World Population Activity I: Excel
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
- input numbers and labels
- format fonts, numbers, alignment, and cell widths
- use simple equations and how to copy these to other cells to generate a table from a mathematical formula (analytical model)
- learn about fixed and variable cell references in Excel equations
- make and format graphs with multiple curves
- learn about population dynamics and the logistic growth equation.
Context for Use
- Activity Sheet (Excel 2003 version) (Acrobat (PDF) PRIVATE FILE 1.2MB Aug10 03); Activity Sheet (Excel 2007 version) (Acrobat (PDF) 469kB Dec9 10)
- Answers Document (Excel PRIVATE FILE 90kB Apr3 04) with several sheets representing different levels of completion. These Excel documents can be used for either:
- Introducing concepts and ideas in an interactive lecture
- making transparencies or power point slides
- checking student results
- Sample images of what's in the Excel Answer Document and what students are expected to accomplish.
Figure 1. Predicted (modeled) populations for imaginary planet Xox for different initial growth rate values r.
Figure 2. Predicted (modeled) population growth for imaginary planet Xox for different initial growth rate values r.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Grading the completed activity sheet provided can be used as an assessment of student understanding. The future success of students on other Excel related activities is also another useful assessment tool.
An Excel Answers Document is provided above with several sheets representing different levels of completion for this activity. This can help instructors:
- assess student success for this activity;
- answer student questions that come up;
- quickly familiarize themselves with the activity.
References and Resources
In World Population Activity II, students compare actual data/projections of World Population from data files generated at UNEP.
The Resources for Earth Science and Geography Instruction site has several interesting links related to World population.
Other Background information The solution to the logistic differential equation