Who do you think you are?


National Geographic have recently been running a special series in their magazines and online, about the world’s population of 7 billion people, and how different countries have to adjust in order to cope with this massive population growth.

The series offers some fantastic articles for use with advanced students, for example how cities are the answer to our growing population, and how we can ensure that we have enough food to feed everyone when climate change is threatening food production. In themselves, these interesting texts would be a fantastic resource for a reading lesson.

On top of these informative articles, however, National Geographic has created a fantastic video about who the most typical person in the world is: their nationality, their native language, their income and job type, and so on. It’s a really intriguing video and will present your students with an interesting perspective on the composition of our global population. And the answers might even surprise them!

The resources in National Geographic’s 7 Billion series could provide countless opportunities for lessons. Why not ask students to compare themselves individually with the world’s most typical person, or you could get them to discover the most typical person in their class by doing group questionnaires on age, nationality, native language, how many languages they speak, and any other information included in the National Geographic video or that you or they think necessary to a ‘class census’. Once they’ve compiled the data, they could work in groups to create posters or even a digital infographic! They can then present their posters or infographics to the rest of the group to promote discussion and conversation. Alternatively, you could split your class into groups and give each group some individual country data and ask them to compile such posters for each country, and then present that to the rest of the class.

If you wanted some simple activities to use to introduce the topic, the English Campus contains lots of relevant activities. Two nice news items you could use are ‘Why megacities pose big problems’ and ‘China’s economy to outgrow America’s by 2030 as world faces ‘tectonic shift’. For a nice language exercise, try ‘Protecting our planet’ to get your students to practise phrasal verbs as well as learning about the global issues affecting us today.

And if your students do create any posters or infographics with the findings of their class surveys, please share them with us here on blendedmec, or over on our Facebook , Twitter or Google+ pages!


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