Activity Introduction

bbrw-people-photoframe-newQuick summary: Students are introduced to the OECD’s Better Life Index as an alternative measure of development and progress (besides GDP). Students are asked to analyse and reflect upon the information on the Better Life Index and to compare Australia to another countries and create an infographic to share this information. Finally students are asked to reflect on whether the Better Life Index is a more accurate measure of a country’s level of progress than GDP.

This lesson supports students to inquire into the big idea of ‘real wealth’. Students develop an understanding of shared values, and build their sustainable and ethical financial knowledge, equipping them with the skills to make sound financial decisions based on social, environmental and economical merit.

Learning goals:

  • Students are introduced to the OECD Better Life Index as an alternative to GDP as an indicator of a country’s progress.
  • Students practice evaluating a process from a range of perspectives using De Bonos Thinking Hats.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding, Literacy, Numeracy.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.4, OI.5, OI.6, OI.8..

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 10 Economics and Business

  • Indicators of economic performance and how Australia’s economy is performing (ACHEK050)
  • The links between economic performance and living standards, the variations that exist within and between economies, and the possible causes (ACHEK051)

Syllabus Outcomes: C5.2, C5.3, C5.4.

Topic: Consumption

Unit of lessons: Real Wealth Year 9 & 10 
Time required: 2 x 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Low – oversee activities and facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student OR computers/tablets to access the online worksheet, internet access for students to access a range of websites, online infographic creating software and a video, headphones for each student if viewing video in class. Better Life Index, Real Wealth Cheat Sheet, Glossary Secondary.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: Better Life Index, work-life balance, GDP, OECD. 

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum. 


Teacher Worksheet

bbrw-running-photoframe-newTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students understand that the OECD Better Life Index can be used as an alternative to GDP as an indicator of a country’s progress. Students understand how to use information from the Better Life Index and evaluate this information from a range of perspectives using De Bonos Thinking Hats.

Teacher content information: The most recognised way of measuring a country’s level of wealth and economic progress is by calculating its Gross Domestic Product or GDP. The GDP of a country represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. GDP provides an indication of the size of a nation’s economy.

In 1990 the United Nations Development Program introduced the Human Development Index (HDI). This index came about because there was a growing concern that the benefits of an expanding economy were generally distributed unevenly and that other measures like life expectancy and education needed to be considered

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: Does economic prosperity mean a better life for people?

Part 1. What is the Better Life Index?

Work in pairs to read the Better Life Index Factsheet and watch the clip below:

Better Life Initiative: Your Better Life Index (

In pairs examine the OECD’s Better Life Index site and use it to answer these questions:

What is the Better Life Index?

Why did the OECD decide to develop the Better Life Index?

Spend several minutes exploring the graph and map on the website and answer the questions below:

What do you see on the graph?

What do you see on the map?

What did you find striking about the information on the graph or map or both?

What do you think about the information presented on this site?

What questions do you have about the information on this site?

What do you find most striking or interesting about Australia?

Pick one other country and explain why this country interests you:

How does this co

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