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Energy consumption as an indication of the development status?

“Earth at Night” – disparities are becoming visible

The satellite image “Earth at Night” is central to this teaching unit. This image clearly shows that the number and the density of the light points differ from region to region. The pupils can use the image in order to draw conclusions about the respective regional energy consumption on earth. The disparities indicated are examined more closely with the help of supplementary materials. In doing so, the pupils come to scrutinise the term “developing country” and its indicators.

Time required
1-2 lessons
1: introductory
Recommended Prior Knowledge



Caroline Kraas
Florian Thierfeldt
Kerstin Voß


developing country
earth by night
economic sectors
energy consumption
worldwide disparities


The pupils ought to be able to detect and name the worldwide “unequal distribution” and disparities regarding energy by means of the image “Earth at Night”.

They compare and explain the development status of Germany and the Philippines on the basis of selected general and economic factors.

The multidimensionality of the terms “development status”, “developing country” and “industrial country” will be discussed.