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Billions & Billions

How is the human population changing?

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Billions & Billions

How is the human population changing?

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Scientists estimate that on Halloween 2011 the global population reached 7 billion. But how long did it take humanity to grow to this level, and how large should we expect our population to become?

In this lesson, students will explore how many people the Earth is adding and losing each minute, and use this to build an exponential model for human population growth. They’ll also predict what the world population will be in the future and discuss the environmental consequences of population growth and economic development.

REAL WORLD TAKEAWAYS

  • The global population is growing exponentially
  • As the population grows, two other things grow with it: the Gross World Product and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • The developing world is currently growing more quickly and contributing more to CO2 than is the developed world…but the developed world is disproportionally responsible for getting CO2 levels to where they are now.

MATH OBJECTIVES

  • Given two data points, calculate growth rate as a percent
  • Build and evaluate an exponential function in a real-world context
  • Analyze graphs showing roughly exponential relationships

Great anytime, including at the beginning of a unit before students have any formal introduction to the topic.
Algebra 1
Exponential Functions (Beg.)
Algebra 1
Exponential Functions (Beg.)
Content Standards
Mathematical Practices

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