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World of 7 Billion

Middle School Lesson Plans

Secondary, Middle

Description

In late 2011 world population reached 7 billion. These 11 lessons use this context to address pressing environmental, social and political issues that effect quality of life for present and future generations.

7 Billion: Where do you Stand?

  • Students articulate their thoughts concerning ethical issues related to the human population reaching seven billion and consider the opinions of their classmates.

The Chips of Trade

  • Acting as countries, students role-play resource distribution throughout the world and how this imbalance motivates trade.

Code Blue: Endangered Oceans

  • Through an interactive story students participate in creating a model that illustrates marine pollution over time. They critically examine ways to protect and better manage our oceans worldwide.

Everything is Connected

  • Students identify ways that many factors in human society and the natural environment are interdependent by creating a concept map in cooperative learning groups.

Lessons for Life

  • Students read and discuss a short conversation between two Kenyan girls, watch and listen to two photo essays of school girls in less developed countries and interpret a graph correlating literacy and fertility rates worldwide.

Looking to the Future

  • Students create a futuristic news telecast set 40 years from the present and imagine what their lives might be like given current realities, hopes, and dreams.

Math Path to 7 Billion

  • Students work through problems to calculate and visualize large numbers. The ability to use scientific notation is necessary for success.

One for All

  • In a simulation, students draw renewable resources from a common pool and determine short-term consumption strategies that will preserve the long-term supply of the resource.

Pop Quiz

  • Students complete a pre-test/post-test quiz designed to provide an overview of world population trends and their consequence.

Population Circle

  • In a quick simulation activity, students experience exponential growth of Earth’s population over the last 500 years.

Watch Your Step

  • Students explore the concept of ecological footprint. They complete a quiz about their resource use, determine the size their footprint, and use it to measure their impact on the Earth’s resources.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Interpreting exponential growth.
  • Analyzing one's human footprint.

Strengths

  • This is a solid collection of activities to support a variety of issues related to population growth.
  • The use of a metronome to allow students to feel population growth in Math Path to 7 Billion is inspired.
  • Extra student reading is provided.

Weaknesses

  • The lens and framing used for the lessons is bleak.
  • Extra student reading is provided but there are no ideas for how or when to use it.
  • The lessons do not have accompanying assessment strategies or ideas for taking action.
  • Canadian population statistics are not included in the resource.

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Ecological Footprint
  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Carrying Capacity
    • Interdependence
  • Human Health & Environment (2)

    • Human Population Dynamics
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Gender Equality

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • The bias generally supports ESD principles and beliefs but leans toward humanism.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory
  • While the unit of lessons covers many issues associated with population growth, solutions are not a prominent feature of the resource.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Very Good
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory
  • The lessons usually present generalizations rather than specific situations.
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good
  • While the lessons have everything to do with how humans conduct themselves on Earth, there are no out-of-doors activities.
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good
  • A Global view is emphasized over what is local.
  • Students search through local papers to connect issues to global population growth.
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory
  • Past present and future figure prominently in these lessons.
  • A positive vision for the future is not intentionally created.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Very Good
  • Open, structured, and guided inquiry are used.
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Very Good
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
  • While the activities are varied, no accommodations are suggested.
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory
  • There are not enough explicit opportunities for students to dig deeper into what they are learning.
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.