Canada at a Glance – Assessing quality of life

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This exercise encourages students to identify and infer possible trends indicated by data. High school students will learn to locate and compare quality of life indicators. They will also improve their data analysis skills.

Contributor: Julia E.W. Hengstler, Gulf Islands Secondary School, British Columbia


Suggested grade level and subject areas

Mathematics, Business Studies and Economics, Computer Science, Social Studies


Students will



Gross domestic product (GDP) — the unduplicated value of current production of goods and services originating within the boundaries of a country.

Life expectancy — the average years of life remaining for a person at a specified age, if the current age-specific mortality rates prevail for the remainder of that person’s life.

GDP per capita — GDP divided by the population. It usually masks the extremes of poverty and wealth as it is an average measure.

Unemployment rate — number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force.

Infant mortality — the number of deaths of liveborn children under one year of age divided by the number of live births. It is usually expressed as a rate per 1,000 live births.

Quality of life indicators — a concept of standard of living that includes material and non-material well-being.

Classroom instruction

  1. Introduce the list of vocabulary terms to the class.
  2. Have students form working groups of two to three to define the meanings of the terms and then share with the class.
  3. Fill in any gaps in their definitions.
  4. Distribute the worksheets and have students complete the definition segment based on the class discussion.
  5. Have students complete the rest of the worksheet using data from Canada at a Glance.
  6. Have students share their observations with the class.


  1. Individual worksheets can be collected for marking.
  2. Marks can be awarded for participation in class.
  3. Students could e-mail definitions/comments to a discussion group.

Please e-mail comments or examples of how you used this exercise in your class.

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