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THE ARTICLE

A United Nations report on world population trends has provided some interesting food for thought on the future demographics of our planet. The world’s population is currently 6.5 billion and is set to increase and level off to about 9 billion people. The report says population explosions will occur in Africa and Asia, but not in the rest of the world, “Considerable diversity exists in the expected population growth of countries. The population of many countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, will increase greatly in the coming decades.”  Conversely, population levels in developed countries are expected to fall, because of decreased fertility rates caused by increased contraceptive use. The report also indicates half of the world’s population will be city dwellers by 2007. That is a huge jump from the figure of 30% urbanization in 1993. The five most populated cities today are Tokyo (35 million people), Mexico City (19 million), New York (18.5 million), Bombay (18.3 million) and Sao Paulo (18.3 million). In 1950 only Tokyo and New York had populations of more then 10 million people. By 2050 there will be 22 cities of that size. The report concludes, “the current population picture is one of dynamic population change, reflected in new and diverse patterns of childbearing, mortality, migration, urbanization and ageing. The continuation and consequences of these population trends present opportunities as well as challenges for all societies in the twenty-first century.”

Lesson & plan in Word.doc

Example Class Handout in Word.doc

Example Class Handout in .pdf

WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS

1. CHAT:  Talk in pairs or groups about population / living in cities / interesting statistics / mega cities / migration / urbanization / ageing / …

To make things more dynamic, try telling your students they only have one minute (or 2) on each chat topic before changing topics / partners. Change topic / partner frequently to energize the class.

2. WORLD POPULATION: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with ‘world population’. Share your words with your partner / group and talk about them.

3. MY COUNTRY: Talk about population trends in your country. Which are the biggest cities? Are people moving into the cities? Is this good?

4. NO SPACE?: In pairs / groups, write down five problems that mega cities will have in the future. Once you have five problems, discuss possible solutions. Tell your problems to other groups and ask for their solutions.

5. TRENDS: In groups, decide what opportunities and challenges there will be for all societies in the twenty-first century due to the following: diverse patterns of childbearing, mortality, migration, urbanization and ageing. Share your thoughts and discuss with other groups.

6. GOOD FUTURE?: Discuss with your partner whether the future of the planet is bright or bleak.


 
 

PRE-READING IDEAS

1. WORD SEARCH: Students look in their dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … of the words ‘world’ and ‘population’.

2. TRUE / FALSE: Students look at the headline and predict whether they believe the following statements about the article are true or false:

  1. A United Nations report on world population trends talks about interesting food. T / F
  2. The world’s population is currently 6.5 billion.  T / F
  3. The report says population explosions will occur in Europe and Japan.  T / F
  4. The population levels in developed countries will fall because of increased contraceptive use.  T / F
  5. Half of the world’s population will be city dwellers by 2007.  T / F
  6. Bombay is currently the world’s most populated city.  T / F
  7. In 1950 only two cities had a population of over 10 million. By 2050 that number will increase to twenty-two.  T / F
  8. Population trends will present opportunities as well as challenges for all societies in the twenty-first century.  T / F

3. SYNONYM MATCH: Students match the following synonyms from the article:

(a) report happen
(b) food for thought in contrast
(c) occur outcomes
(d) diversity statistics
(e) conversely birth control
(f) contraceptive vigorous
(g) dwellers leap
(h) jump variety
(i) dynamic document
(j) consequences inhabitants

 

4. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases based on the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

(a) world population off to about 9 billion people
(b) interesting food of that size
(c) set to increase and level jump from the figure of 30%
(d) The report says population concludes
(e) will increase greatly in as challenges for all societies
(f) That is a huge explosions will occur in Africa and Asia
(g) By 2050 there will be 22 cities trends
(h) The report for thought
(i) reflected in new and the coming decades
(j) present opportunities as well diverse patterns

5. DEFINITIONS: Students match the following words with the most likely definitions (Please think about the headline!):

(a) trends (n)
(i) general directions that fashion, business, society, the world etc moves towards
(ii) the name for people who move from the country into the city

(b) food for thought (n)
(i) interesting issues that you need to think seriously about
(ii) nutrition-rich food that increases your intellectual power

(c) demographics (n)
(i) posters and banners used to highlight the world’s problems by activists at G8 and other international governmental meetings
(ii) looking at the patterns of different groups of people, on a global level or within societies

(d) diversity (n)
(i) when there are roadwork’s which mean you have to take a detour
(ii) the way many things are different from other things

(e) decades (n)
(i) when bacteria have rotted your teeth and you need to go to the dentist
(ii) periods of ten years

(f) fertility (n)
(i) the condition of being able to produce children
(ii) a cruel method of removing animal skins to make coats for the fashion industry

(g) contraceptive (n)
(i) a method of birth control to prevent pregnancy, such as condoms
(ii) when a person says (s)he will one thing, but does another totally different thing

(h) dwellers (n)
(i) people who have very pessimistic thoughts on the future of our planet.
(ii) people who live somewhere

(i) mortality (n)
(i) being able to live forever and ever and ever
(ii) the condition that one day we will die

(j) migration (n)
(i) a really bad headache
(ii) people moving from one country to another

  

WHILE READING ACTIVITIES

1. GAP-FILL:  Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.

Half the world in cities

A United Nations report on world population ___________ has provided some interesting food for thought on the future demographics of our planet. The world’s population is currently 6.5 billion and is set to increase and ___________ off to about 9 billion people. The report says population explosions will occur in Africa and Asia, but not in the rest of the world, “Considerable ___________ exists in the expected population growth of countries. The population of many countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, will increase greatly in the coming ___________.”  Conversely, population levels in developed countries are expected to fall, because of decreased fertility rates caused by increased ___________ use. The report also indicates half of the world’s population will be city dwellers by 2007. That is a huge jump from the figure of 30% urbanization in 1993. The five most ___________ cities today are Tokyo (35 million people), Mexico City (19 million), New York (18.5 million), Bombay (18.3 million) and Sao Paulo (18.3 million). In 1950 only Tokyo and New York had populations of more then 10 million people. By 2050 there will be 22 cities of that size. The report concludes, “the current population picture is one of dynamic population change, ___________ in new and diverse patterns of childbearing, mortality, migration, urbanization and ageing. The continuation and consequences of these population trends present opportunities as well as ___________ for all societies in the twenty-first century.”

 

diversity
contraceptive
trends
reflected 
challenges
level 
decades
populated

2. TRUE/FALSE:  Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.

3. SYNONYMS:  Students check their answers to the synonyms exercise.

4. PHRASE MATCH:  Students check their answers to the phrase match exercise.

5. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.

6. VOCABULARY:  Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.


 
 

POST READING IDEAS

1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.

2. QUESTIONS:  Students ask the discussion questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class. Pool the questions for all students to share.

3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.

4. STUDENT-GENERATED SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class.

5. ‘WORLD’/ ‘POPULATION’: Students make questions based on their findings from pre-reading activity #1.

6. DISCUSSION:  Students ask each other the following questions:

  1. What do you think of this article – interesting food for thought?
  2. Are you pessimistic or optimistic about the future of our world?
  3. Do you prefer the city or the country?
  4. What is the attraction of cities?
  5. What problems will increased urbanization create?
  6. What will happen to the depopulated countryside?
  7. Who will grow all the food?
  8. What will be the consequences of population explosions in Africa and Asia?
  9. Would you like your city / town / village to double in size in the next ten years?
  10. Should contraception be encouraged to prevent population explosions?
  11. Is mass migration a good thing?
  12. If you had to, where would you migrate?
  13. Which of these cities would you most and least like to live in - Tokyo, Mexico City, New York, Bombay, Sao Paulo?
  14. What are the biggest opportunities and challenges for the world in the twenty-first century?
  15. What will you be doing in 2020, 2030, 2040, 2050?
  16. Teacher / Student additional questions.

7. FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Talk about the following conclusions of the report on world demographic trends:

  1. The world’s urban population is increasing rapidly, and is expected to increase from today’s 3.2 billion people to about 5 billion in 2030. Half the world’s population is expected to live in urban areas by 2007.
  2. The proportion of older people is expected to continue rising well into the twenty-first century. As the pace of population ageing is much faster in the developing countries than in the developed ones, developing countries will have less time to adjust to the consequences of population ageing.
  3. Most developed countries exhibit fertility levels at or below the replacement level. Some developing countries, mainly in Africa, still exhibit high fertility.
  4. Contraceptive use has increased significantly over the past decade, from 54 per cent in 1990 to 63 per cent in 2000.
  5. During the twentieth century, mortality experienced the most rapid decline in the history of humanity, owing to better hygiene, improved nutrition and medical practices .
  6. HIV/AIDS has already produced marked increases in mortality in Africa, the region most affected by the disease.
  7. About 175 million persons reside in a country other than the one in which they were born. The number of migrants more than doubled between 1960 and 2000.
  8. Developed and developing countries differ significantly with regard to their population concerns. High mortality, particularly infant and child mortality, maternal mortality and mortality related to HIV/AIDS, is the most significant population concern for developing countries. The most significant demographic concern of the developed countries relates to low fertility and its consequences, including population ageing and the shrinking of the working age population.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on overpopulation. Share your findings with your class next lesson.

3. MY CITY / TOWN / VILLAGE: Create a plan of action for the doubling in population size of your city / town / village over the next ten years.

4. CHALLENGES: Write a short article outlining global challenges over the next fifty years.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

  1. A United Nations report on world population trends talks about interesting food. F
  2. The world’s population is currently 6.5 billion.  T
  3. The report says population explosions will occur in Europe and Japan.  F
  4. The population levels in developed countries will fall because of increased contraceptive use.  T
  5. Half of the world’s population will be city dwellers by 2007.  T
  6. Bombay is currently the world’s most populated city.  F
  7. In 1950 only two cities had a population of over 10 million. By 2050 that number will increase to twenty two.  T
  8. Population trends will present opportunities as well as challenges for all societies in the twenty-first century.  T

SYNONYM MATCH:

(a) report document
(b) food for thought statistics
(c) occur happen
(d) diversity variety
(e) conversely in contrast
(f) contraceptive birth control
(g) dwellers inhabitants
(h) jump leap
(i) dynamic vigorous
(j) consequences outcomes

PHRASE MATCH:

(a) world population trends
(b) interesting food for thought
(c) set to increase and level off to about 9 billion people
(d) The report says population explosions will occur in Africa and Asia
(e) will increase greatly in the coming decades
(f) That is a huge jump from the figure of 30%
(g) By 2050 there will be 22 cities of that size
(h) The report concludes
(i) reflected in new and diverse patterns
(j) present opportunities as well as challenges for all societies

 
DEFINITIONS:

(a) trends (n)
(i) general directions that fashion, business, society, the world etc moves towards

(b) food for thought (n)
(i) interesting issues that you need to think seriously about

(c) demographics (n)
(ii) looking at the patterns of different groups of people, on a global level or within societies

(d) diversity (n)
(ii) the way many things are different from other things

(e) decades (n)
(ii) periods of ten years

(f) fertility (n)
(i) the condition of being able to produce children

(g) contraceptive (n)
(i) a method of birth control to prevent pregnancy, such as condoms

(h) dwellers (n)
(ii) people who live somewhere

(i) mortality (n)
(ii) the condition that one day we will die

(j) migration (n)
(ii) people moving from one country to another

 

GAP FILL:

Half the world in cities

A United Nations report on world population trends has provided some interesting food for thought on the future demographics of our planet. The world’s population is currently 6.5 billion and is set to increase and level off to about 9 billion people. The report says population explosions will occur in Africa and Asia, but not in the rest of the world, “Considerable diversity exists in the expected population growth of countries. The population of many countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, will increase greatly in the coming decades.”  Conversely, population levels in developed countries are expected to fall, because of decreased fertility rates caused by increased contraceptive use. The report also indicates half of the world’s population will be city dwellers by 2007. That is a huge jump from the figure of 30% urbanization in 1993. The five most populated cities today are Tokyo (35 million people), Mexico City (19 million), New York (18.5 million), Bombay (18.3 million) and Sao Paulo (18.3 million). In 1950 only Tokyo and New York had populations of more then 10 million people. By 2050 there will be 22 cities of that size. The report concludes, “the current population picture is one of dynamic population change, reflected in new and diverse patterns of childbearing, mortality, migration, urbanization and ageing. The continuation and consequences of these population trends present opportunities as well as challenges for all societies in the twenty-first century.”

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