top of page

Topics Explored: Population, Resource Use, Population Equations, Scientific Writing

This case study explores human population growth, demographic transition, and sustainability. Answer key included.

Case Study: The Human Population (Teacher & Student Edition)

  • ZIP file containing 2 PDF files 
    (1 Teacher Edition and 1 Student Edition)

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
    HS-LS2-1. Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
    HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
    HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
    HS-ESS2-7. Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth’s systems and life on Earth.
    HS-ESS3-3. Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity. 

    AP® Environmental Science Learning Objectives:
    3.4 Describe carrying capacity. Describe the impact of carrying capacity on ecosystems.
    3.5 Explain how resource availability affects population growth.
    3.6 Explain age structure diagrams.
    3.7 Explain factors that affect total fertility rate in human populations. 
    3.8 Explain how human populations experience growth and decline.
    3.9 Define the demographic transition.

    AP® Environmental Science Practices:
    Practice 1: Explain environmental concepts, processes, and models presented in written format. 
    Practice 2: Analyze visual representations of environmental concepts and processes. 
    Practice 3: Analyze sources of information about environmental issues.  
    Practice 4: Analyze research studies that test environmental principles.  
    Practice 5: Analyze and interpret quantitative data represented in tables, charts, and graphs.
    Practice 6: Apply quantitative methods to address environmental concepts.
    Practice 7: Propose and justify solutions to environmental problems.

    IB® Environmental Systems Learning Objectives:  
    3.1.1 Describe the nature and explain the implications of exponential growth in human populations.
    3.1.2 Calculate and explain, from given data, the values of crude birth rate, crude death rate, fertility, doubling time and natural increase rate.
    3.1.3 Analyse age/sex pyramids and diagrams showing demographic transition models.
    3.1.4 Discuss the use of models in predicting the growth of human populations.
    3.7.1 Explain the difficulties in applying the concept of carrying capacity to local human populations
    3.7.2 Explain how absolute reductions in energy and material use, reuse and recycling can affect human carrying capacity.
    3.8.4 Discuss how national and international development policies and cultural influences can affect human population dynamics and growth.
    3.8.5 Describe and explain the relationship between population, resource consumption and technological development, and their influence on carrying capacity and material economic growth.


    AP® is a registered trademark registered by the College Board®. IB® is a trademark registered by the International Baccalaureate Organization®. This work/product/service has been developed independently from and is not endorsed by the College Board® or the International Baccalaureate Organization®. 

bottom of page