Lesson Packet

Grades 9-12

World Population Map Activity Guide

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SUBJECTS: Social Studies

TOPICS: Fertility/Mortality, Population Density, Population Pyramids, United Nations, Urbanization

Resource Overview

This packet of lesson plan accompanies the World Population Map – a population cartogram. It is made up of six lesson plans and a student reading.

An introductory activity ensures students understand the cartogram and how it differs from traditional land area maps. Other activities explore content including: birth/death rates, population pyramids, population density, urbanization, arable land use, and a range of human development indicators (fertility, income, health, education, environmental quality and more) that give a fuller picture of life in different countries and regions.

These activities have been designed primarily for the high school social studies classroom but all are interdisciplinary, relying on and applying knowledge and skills from mathematics, English language arts, and science.

Cartogram map of global population

Features of This Resource

  • A set of classroom activities to use the map as a launch pad for student exploration of global demographics and human development
  • Helps students understand and illustrate complex data and then extend their thinking to what this data means for the lives of people around the globe
  • Aligns with the C3 Framework – in particular, the Disciplinary Concepts and Tools for Geography, while emphasizing skills in developing compelling questions, developing explanations and making and supporting arguments, and critiquing and communicating conclusions.
  • Students must effectively communicate their ideas through writing, discussions, and class presentations, addressing several English Language Arts/Literacy Common Core State Standards.


The following are include in the downloadable packet:

Lesson Plans

Population Squared

- Using the methods of a demographer, students will analyze, interpret, and evaluate conclusions on population data from the World Population...

Illustrating Birth and Death Rates

- Through a short demonstration, students observe how birth and death rates influence population growth.

Exploring the Pyramids

- Students interpret population pyramids for 10 countries, discuss differences in the population growth rates, and infer implications of these differences.

Land Use Squared

- Students compare the World Population Map with an equal area map to calculate statistics related to arable land, megacities, and...

Development in Motion

- Using the ‘trendalyzer’ program from www.gapminder.org, students construct and interpret dynamic graphs and discuss differences in life expectancy, fertility rates,...

Life by the Numbers

- Working in pairs, students research a world region to find demographic, social, environmental, and economic data, then present findings to...


Human Population: An Introduction

- Through a short reading, students gain background information on the history of world population and the contemporary issues related to...

Supplemental Materials

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