Welcome to Commodities, countries and choices

This unit is an integrated Society and Environment and English program of work dealing with commodities and trade. The program covers outcomes for resources and investigation in S & E, as well as reading and writing over a two-week period.

The program consists of seven sections related to commodities, countries and choices. The overall aim is to encourage informed decisions when facing choices we make as consumers. The content of each section is outlined as follows:

Where does it come from? introduces students to the basic concepts of globalisation and consumerism from a personal perspective.

Early traders gives a brief overview of the history of trade development between different cultural groups. There is a focus on Marco Polo’s trip, suggesting that the trade that was carried out on the Silk Road can be seen as the beginning of globalisation.

Animal, vegetable or mineral? classifies commodities according to their origin. The focus is on Australia and its natural resources. Opportunity is also given to investigate the product cycle — the process of basic commodity to end product.

Globalisation aims to give a basic understanding of globalisation as a complex part of our everyday living. Because it affects everyone, students are encouraged to look at the advantages and disadvantages of a situation before forming an opinion.

Trading partners covers Australia’s many different trading links. Organisations like APEC and ASEAN are investigated, as are the different types of goods and services that are traded between different countries.

What do you think? The first part of this section is a guide to writing paragraphs. The second part deals with the forest as a commodity, considering the use of forests from an industry point of view and an environmentalist’s point of view.

Balancing act looks at issues involved in using aspects of Australia’s natural heritage as commodities. By researching both sides of an argument, students are guided into writing an exposition to present a balanced viewpoint.

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