002 - Global Superpowers

Geographic Knowledge and Understanding

Global superpowers and their economic, geopolitical and cultural influence.


Powerful countries can, directly and indirectly, exert their influence on other places.


  • To understand the components that can 'make up' a superpower.

  • To have knowledge of the influence that superpowers can have on other countries.

Key Terminology

            • Superpower

            • Hegemony

            • Geopolitics

            • Culture

Define the words above by using the 'Useful Links' below.

Useful Links

Activity One - Discuss

Some of you chose to take the International Relations course in Year 11 and the theme of superpowers ran through all of the units. To help everyone in the class who was not in International Relations describe what it means to be a superpower in the Padlet below. We will then discuss your thoughts as a group. Now answer the points below into the Padlet.

        1. What characteristics does a country need to be powerful?

        2. Which countries do you believe today are superpowers? Why?

        3. Take a screenshot of your thoughts and add them to a document within your drive. Alternatively make notes from padlet so that you have a record of our discussions.

Activity Two - Watch

Without a doubt America is currently one of the most influential countries on our planet, but how did it get this way? Watch the youtube clip below and make bullet pointed notes on what characteristics made America a global influencer. America wasn't the first global power that our planet has ever seen though. Watch the 'Imperialism. Crash Course History' youtube clip and make notes of any other factors which help to create powerful nations in the past. We will be discussing the characteristics as this will help us with Activity Three.

Activity Three - Research and Collate

We are now going to investigate which countries you believe are the most influential today. This does not just have to include military power but you can also consider the factors that make up the KOF index.

      1. Click on the shared Google Sheets below.

      2. List the possible superpowers in the first column.

      3. As a group we will discuss which variables could be researched to decide on what makes a country a superpower.

      4. Each person will be given a variable to research, collate and then rank in the shared Google Sheets.

Global Superpowers

Activity Four - Analyse

You have now discussed the importance of data along with the characteristics of what you believe helps to make a country a global superpower. We are now going to look at the influence that the top two countries in your rankings in Activity Three have on the world. You are going to look at from both a geopolitical and cultural perspectives.

      1. From the data you have collected above which two countries do you think should be considered true global superpowers?

      2. Either copy out the table below on to paper or make a copy in Google Drive.

      3. Complete the table describing the influence that your top two superpowers have on the culture and geopolitics of the world.

Global Superpowers Comparison

Useful Resource

'Geography. Global Interactions. Study and Revision Guide HL Core Extension' by Simon Oakes Page 7

Exam Style Question

To what extent can the influence of global superpowers be measured? [12 marks]

This lesson was development in collaboration with Richard Allaway from geographyalltheway. For more resources please visit www.geographyalltheway.com