Product Profile

Population Dynamics (Earth Matters unit)



This product is an individual unit from the high school curriculum Earth Matters. Purchase the unit now and you’ll immediately receive the unit as a PDF. Scroll down to see the list lessons plans and readings included in the unit.

Note: If you’re planning to purchase Earth Matters or have already done so, you don’t need to purchase this unit as it is included within the larger Earth Matters curriculum.

Other Earth Matters units include: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Energy, Food and Hunger, Forests, Oceans, Personal Consumption, Public Health, Rich and Poor, Solid Waste, Urbanization, Water Resources, and The World’s Women.

SKU: EM_PopDynamics Category:


The following are included with the purchase of the unit:

Lesson Plans:

  • Demographic Facts of Life – Students calculate the rate of natural increase and corresponding doubling time or half-life for several countries and explore factors that influence a country’s birth and death rates.
  • Double Trouble – Students observe and collect data on the exponential growth of yeast cultures in both a lab experiment and under a microscope, graphing their findings and comparing their results with human population growth.
  • Power of the Pyramids – Students use real-world data to construct and interpret population pyramids and discuss differences in population growth rates among several different countries.
  • Peopling of Our Planet – Students watch the video “World Population” and participate in guided exploration of an online timeline to explore how improvements in medicine, food and agriculture, and public health and sanitation during the Industrial Revolution contributed to population growth.
  • Migration Stories – In small groups, students take on the role of real-world migrants and take turns in the “hot seat” to answer questions about their unique journey.

Background Reading:

  • The People Connection – An overview of world population history, current demographic trends, and the concept of carrying capacity.

Case Study Readings:

  • Iran’s Demographic Transition: A Model for Other Countries? – Examine Iran’s transition from high to low fertility in the late 20th century.
  • Leaving Syria: Refugee Stories – Refugee stories from the unprecedented migration of people from the war-torn Middle Eastern country to Europe.