Exploring New Horizons...
In the following paragraphs of
this page, you'll find material to assist you in developing those topics
with students, plus a number of sources you may want to consult, and a special
section on sharpening students' Social Studies Reading
Skills when they tackle the unit pages designed especially for their
"Kindness can change the lives of people," said Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi in the
Nobel Lecture that she was finally free to deliver in 2012. Acknowledging the Peace Prize
she had won more than two decades earlier (and had been prevented from accepting while under
house arrest), this renowned champion of democracy went on to say: "Norway has shown exemplary
kindness in providing a home for the displaced of the earth, offering sanctuary to those who
have been cut loose from the moorings of security and freedom in their native lands."
Opening a door to the displaced of the Earth is just one aspect of Norwegian policy toward the
world's needy. For decades, now, its small population (5 million in 2012) have used their
collective wisdom and wealth to help world neighbors ease suffering, develop human potential,
and build peace. In so doing, Norwegians reflect centuries of traditional values. Even in the
face of today's rapidly changing world, they remain committed to democratic institutions, to
the rule of law, and to one another's welfare. Their experience, profiled in this newly updated
unit from Learning Enrichment (LE), offers our students a rich variety of topics for research
This unit will serve courses in history, world regions, government, and
contemporary issues (9-12). Among prototypical SOLs supported by the unit
are these three, cited from: National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (NCSSS);
National Standards for History (NSH); and Geography for Life: National Geography
Standards (GL). Students using this unit should be better able to:
- "[illustrate] how
changing perceptions of places and environments affect the spatial
behavior of people" "How To Apply Geography to Interpret
the Past" (GL)
- "evaluate the extent to which
governments achieve their stated ideals and policies at home and abroad" —
"Power, Authority, and Governance" (NCSSS)
- "analyze … consequences
of the world's shift from bipolar to multipolar centers of economic,
political, and military power" "Major Global Trends
Since World War II," Era 9, Standard 3 (NSH)
Depending on students' needs, you may want to preview some or all of the
following terms from this unit: biotech, broadband, constitutional monarchy,
deforestation, export earnings, fijord, gender gap, global warming, greenhouse gases,
gross domestic product, hydroelectric, mixed economy, myth, non-renewable resource,
paid parental leave, and welfare benefits.
The student pages in this unit have been developed around a "widening-circles"
approach to the study of modern-day societies. Norway is explored first
as a nation, next as a member of a geopolitical region,
and finally as a participant in global affairs. Running through
all three pages are underlying questions: How has Norway's geography
influenced its people's lives? What does Norway offer to and seek
from the world community today? What "horizons" are left,
for Norwegians to explore? You may want to use those questions
as well as the "Ask Now..." questions at the end of each page
to evaluate students' grasp of what they read.
BACKGROUND ON STUDENT
As you introduce this unit to students, ask them to speculate on the kinds
of issues and fields of endeavor in which a society might have "explored
new horizons" in earlier times, and might do so today. Urge students
to watch for examples of such "exploration" in each of the three
Student Text Pages in this unit. Here's some additional information about
key themes and topics on these pages, plus a few suggestions for exploring
them further with your class:
Text Page No. 1: "As a Nation." Life
in contemporary Norway is introduced through the experience of a young
professional woman about to begin her maternity leave. Plus: Norway's
social welfare plan — and some of the goals behind it, the country's
flourishing mixed economy, national efforts to provide for future economic security,
and recognition for Norway's human development policies.
Trondheim. Tell students that Trondheim (mentioned in the introduction
to the "Nation" Page) was Norway's first capital, founded in
997. To learn more about the city's cultural history, they can make a
great start at the official Web
Site for Trondheim. (On the "City Info" menu, select "Historical perspective" and "Trondheim
today," for example.) And, for a different taste of Norway's historic culture, you might steer
students to the Site for the Hardanger Fiddle
Association of America, where a click on the "Background" link will produce
information about a truly unique Norwegian instrument — plus an opportunity to
hear the fiddle played!
equality. Students may ask: Does paid parental leave actually
promote gender equality? When it's part of a nation's full-court press
to achieve such equality, the answer seems to be Yes! In 2007, Kjell
Erik Øie, then State Secretary in Norway's Ministry for Children and Equality,
referred to his country's parental leave and childcare programs as elements of
policy that also fosters gender equality. Statistics continue to back up that claim.
In May 2012, the Better
Life Index published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) reported that 73 percent of Norwegian women aged 15 to 64 had a
paid job, by comparison with 66 percent for the 36 nations surveyed by the OECD. In the
same year, the fertility rate for Norwegian women was almost 1.8 — one of the highest
rates in Europe.
measurements. In the "Today's Boon" segment, the $265.5-billion
figure for Norway's GDP represents purchasing power parity (ppp),
the dollar value of the universal "basket" of goods and services
that Norway's GDP earnings could buy (within Norway, at Norwegian prices).
The CIA World Factbook and many other sources use purchasing-power
figures when reporting on a nation's economic status. The Factbook
also reports GDP in terms of the official exchange rate between a particular
nation's currency and U.S. dollars. Measured thus, Norway's GDP was $477.6 billion
in 2011, when Norway's kroner were converting to dollars at the rate of
about 5.60 to 1. And student researchers may come across still other figures,
based on different forms of measurement. Under the
Atlas Method, for example, a nation's gross national income (GNI) is expressed
in current dollars, but is based on a three-year-average conversion rate for that
particular nation's currency. However, in Norway's case, such differences do not
affect the bottom line. As a 2012
report demonstrates, Norway's per-capita GNI ranks among the world's top five,
whether measured by the "ppp" or by the Atlas method. (See also the
Norway Data Page for a profile of Norway's population
Charting contrasts. The "Nation" Page focuses on Norway's
welfare system and mixed economy. After students have read the page, tell
them that the young woman described in the opening lines would also receive
a tax-free subsidy for each of her children under the age of 18. More:
Along with all other workers in the country's public and private sectors,
she would also be guaranteed an annual vacation of up to 25 days, funded by her employer!
Encourage student teams to (a) make a chart comparing these and
other facts about the Norwegian welfare/mixed-economy system with comparable
laws and systems in their own country, and (b) discuss/debate the "plus"
and "minus" points on each side. For students who may
want to examine comparable systems in other nations, a good start can
be made with the entry for "Welfare
State" in the online encyclopedia "Wikipedia." For
an excellent (though much more detailed) presentation of Norway's welfare
benefits, you might want some students to consult the online booklet
"The Norwegian Social Insurance Scheme." (2012)
Text Page No. 2: "Within Its Region." Life
at sea for inhabitants of Norway's earliest coastal fishing villages is
portrayed. Plus: the era of Norse Vikings and their journeys, the evolution
of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish kingdoms and their later interrelationships,
the emergence of national goals among Norwegians in the 19th century —
followed by independence (1905), Norway's economic achievements, and its
relations with the EU
2a. Map lore.
The value of the "Region" Page will be enhanced if students consult
LE's polar regional map of Norway (see the Norway
Map Page). To be sure they understand this map's focus, have them consult a
globe, and then the map, to locate a particular place on both — Svalbard,
for example. Halfway between Norway and the North Pole, the archipelago
of Svalbard was opened by treaty in 1920 to the coal-mining interests
of dozens of countries — though today it is inhabited chiefly by
Norwegians (the majority) and Russians. Svalbard is also the location
of Norway's new "doomsday" seed bank, where Norway is freezing
and storing plant seeds from around the world, as an insurance against those
plants' extinction during any future global catastrophe! Students — especially
those in science classes — may be interested in reading about this fascinating
project. See, for example,
"Pictures: 'Doomsday' Seed Vault Safeguards Our Food Supply" on
the National Geographic Web Site. (Follow links to several related articles.)
people. Opening lines on this page call to mind early Norse seafarers.
But Norway was home to an even earlier culture group, whose descendants
the Sami still dwell in the country's northernmost parts.
For an up-close look at how the Sami are coping with the 21st century,
watch the short video of a December 2005 PBS documentary at "Norway:
Reindeer Men: Mythic nomads in a modern world." After viewing,
you may want to select the link at "Background Facts and Related
history. Vikings have become such a familiar icon in modern-day
sports, cartoons, and other forms of popular culture, you may need to
remind students about who the "originals" were. Here's one source:
On.... Viking Explorers" a brief, informative Learning
Enrichment unit that includes a map of the Vikings' journeys. (Scroll
to the end of that unit's Teacher Page for links to student and map materials.)
Europe today. It would be hard to overstate the importance to
Norway of associations whose other members share its regionwide interests.
Such groups are valuable as bases for scientific and cultural exchanges,
and for addressing common regional problems — air pollution and
the depletion of fish stocks, for example. This student page mentions
the Nordic Council,
founded in 1953. Norway also co-founded two other regional associations:
the Council of the Baltic Sea States
(1992), and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (1993). Student researchers
visiting the Web Sites of these Councils will find maps, membership lists,
and a wealth of information about the priorities and projects of these
different groups of North European nations. They may also find references
to the Northern
Dimension, a partnership formed by Norway, Russia, Iceland, and the
EU in pursuit of common goals: "to strengthen stability and well-being,
intensify economic cooperation," and especially to "promote economic
integration, competitiveness and sustainable development in Northern
Europe." Invite students who have visited these sites to
share the results of their research. Have them summarize the goals of
each association, noting any major concern or topic that many or most
groups are now addressing (education, human resource management, local
industries, etc.). Then ask students to speculate on why the membership of
"regional" associations seems (over time) to be expanding in
size! What factors might explain that expansion? And: Would including more
nations add to, or lessen, the value of membership for any one nation?
Union. When discussing the ongoing debate over Norway's
possible membership in the European Union, inform students about the European
Economic Area agreement (1994), under which Norway receives most of the
same trade benefits that EU member nations enjoy among themselves. Norway
values its relationship with the EU and interacts with it on many levels. As
a member of the EEA, for example, Norway contributes generously to specific
projects, programs, and research activities benefitting the EU's poorer member
nations. For the period 2009-2014 alone, it has pledged a total of $1.8
billion euros ($2.4 billion). Students can explore details about this pledge at
the Web Site for the EEA. Suggest that they
start by clicking on the outline of Norway on the opening-page map, then the
links to "Norway Grants" and "EEA Grants."
Guided reading on Norway's history. In
Century of Norwegian Independence" (see full citation in
"More Sources," below), historian Terje Leiren steers the reader through
a series of cliff-hanging moments in Norway's 20th-century history. The
article is long. But persevering students will find it an excellent tutorial
on the roots and branches of modern-day nationalism, as Norwegians experienced
it. The following questions will help students look for the article's
main ideas: (a) Describe life in Norway before its people dissolved
the Union with Sweden in 1905. (b) How did that dissolution (separation)
occur? (c) What policies did Norway's early Liberal and Labor Parties
promote, with regard to the nation's resources and its people's welfare?
(d) How did Norway's location influence its role in World War II? (e)
What world organizations did Norway join after WWII, and what was the
reason for joining each? (f) What major cultural changes have occurred
within Norway in recent decades? (g) What evidence does the author give
to support his statement that, "As a small country, Norway must balance
(a) the fear of being swallowed up by a larger power with (b) the need
for allies and [for] the protection of a larger organization"?
[Letters added and punctuation adapted. — LE.]
Text Page No. 3: "In Today's World." Norway's generosity in the face
of multiple global pressures is illustrated through its billion-dollar pledge to
help Brazil and Indonesia check deforestation within their borders. Plus: the
origins (and other current examples) of Norway's "helping-hand" tradition, the
guiding principles behind its foreign policies in these matters, and unfolding
trends in the Arctic polar region.
generosity: a policy. Norway's contribution to the reduction of
deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia, the focus of the introduction to this
student page, is only one example of its generosity to those in need — and
of the wide range of needs that it addresses around the world. In addition to
promoting green energy and checking deforestation, Norwegian aid flows to programs
for poverty reduction, family planning, education, health care.... See, for
example, the overview of aid targets outlined by Norway's Ministry of Foreign
Affairs in its press release
Aid Budget Doubled in Nine Years." To place these donations in perspective:
According to the OECD, Norway's Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2011
amounted to 1.0 percent of its GNI (Gross National Income) — well beyond the
UN target of 0.7 percent, per nation! By comparison, the USA contributed 0.2
percent of its GNI in the same year. In sharing such data with students, however,
remind them that the base numbers (the national GNIs) from which the percentages
are computed differ widely. In dollar terms, the USA, Germany, and the United
Kingdom ranked first, second, and third, respectively, in the amount of foreign
aid that each provided.
generosity — a hands-on experience. Norwegians are exposed
early in life to the idea of helping others. More than 40 years
ago, a group of Norwegian teens launched Operasjon Dagsverk (Operation
Day's Work) for just that purpose. Realizing how many people on our planet
go without an education because of poverty, they selected a country (Algeria),
researched its people's education needs, and donated pay from a "day's
work" to raise $15,000 for their project. By the beginning of this
millennium, Operasjon Dagsverk had spread to several other nations,
including the USA, and raised millions of dollars for education projects in
dozens of countries.
3c. Challenges for
the 21st century. In the segment titled "Paths to Peace," students
will find allusions to three types of peacemaking efforts within Norway's
various outreach efforts. These efforts include: helping poorer nations to
grow an economy without doing environmental harm, promoting dialogue as a way
to resolve conflicts, and providing aid to peoples trapped in conflict zones.
Ask students: How might each of these forms of assistance contribute (directly
or indirectly) to global peace? What's the connection between each goal and the
conditions needed for domestic, regional, and global peace? In an eloquent
address to the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2012, Norway's Foreign
Minister Espen Barthe Eide spelled out the Norwegian view on such issues. See
"Leadership Is About Making Choices."
spirit! One of the threads running through this unit deals with
"exploration." Urge students to research and report on some
of Norway's great explorers, including Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen,
Thor Heyerdahl, and Liv Arnesen, who with her American colleague
Ann Bancroft completed the first all-women's crossing of Antarctica
(on foot) in February 2001.
conference.... Several of Norway's modern-day concerns
the environment, EU, Arctic zone, etc. are addressed on this page.
Have each student select and research one of those interests (or others,
such as oil management) to represent at a conference on "Norwegian
Priorities for the Future." After speakers present their position
papers, have students vote to decide what Norway's policy priorities should
be(!) Time line.... Taken together, the three Student
Text Pages in this unit cover a great deal of Norway's seafaring past
(as well as its present!). Challenge students to review all three pages
for data that might be included in a "marine" chronology of
Norway's history, and then have them place each fact on a timeline. (You
might want to tell students that Norway's North Sea oil extraction began
in the 1970s. Also, remind them to include the ongoing search for offshore
resources in the Arctic waters north of Norway.).
STUDIES READING SKILLS
Realizing the significant pressure on social studies teachers to emphasize
reading skills with secondary school students, LE offers the following
tip for use with this unit (see also LE's Page on Reading
Skills in the Social Studies):
the specialized vocabulary of writers and commentators in the field
of social studies. One of the most challenging goals for any
educator is to help students become familiar with the terminology appropriate
to his or her field. This unit's Student Text
Page No. 2 ("Within Its Region") includes a number of
terms with special meaning for students in social studies courses. Here are
20 of them: (1) coastal waters, (2) constitution, (3) democratic,
(4) exports, (5) hot/cold war, (6) independence, (7) monarchy, (8) myth,
(9) national identity, (10) neighbors, (11) new industry, (12) parliament,
(13) progress, (14) regional ties, (15) stable relations, (16) telecommunications,
(17) territorial warfare, (18) tourism, (19) trade routes, (20) union.
1. Depending on the course you're teaching, distribute
a list of some or all of the above numbered terms a day or
so before you hand out copies of this unit's Student Text Page No.
2. Ask students to reflect on the word-list as a whole and then draw
an inference (make a prediction) about the focus (main idea) of the
article they will soon read. Possible student predictions, based on the
context in which the terms are used in the article: "Norway's Government"
(see Items 2, 3, 7, and 12, for example); "Its History" (5, 6, and 8);
"Its Economy" (1, 4, 11, 16, and 19); "Its International Relations" (10,
14, 15, and 17). Some items (9, 13, 18, and 20, for example) could support
more than one category…. As the subtitle of the page indicates, the focus is
actually on Norway's regional relations.
2. On the same day that you distribute the word-list,
assign a different term to each student, with the assignment
to research and report on the term's meaning. Emphasize that
the explanations you're looking for should relate to some
aspect of the social studies (History, Economics, etc.).
Thus, simply providing the basic definition of "telecommunications"
(exchanges of information over a distance) would not complete the
assignment. But providing the basic definition and then relating it
to, say, the field of Economics (as an example of a growing industry,
or a new career field, or an investment target, or a factor in globalization,
etc.) would do the job. Review students' reports in class. Then distribute
Student Text Page No. 2, pausing now and then as students read it,
to check their understanding of the new terms.
Some of the best current sources on Norway are on-line.
"Minifacts about Norway:
2012" provides a wealth of statistical information compiled by the Norwegian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Looking for a more topical approach? See Norway's
"official site in the United States.
" Select "About Norway," and you'll find links to such interesting
topics as "Society & People," "Culture," and
The Web Site for the
American Scandinavian Foundation is
another good online source, with occasional reprints of articles on Norway from the
ASF's publication "Scandinavian Review."
sites include: "Norway",
a major article in the CIA's World Factbook and "U.S. Relations With
Norway" from the Web Site of the
Department of State.
Finally, LE also recommends
the following sources:
Biotech Puts Norway on the Map: Prospecting for Commercial Opportunities
in Marine Environments." Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology
News. October 15, 2005. Research in Trondheim.
Wikipedia. Established in 1996 to address the common concerns and challenges
faced by Arctic governments and the people of the Arctic.... Norway is a vital
member of this increasingly in-the-news organization.
Aung San Suu Kyi.
Lecture. Nobel Prize Organization. June 16, 2012.
"The Hard and the Soft." The New York Times. March 2, 2010. "There must be
many reasons for Norway's excellence," writes Brooks, "but some ... are probably
embedded in the story of Jan Baalsrud, a young instrument maker who was asked to
sneak back into Norway to help the anti-Nazi resistance" in 1943. (A great
account of real-life heroism!)
Chowder, Ken. "Norway's
Wild Western Isles." The New York Times. June 15, 2003.
Page 24. An excellent article on Norway's Lofoten Islands, north of the
Fund." Information on the management of Norway's "oil-fueled" sovereign wealth
fund — the world's largest, by 2012! (Thirty percent of the Fund is invested in
Handwerk, Brian. "Pictures: 'Doomsday' Seed Vault Safeguards Our Food Supply." National Geographic
Society. July 2, 2012.
"International Security Assistance Force." Wikipedia. The ISAF, the NATO-led
security mission in Afghanistan, was established by the UN Security Council. This
article lists the number of troops contributed to ISAF by Norway and other
Agree on New Barents Sea Border." The Guardian [UK]. April 30, 2010. "Norway
and Russia [have] agreed ... to evenly divide a long-disputed area in the Barents
Sea, ... [an] oil and gas region in the Arctic" zone. (An agreement 40 years in
Development Goals." Wikipedia online encyclopedia.
"More activity in the High North." The Norway Post. October 9, 2012.
from the Barents Region." BarentsObserver. Excellent
source of current information on a part of the world that is critical
to Norway's interests and security.
"NOK 100 Million for Clean Energy in Bhutan." Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. October 16, 2012.
"Norway Tops World
Sovereign Wealth Fund Ranking List." The Norway Post. October 3, 2012.
Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource
Centre. Food for thought.
OECD Better Life Index (2012).
"Statistics on resource flows to
developing countries." Select "Table 1 - DAC Members’ Net Official
Development Assistance in 2011."
"Race Is On as Ice Melt Reveals Arctic
Treasures." The New York Times. September 18, 2012.
Save the Children.
"Save the Children’s Annual State of the World’s
Mothers Report Lists Norway as the Best Place to Be a Mother...." May 8, 2012.
Minister's New Year Address, 2013."
Gahr. "Journalism in a Troubled World…." June 4, 2007. Address by Norway's (then) Minister of Foreign Affairs.
U.S. Energy Administration.
"Norway." August 28,
2012. Tightly written profile of sources, production, and distribution in Norway's
Norway Student Text Page No. 1 | Norway
Student Text Page No. 2 | Norway Student
Text Page No. 3 | Norway Map Page
| Norway Data Page
Would you like to see other pages in this
study unit? Or
visit LE's Home Page?
LE wishes to thank the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign
Affairs for underwriting the costs of producing and distributing the
original printed version of this unit. We hope that, in this new electronic
version, our unit continues to serve teachers and students in Grades
© Learning Enrichment, Inc.
Content last updated: December 2012. Page last reviewed: March 2013.