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Human Population Growth Trends Inquiry Unit Print & Digital

Grade Levels
9th - 12th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Google Apps™
90 PDF + 50 Google Slide pages + 60 PPT slides
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Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).


Explore everything about our world’s growing population, including historical growth, current numbers, the planet's carrying capacity, population pyramids, the demographic transition, and decline concerns in the industrialized world in this eye-opening inquiry unit that's perfect for your Current Events or Human Geography course.

This unit comes in both print PDF and digital for Google Slides.


Greatness is understanding how small, individual decisions can have exponential impact on the world.

It's hard to believe just how fast the earth's population has skyrocketed to its current count of almost 8 billion when it took all of human history to reach 1 billion in just 1800.

It's even harder to believe that in many places, like the US even, the fertility rates is actually below replacement levels.

Guide your students through a wide variety of sources (from documentaries and maps to simulations and all sorts of data displays) as they grapple with the not-so-simple questions: "How is it that we are still growing so fast?" and “Have we hit our limit?”

You will set each of your students up for success in this high interest, multi-faceted inquiry-driven unit, regardless of ability, with highly scaffolded graphic organizers, skill sheets, and supplemental resources included at each step of the way.

Empower your students to become globally aware citizens in this 3-week unit!

Activities are completely interchangeable- mix and match depending on time constraints, student ability, or personal interests.

Included in this complete inquiry-driven unit:

Teacher Materials

  • Teacher Unit Overview with general notes, links, standards, and a pacing guide with standards (3 pages)
  • Daily Lesson Plans with step-by-step directions, planning tips, and lesson takeaway notes (15 pages total)
  • Detailed Answer Keys for each activity
  • Editable 60+ slide PPT file to assist in daily lessons with student prompts and each of the data displays
  • Student Unit Review and Skills handouts with self-checking questions and "I Can..." statements
  • Student Unit Notes sheet for building deep and nuanced mastery of concepts over the course of the unit using powerful graphic organizers
  • Student Skill Handouts that include Annotating a Text, Analyzing News Media Sources, Analyzing a Political Cartoon

Student Materials

  • Unit Notes: record and reflect on learning throughout the unit, both conceptually and map-based
  • Incoming Brainstorm: open unit with discussion of the unit's key concept, carrying capacity
  • Grains of Rice: simulate the world's current population with grains of rice, and measuring cups, and a calculator
  • World Population Poster: explore various other mathematical comparisons, and create own poster project display of the current world's population (2 sample posters included)
  • Human Population Growth Video Notes: gain a solid overview of the causes and effects of all this growth with guided notes for a Crash Course video
  • Population Measures: explore key measurements like life expectancy at brith, total fertility rate, child mortality rate, and healthcare access and quality index using interactive online data maps
  • Population Pyramids: apply knowledge to various nations' pyramids and learn about the 5 stages of the demographic transitions
  • Japan & Nigeria: through an in-depth documentary and photo-rich news article, investigate the dichotomy of population problems these two nations have
  • Case Study: Covid's Effects: ponder on how a world-wide pandemic had opposite and unexpected effects on birthrates in different countries around the world and what this means for the future
  • Political Cartoon & News Article Analysis: templates for you to incorporate timely events related to the topics being studied with ideas for how to incorporate throughout the unit
  • Socratic Seminar Discussion: culminate learning with a deep conversation about what all this means for the future of the planet and for your students
  • Assessment: confidently assess with these short-answer and extending written response questions
  • Digital File: link to a Google Slides file with copies of all student sheets

Note to Homeschoolers

Though the included teacher lesson plans are written to fully support a traditional classroom teacher, this resource is also a great fit for your teenage homeschooler:

  • the inquiry, thematic structure of this unit is driven by critical thinking, reading, and writing skills and a central high-interest question
  • a wide ability range can easily access the rich variety of sources utilized in this unit,
  • your student’s voice is central to each activity, through talking out their learning, maximizing the one-on-one
  • most activities can be completed independently and aren’t solely reliant on group or whole-class work
  • all utilized sources are free and easily obtainable; either included or accessible online (links provided)
  • this unit is independent of a textbook, though one could be used for greater background knowledge
  • any one activity can easily be left out to customize for your student’s skill level or personal interest


Interested in more Global Issues stand-alone units like this one?

These units can be easily integrated into your Current Events, Human Geography, or Environmental Science course (more units coming!)

  • Extreme Poverty: a 3-week unit exploring what it's really like to live on one dollar a day around the world
  • Globalization: a 4-week unit exploring the exponential growth of trade, technology, and travel that has created unbelievable global economic and cultural change
  • Water Supply & Pollution: a 3-week unit exploring our finite freshwater supply and the human rights, pollution, and conservation issues that need urgent solutions
  • Fossil Fuels & Alternatives: a 3-week unit exploring our addiction to oil, the harsh impact it is having on our air pollution and greenhouse gas levels, and the urgent need to switch to clean renewable energy sources
  • Plastic & Garbage: a 3-week unit exploring the modern invention of garbage, landfills, and single-use disposables, the effects it is having on our oceans, and how a zero-waste lifestyle can be possible
  • Global Priorities Research Project: a 2-option, 2-3 week capstone research project where students complete either a one-pager or research essay on the global issue they find most pressing

Or check out the Global Issues to Empower course for real impact

This semester-long thematic PBL course combines current events, human geography, environmental science to create engaged and empowered global citizens

This listing is for one license for regular, non-commercial classroom use by a single teacher only. In upholding copyright law, PDF resources are uneditable and resources made for Google Classroom have some editing abilities. By purchasing a license to this resource, you have access to all future updates at no cost, available under “My Purchases". Multiple and transferable licenses are available for purchase. To request a complete terms of use prior to purchase or if you have any questions about this resource, please leave a question below under Product Q&A.

Total Pages
90 PDF + 50 Google Slide pages + 60 PPT slides
Answer Key
Included with rubric
Teaching Duration
3 Weeks
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes.
Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.


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