Teaching Notes

Example Output

NOTE: This chapter was retired from the EET collection after CIESIN's US-Mexico Demographic Data Viewer became unavailable. The pages are available here for reference.

This map shows the variability of the population per square mile for each county in the state of New York, located within the US-Mid Atlantic region, as compared to each county in the state of New Mexico, located within the US-Border States region.

The key in the corner describes the range associated with each color.

Analyzing Populations Detail 8 Image

This map can be compared with maps produced by students during assessment.

Grade Level

Activity appropriate for grades 8-12. Dataset and tool use applicable for grades 5-16.

Learning Goals

After completing this chapter, students will be able to:

Instructional Strategies

Student preparation should include exposure to maps of the North American continent and familiarization with the concept of political boundaries to differentiate between countries, states, and counties. Also, discussions about population, including concepts related to population density or land use, such as urban and rural, will help prepare students for the activities presented in the chapter. Previous exposure to reading values that represent variables and to interpreting numeric values expressed as percentages will help students to interpret the data and the reports displayed.

The activities in this chapter can be completed either in a classroom setting or in a computer lab. Teacher led discussions can help introduce each mapping activity and reinforce the concepts when viewing the maps and statistical reports.

Completing the chapter activities in a computer lab will provide students with an interactive experience. Students can work in small groups to share techniques and discuss their results.

If completing the chapter activities in a classroom, a large display or computer screen should be available so that all of the students can see the maps as they are created.

Distributing printed copies of the Step-By-Step Instructions will assist students in completing the activities presented in the chapter and reduce the need to view the instructions on the screen while completing each step.

Learning Contexts

This chapter demonstrates how to engage in scientific inquiry by analyzing scientific data on populations. It introduces the concept of regions and provides an opportunity to analyze variables that represent population characteristics of states, such as the percent of population within specific age groups and population density. Analysis is conducted by selecting variables and viewing the results on color-coded maps to visualize differences in the population characteristics within the regions, states, or counties selected.

Science Standards

The following National Science Education Standards are supported by this chapter:

Grades 5-8

Grades 9-12

Geography Standards

The following U.S. National Geography Standards are supported by this chapter:

Time Required

1-2 hours

Assessment Strategies

To assess whether students have been able to create the map illustrating the variability of population per square mile for each county in the states of New York and New Mexico, compare the maps produced by students with the map presented at the beginning of the Teaching Notes.

To assess students' understanding of the concepts presented in this chapter, ask students to


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