Global Learning Programme

Population

The world population now exceeds seven billion people – this may not be quite the doomsday scenario predicted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urges students  to make the world “7 billion strong” © UN Photos on flickr some but it is definitely cause to stop and think. Nations need to prepare for the challenges caused by expanding numbers and changing population patterns. Most more economically developed countries (MEDCs) must prepare for ageing populations, most less economically developed countries (LEDCs) have to plan for increasing numbers and strain on services such as education and health care.

Understanding why populations change and increase is fundamental to understanding development, and pupils benefit from learning about contributing factors: families, babies, health and death.

A way into this topic could be to think about the pupils’ own situations: the number of siblings, age of parents and grandparents, pressures on services locally, etc. They can then compare their situation to situations in other parts of the world.

Recommended reading

The following links and articles provide useful background information to help you teach about population:

Global Dimension: Our urban world A feature article on cities and urban living

Global Dimension: Seven billion people A feature article exploring population issues

Global Dimension: Fight Poverty, Educate Girls A feature article exploring how girls’ education can slow down population growth, and reduce poverty

Guardian: Global development + Population and The politics of family planning Collections of articles on the Guardian global development website

Teaching resources

Useful teaching resources about population:

Population clocks Watch figures for population, deaths and births grow in real time

Population pyramids View by world, by country and by year, from 1950 to 2045

Geographyalltheway: Population jelly babies game Exploring the effect different scenarios have on population growth

Lifeworlds Learning: Time2Think – How many people? Key Stage 2 activity exploring what 7 billion people might mean for us all

A&C Black: If the World Were A Village Imagining the world as 100 people

For further teaching resources, browse through the following searches:

Key Stage 2

Key Stage 3

We welcome suggestions for useful articles and teaching resources on the topic of Population. Please email them to glp@pearson.com.