A CIESE Primary Source and
Archived Collections Project

Population Growth - Project Information

Project Information


This series of activities explores the environmental and mathematical aspects of population growth. How fast is the population growing? Has it always grown at this rate? Are the populations of different countries growing differently? How can we predict the population in the future? How will a growing population impact the environment?

Using archived census and demographic data as well as up-to-the-minute population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, students will learn how to model population growth and study the implications of a changing population.

Appropriate Grade Level

This project is intended for high school mathematics and/or environmental science students. Students will examine linear, quadratic and exponential models in this project. Students may use Activities #1-5 and #9 in this project to look at more simplistic and historical aspects of population growth.

Time to Complete Project

This project is broken up into 9 lessons/activities. Each activity is designed to be used in one 45 minute class period. The level of the students using the project and how much prior mathematics experience they have had will factor heavily into this time allotment. Please review each of the lessons carefully and use your judgment for allocating class time for the project.

Material Available on this Site

The student lessons for this project can be found in the Student Activities section linked in the left-hand menu bar of every page. It is recommended that the lessons be completed in the order they are listed. Students and teachers are welcome to submit work for publication in the Student Gallery. The Teacher Guide contains a summary and list of objectives for each of the lessons, a list of curriculum standards that are satisfied by the project, web site backup information, and other related project information. The Reference Material section has additional links related to the topic of population, and the Ask An Expert section contains a list of online experts you can contact with related questions.