Lesson 11- Population Density

Lesson Objectives:


  • Students will identify areas of the Earth that have high and low population densities.
  • Students will synthesize information from two different types of maps to identify the absolute location of an area of high population density.
  • Students will apply prior knowledge about relative locations and interpret a map key to draw conclusions about population density.
  • Students will apply knowledge of world population densities to produce a cartogram displaying the Earth’s high population areas.
  • Students will compare and contrast land use, natural resources, major industries and environmental issues in selected areas of high and low population density.
  • Students will draw conclusions about how population increases affect both the economy and resource availability in a given area.

World population is constantly growing. We now have a world population of over 6 billion people. At the current rates of increase, we will probably see a world population of 12 billion within our lifetimes. Having this many people on earth has already had wide-ranging effects on the natural environment. Obviously, not all of these people are spread evenly across the planet. Some areas are more populated than others. Population density is expressed in the number of people per square kilometer.

This map of population density from 1994 still gives a good picture of the population density of the world today.

Even in areas of low population density, we have changed landscapes to suit our purposes. For example, look at the Midwestern farming states in the US. These areas were once wild grassland, but the land is now home to a very few species- corn, soybeans, and wheat. Even though this area has a relatively low population density, humans have radically altered the landscape there.

The population density of an area can have dramatic effects on its geography. Rivers can be rerouted, mountains flattened, and ground is paved over to make way for transportation. Pollution also tends to be a problem in areas with a high population density. In addition to cities as we might traditionally think of them, temporary cities can also spring up, like shantytowns on the outskirts of major cities, or refugee camps.

Assignment

Grading Rubric:

10: All answers are correct within the second revision of this lesson. Answers are correct, complete, and clear; all lesson requirements have been met. All answers are in complete sentences with correct grammar and spelling.

9: All answers are correct within the third revision. Answers are correct, complete, and clear; all lesson requirements have been met. All answers are in complete sentences and work is spell-checked, but may have a few grammatical errors.

8: All answers are correct after four or more revisions. Answers are correct, complete, and clear; all lesson requirements have been met. All answers are in complete sentences and work is spell-checked, but may have a few grammatical errors.

7: One or two answers are incorrect. All other answers are factually correct, complete, and clear. All lesson requirements have been met. All answers are in complete sentences and work is spell-checked, but may have a few grammatical errors.

6: Reserved for administrative use.

5: Plagiarism - purposeful or mistaken which will lower your final grade for the course (so be very careful when posting your work!); lack of effort, disrespect, or attitude (we are here to communicate with you if you don't understand something); or 9 or more errors; or lesson requirements have not been met.

Also be aware that you will have a chance to revise your work. More than 2 revisions will result in a lower grade, so read the directions carefully and make sure you meet the requirements. No lesson is complete without the approval of the instructor, and all revisions must be completed before a grade is assigned. No grade will be given for incomplete work.

Vocabulary

  1. Give the name and location of an island with a high population density.
  2. Give the name and location of a desert with low population density.
  3. Give the absolute location of an area with more than 500 persons per square kilometer. (You will need to consult two different maps for this-- one that will give you the population density and one that will give you the absolute location.)
  4. Give the relative location of the area in the Indian subcontinent with the highest population density.
  5. If you drew a cartogram emphasizing areas of high population density, what areas of the world would show up the largest?

Research

 

  1. Choose an area of high population density and do a bit of research on it. Use CIA World Factbook to help you get started. If you need more help with research, let me know. Use your research to answer the questions below.
  2. Which area did you choose?
  3. What is the population density of this area?
  4. What is the total population of this area?
  5. What is the birth rate of this area?
  6. What is the average life expectancy?
  7. How has human settlement affected the natural environment here?
  8. What resources from the natural environment are major factors in the economy?
  9. What are the problems related to high population density in this area? Be specific in your answer.
  10. Now choose an area of low population density and do a bit of research on it.
  11. Which area did you choose?
  12. What is the population density of this area?
  13. What is the total population of this area?
  14. What is the net migration in this area?
  15. How has human settlement affected the natural environment here?
  16. What do people do for a living here?
  17. Given what you know about this area, do you think it would be possible to raise the population density in this area? Would there be enough food and resources to support more population? How much more?
  18. Using the research you did on the two countries you chose, compare and contrast their land use, natural resources, major industries, and major environmental issues. How do you think the difference in population affects these things?
  19. Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S. The state has attracted large numbers of people over age 65. Describe how this type of population growth might strain resources and public services. Give at least 4 examples.  

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