Making any topic relevant for students can be a challenge. For students, population growth probably seems like a topic that only happens in far away places. Turning a very abstract concept into a concrete one takes skill.
Luckily World of 7 Billion is here is help. This resource includes detailed lesson plans for middle school and high school students. Many of the lessons could easily be adapted for younger students as well. The lessons are very interactive and many of the activities are projects or simulations that make students feel that they are connected with the topic.
The activity called Chips of Trade has students collect chips to represent the number of resources in their country. I put the chips on the floor in the center of the room and let students grab as many as they can. It can be chaotic and students can be vicious, but it mimics how nations behave when it comes to collecting resources.
Based on the number of chips students collect they are assigned a country. If you are lucky enough to get several chips you could be a country like Canada. However, you might end up being a less developed country like Burundi if you collect very few chips. If you collect enough resources to be somewhere in the middle you might end up being a country like Colombia or Nepal. The chart included with the lesson includes real details about each country such as the birth/death rate, export/import totals and the population growth rate. It really lets students feel first hand the effects of having many or few resources in their country.
Another of my favorite lessons on World of 7 Billion is 7 Billion: Where Do You Stand? in which students decide if they agree or disagree with a list of statements related to population growth and they “take a stand” in the room near the sign with the side they agree with the most. This definitely can stir some passionate arguments. My students often walk out of the room still arguing about who is right on certain topics.
Whatever lesson you choose on World of 7 Billion it will be a success and students will be more engaged with the topic.
- You may want students to gather more information about the quality of life in Canada, Colombia, Nepal and Burundi so they have more of an idea about what each country is like before the simulation begins.
- There are 18 statements in the Where Do You Stand? lesson. Have students think about the statements and mark agree/disagree individually for all statements. You can either have the class choose a few statements or as the teacher you can choose the statements that are most relevant to discuss with the whole class.