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GEO 07 – Population Structure: Construction of Population Pyramids


You can download this activity as a rich text file (RTF) using the links at the bottom of the page.


    Subject Area

    Geography


    Suggested Level

    Years 9–10


    Overview

    This activity studies the concept of population structure through the creation of a population pyramid for the Indigenous population of Australia. The pyramid may be drawn on paper or constructed interactively using a computer. Students are guided in how to describe the shape of a population pyramid. Comparison is made between the shape of the Indigenous pyramid and the pyramids for Australia's states and territories.


    Requirements

  • Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Calculator
  • To view the dynamic population pyramids on the ABS website you will need an Adobe SVG viewer to be installed on your computer


    Instructions

    6.1 Size of Population

    Begin the activity by asking students to guess the size of Australia's population and how many people are added each day to the population. Compare the estimates with the values provided on Australia's Population Clock by visiting the website. Discuss the changes to Australia's population using the statistics provided beneath the population clock.


    6.2 Structure of Australia’s Population

    Population structure refers to the composition of the population by age and sex. The characteristics of the population structure may be illustrated through the use of a population pyramid. To view examples go to Animated Population Pyramids.

    1. Ask students to collect statistics about their own age group from the animated Australian population pyramid. Enter data for both the current year and the year 2050. Record the data in a table similar to Table 1 below.

    Image: Table 1. Statistics about my age group.
    2. Discuss the changes identified by the students when completing this activity.


    6.3 Construction of a Population Pyramid

    1. Prior to construction of the population pyramid, ask students to complete Table 2.

    2. When the table is complete, construct a population pyramid for Australia's Indigenous population using Table 2 and one of the templates provided at the end of the activity. The interactive template in MS Excel format enables students to enter data on line and watch the pyramid develop. Students may copy and paste the completed pyramid by using the 'Print friendly worksheet'. Alternatively, use the paper version provided.


    TABLE 2: AGE BY SEX FOR INDIGENOUS PERSONS 2006 CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING AUSTRALIA
    Males% Persons Females% Persons Persons
    0-4 years28 2736.227 3066.055 579
    5-9 years29 6116.528 353
    10-14 years29 50228 0886.257 590
    15-19 years24 8835.523 62648 509
    20-24 years18 6604.118 8494.137 509
    25-29 years14 92315 8993.5
    30-34 years14 9923.316 4753.631 467
    35-39 years14 3933.216 48030 873
    40-44 years12 6312.814 2493.126 880
    45-49 years10 68611 8452.622 531
    50-54 years8 6011.99 3802.1
    55-59 years6 2616 9451.513 206
    60-64 years4 2280.94 7478 975
    65 years and over6 4231.48 7071.915 130
    Total224 06749.2230 94950.8455017
    Source: 2006 Census Community Profile Series: Indigenous Profile

    3. Ask the students to describe the shape of the population pyramid for Indigenous Australians using the following as guidelines: width of base, width of top, shape of the sides, height of the graph, proportion of males and females. Students should support their writing with statistics taken from the pyramid or the data provided.


    6.4 A comparison of Population Pyramids


    1. Divide the class into groups of eight students. Allocate one state or territory within Australia to each student in the group. Provide a worksheet consisting of a page subdivided into eight small boxes. Rule a vertical and horizontal axis in each small box and give each box the name of a state or territory (see website for attachment GEO_07_Worksheet). Access to one or more computers is required to complete this activity.

    2. Ask the students to find the animated population pyramid for their given state or territory and to create a thumbnail sketch of its shape for the current year.

    3. Students return to their groups and share their results by copying the shape of the pyramid for each state onto the
    worksheet.

    Note: The shape of the population pyramid is the focus of this activity. The horizontal scale varies with the size of population in each state. This should be noted when making the comparison between states.

    4. Compare the shape of the Indigenous population pyramid with those of Australian states and territories. Which state or territory most closely matches the shape of the Indigenous population pyramid?

    5. Discuss the reasons that explain the shape of the Indigenous population pyramid.



    Extension

    The size of population is different in each state and territory and this needs to be taken into account when making comparisons between the states and territories.

    1. The activity could be extended by constructing two worksheets. In version 1 the scale varies with the size of the state population (as it does with the animated population pyramids). In version 2, the scale on the horizontal axis is the same for each state and territory.

    2. Discuss the reasons for the variation in the shapes of the population pyramids for the Australian states and territories.


    Answers

    TABLE 2: AGE BY SEX FOR INDIGENOUS PERSONS 2006 CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING AUSTRALIA
    Males% Persons Females% Persons Persons
    0-4 years28 2736.227 3066.055 579
    5-9 years29 6116.528 3536.257 964
    10-14 years29 5026.528 0886.257 590
    15-19 years24 8835.523 6265.248 509
    20-24 years18 6604.118 8494.137 509
    25-29 years14 9233.315 8993.530 822
    30-34 years14 9923.316 4753.631 467
    35-39 years14 3933.216 4803.630 873
    40-44 years12 6312.814 2493.126 880
    45-49 years10 6862.311 8452.622 531
    50-54 years8 6011.99 3802.117 981
    55-59 years6 2611.46 9451.513 206
    60-64 years4 2280.94 7471.08 975
    65 years and over6 4231.48 7071.915 130
    Total224 06749.2230 94950.8455017



    FIGURE 1: INDIGENOUS POPULATION PYRAMID



    References


    Download the Activity

    Student Activity

Geo_07 Population Structure-Construction of Pop Pyramids_Studentworksheet.rtf


    Teacher Solutions


Geo_07 Population Structure-Construction of Pop Pyramids_Teacher Answer Sheet.rtf


    Marking Rubric


Geo_07 Pop Structure Rubric.rtf


    Attachments


Geo_07_Indigenous_pyramid.xls
Geo_07_Pop Structure_diagram_pyramid.pdf
Geo_07_Population Structure- Sketchpyramids.pdf



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