Overpopulation: Will We Last?

Rationale:

In 1798 an economist, Thomas Malthus, wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population in which he predicted that the world’s population would exceed the resources available. As we stand on the threshold of a new millennium, we find ourselves playing the role of prognosticators. What will happen to the world if we continue on the same path?

A major problem that we are facing is overpopulation and its negative effects. We are abusing the earth’s natural resources and we are not making appropriate provisions for the future. This unit will identify the current trends in population growth, the causes and effects of overpopulation as well as some possible solutions.

It is imperative that we assess the current condition of the earth and make important changes in order to have a better future.

Social Studies Objectives and Learning Experiences:

Upon completion of this lesson the students will:

Construct a world map identifying high population areas

Examine the effects of the Agricultural Revolution on world population growth

Investigate the effects of the Industrial Revolution on world population growth

Analyze the accuracy of predictions made about overpopulation by Thomas Malthus and twentieth century economists

Compare and contrast population size and economical systems of specific underdeveloped and developed nations

Assess the effects of uneven income distribution on overpopulation

Determine how a nation’s Gross National Product effects their use of resources

Compose a journal of items used or consumed for a week

Hypothesize what a person would use or consume for a week in an underdeveloped nation (instead of hypothesizing, students could obtain an actual journal by e-mailing someone in an underdeveloped nation)

Compare and contrast the two journals

Science (Physics and Earth Science) Objectives and Learning Experiences:

Upon completion of this lesson the students will:

Examine the effect of human consumption of natural resources versus the ability to sustain the planet

Hypothesize about future population expansion outlets

Propose methods of conserving the natural resources we have left

Determine the causes of the so-called "global warming" theory

Mathematics Objectives and Learning Experiences:

Upon completion of this lesson the students will:

Produce a graph on the current populations of every continent

Construct a graph on the exponential growth of the human race throughout history and the future

Estimate what the population will be in a certain number of years

Determine the ratio of the percentage of the world’s population who live in the United States to the percentage of the world’s resources used in the United States

Determine the ratio of the percentage of the world’s population who live in India to the percentage of the world’s resources used in India

Compare and contrast the two previous objectives

English Language Arts Objectives and Learning Experiences:

Upon completion of this lesson the students will:

Predict and create a narrative story about what their life is like at the age of 70 and what changes they have witnessed in the world around them

Read The Giver and evaluate their methods of population control

Concoct their own form of population control after reading "The Lottery"

Deduce why the events in "The Lottery" Occurred and compare them to other forms of population control that have been used internationally

Write a journal detailing their families’ consumption, and write measures on how they would conserve more

Write to a pen-pal in an overpopulated country. Ask about their living conditions and write to them about life in the United States. (This could also be done via e-mail)

Student Assessment:

All students will be assessed by a variety of means. The amount of participation and enthusiasm that a student exhibits in group activities will be evaluated. Additionally, all students will be required to create an interdisciplinary portfolio including all of the work completed during this unit. This portfolio will be evaluated on improvement over time, creativity, and accuracy of content.

Creators:

This unit was created by Adam Napoleon (social studies), Celeste Provenzano (English), Dawn Pelham (social studies), Dan Chase (science), Dee Gordon (English), Greg Hipius (English), Jeff Chase (math), Summer Szell (English), Ted Schulz (science), and Tina Heise (English) in one Block II class period.

Back to Dawn's Lessons