Population 7 Billion

Learning Objectives

Students will read a recent science news article and discuss the content.
Depending the on the article, students may be asked to draw connections to current events or other classroom exercises.

Standards Addressed

Depending on the article, one of these standards may be most appropriate:

Subject Area - 1: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening

     Standard Area - 1.3: Reading, Analyzing, and Interpreting Literature - Fiction and Non-Fiction

          Grade Level - 1.3.6: GRADE 6

               Standard - 1.3.6.A: Read, understand, and respond to works from various genres of literature

                    Assessment Anchor - R6.A.2: Understand nonfiction appropriate to grade level.

Preparation Time Needed

<30 minutes, enough time to read the article and associated questions, answer the questions, and possibly come up with more that are relevant to recent class exercises. 

Activity Description

(Part of the PAESTA In The News - Current Events in Earth and Space Science Series. This series compiles current resources and background materials for recent scientific events in the news. Questions are provided with each topic, written across Bloom's Taxonomic Scale, and can be used for classroom discussion and/or as a writing prompt at the beginning/middle/end of an instructional unit.)

A United Nations report (State of World Population 2011) projects that world population, instead of stabilizing at above 9 billion by 2050, will keep growing and may hit 10.1 billion by 2100. Can the Earth support seven billion now, and the three billion people who are expected to be added by the end of this century?

Articles to Share with Students

General Information

Questions for Classroom Discussion

  • Where is the global population increasing the fastest? The slowest?
  • Why is the global population increasing?
  • What do you think are the opportunities and challenges of having a global population of 7 billion?
  • With a planet of 7 billion what are the implications for each of the following: sustainability, urbanization, access to health services, youth empowerment.
  • What will be the impacts on the hydrosphere of planet Earth with a continual rise in population?
  • What will be the impacts on the atmosphere of planet Earth with a continual rise in population?
  • What will be the impacts on the biosphere (beyond humans) of planet Earth with a continual rise in population?
  • Do you think planet Earth can support 7 billion people? Why/why not?

Compiled October 28, 2011, by L.A. Guertin. Teachers are encouraged to search for more recent articles and related discoveries.

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