The following six lessons enable students to use different features of the site to explore trends in population, the environment, and human well-being over the past 2,000 years, as well as projections of future growth. The lessons are designed for high school science and social studies classrooms and address current national and state standards, as well as content for several Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Links to standards and AP course outlines are available in a searchable database.
In addition to meeting standards, students will be challenged to utilize 21st century skills and concepts. Through interpreting maps, analyzing real-world data sets, and engaging with technologies such as GIS, the lessons will further your students’ understanding of key global issues and empower them to be part of a sustainable future.
The lessons can be used sequentially as a unit, or individually, to fit your teaching needs. Additionally, each lesson is broken down into three parts and each includes an optional assessment.
Lesson 1: Peopling of Our Planet
How did global population grow to 7.8 billion? Use the Timeline to guide students through an interactive exploration of advances in medicine, nutrition and sanitation since the Industrial Revolution and explore changing population pyramids.
Lesson 2: Demographically Divided World
How do trends in fertility and life expectancy vary around the world? Engage students in inquiry-based activities to explore the disparities among regions and the factors that contribute to them.
Lesson 3: The Human-made Landscape
What impacts has our growing population had on physical geography? Students learn about changes humans have made to the Earth as demand for agriculture and settlements increased throughout the Anthropocene era and display their findings by creating a Story Map Journal using ArcGIS.
Lesson 4: Carbon Crunch
How have environmental concerns changed over the years and how equipped are different countries to deal with a current global threat – climate change? Sharpen students’ understanding with these activities that combine environmental science with geographic literacy.
Lesson 5: Meeting Human Needs
How have human needs changed through the ages? Students create timelines linking needs with inventions, discoveries and population changes across the globe.
Lesson 6: Where Do We Grow from Here?
What will our global society be like in the coming decades? Students model population projections, find out where the next 4 billion people are expected to live, and what some groups are doing to work toward a sustainable future.
More for Teachers
Visit our main program website, www.populationeducation.org, to download over 50 of our K-12 activities, infographics and readings. Use our online tools to find or request a professional development workshop in your area, match our activities to your state standards, or view our “how to” videos for our most popular lessons.
World Population Knowledge Quiz
Are you a Population Powerhouse or just a Demographic Dabbler? Take the World Population Knowledge Quiz to test your understanding of human history and the impacts of population growth.