Posted by: jwhiff | July 19, 2018

MN4: Population Density

This Mystery Numbers really needs to follow the lesson on Largest Countries (Area) and Largest Countries (Population). You can either get the whole class to investigate this topic at once, or commission your early finishers to start on it first.

I’m not going to provide a list of numbers this time…just a question: Which countries are the most crowded?

The kids can return to their population density maps to generate their initial lists. Then, we need to start looking at some math. What can we do to know exactly how much space every person would have if we split up a country’s land equally? 

Start with Canada. Is Canada crowded? How much space would every Canadian have if we split the land up equally?

From there, generate a formula and get to work! Get the kids to work away at this for about 1 math period before looking up lists of the most densely populated countries. After seeing the list, it would be interesting to explore answers to the following question: Why?

Why are some countries so crowded? Do they have anything in common? How do you manage a big population in a relatively small space?

Explore these countries a little. How are the towns and cities organized? Do people fight over the little space that is there? Or do people happily share?

At this point, you can look at urban planning. How do you keep a lot of people feeling happy and balanced in a small space? What would you do? Compare your ideas to your own community. If you’re really ambitious, arrange a Skype call with an urban planner or invite one to come in to speak with the kids. This planner can work locally or even be from a very densely populated area out there somewhere.

Have fun exploring this one. It is a rich task, for sure.


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