state. They should include:five key facts about their state

    the main features that make their state a good (or middling or bad) place to live and why

    whether they would recommend the other groups to open a business in their state and why.

    The teacher should ask follow up questions to tease out the level of inequality between the states (e.g.

    What is infant mortality in xxx? How does this compare with Brazil as a whole and the other states?

    What effect does this have on peoples lives and what do you think it tells us about xxx?)

    The discussion should conclude by stressing the large inequalities between Brazils states. Where a

    person lives in Brazil can greatly influence their quality of life.

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    Copyright Oxfam GB. You may reproduce this document for educational purposes only. Pa e 3

    Activity 3 Welcome to Sao Paulo (15 minutes)

    Inequality in Brazil occurs withinas well as between states. For example there are wealthy people in

    Piaui and poor people in Santa Catarina. This activity begins to explore inequality within one of Brazils

    richest states, Sao Paulo.

    The Google Map photograph shows part of the Paraisopolis favela, located within the wealthy Morumbi

    area of southern Sao Paulo. Searching for Paraisopolis Sao Paulo on Google Maps will permit

    teachers to obtain different perspectives of the favela and its surroundings at different scales. There is

    also a well known photograph by Tuca Vieira at a BBC article from 2001 at

    The activity asks pupils to make some conclusions about the level of inequality between the inhabitants

    of Paraisopolis and the residents of the neighbouring apartment buildings and compare them with the

    overall statistics for Sao Paulo state. The purpose of the activity is to reinforce the idea that, although

    averages are useful, they have limitations when it comes to telling us about the lives of individuals.There are similar stark inequalities within other Brazilian states.

    Activity 4 Why is Brazil so unequal? (25 minutes)

    Brazils high level of inequality is deeply ingrained in the long history of its development. For many

    centuries Brazils history was characterised by a series of commodity booms. These affected different

    parts of the country and different commodities at different times. They led to the growth of deep

    inequalities between those who controlled resources and their workers (including millions of slaves up

    until 1888) and caused significant environmental damage.

    The commodity boom trend continues to this day with the discovery of large deposits of oil off the

    coast of Rio de Janeiro state. It remains to be seen whether the 21 stcentury oil industry, occurring in

    the democratic era, will break Brazils historical trend of economic activity being associated with severe

    inequality and environmental damage.

    To start this activity, ask pupils what they already know about Brazils history. Knowledge may not be

    extensive (an interesting point in itself) but issues such as colonialism and slavery may be common

    knowledge and are important.

    Pupils should then work in groups to ask each other Why is Brazil so unequal? They should answer

    this question by constructing a why-why-why chain.For details of how to construct a why-why-why

    chain see Getting started with Global Citizenship: A Guide for New Teachers (Oxfam 2008) p.8. The

    guide can be downloaded at

    Begin by asking Why is Brazil so unequal? and, if possible, construct the first responses from their

    own knowledge. Then hand out the eight information cards to each group. These will both provide

    answers and also prompt new questions and connections between them.

    After pupils have had sufficient time to consider the question, ask each group to present and explain

    their why-why-why chain to the class. A scribe could be asked to list the main reasons for Brazils

    inequality as a summary of the activity.
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    A follow up question could ask what are the challenges and potential for Brazils current democratic

    government to overturn inequality.

    Activity 5 Land grab! (25 minutes)

    Brazil is now a democratic country with a left-leaning government committed to overcoming poverty.However, despite significant progress, old patterns of exploitation and dispossession persist. A 21 st

    century sugar boom in Pernambuco and neighbouring states is resulting in communitie