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Lesson 2: The Population Pyramid

Time Frame: 60 Minutes


Overarching Goals

The students will be introduced to the factors that influence a population’s age structure. They will learn how one can create and interpret a population pyramid. This basic graph not only shows the age structure of the population in a given year, but also shows what will happen to this population in the following years.


Overarching Skills

  • Encourage critical thinking
  • Observe, analyse, interpret
  • Develop one’s own point of view
  • Identify data sources and how they can be used




Overview of the Activities

Activity 1: Population Structure and Population Pyramids (20 Minutes)

The students can work individually, with a partner or in small groups to read the texts and answer the questions. With this information, they can complete the worksheet "Different Types of Population Pyramids".


Activity 2: Interpreting a Population Pyramid (10 + 5 Minutes)

The students should examine, analyse and interpret this population pyramid that represents Germany’s population in 1991. Then, they should discuss the accompanying questions in small groups (5 minutes) and present their answers and interpretations to the class.


Population distribution


Activity 3: Calculating with Population Data (10 Minutes)

The students can work in partners or as a class to try and complete the following calculations. You can provide the worksheet "Activity 1 – Small Group 1" with the necessary equations to calculate the dependency ratio, the young-age dependency ratio and the old-age dependency ratio.


Activity 4: Working with the App A Life Journey (10-15 Minutes)

The students should look at chapters 2, 6, 7 and 8 of the app A Life Journey, which provide expert knowledge on ageing itself and the ageing society. Subsequently, they should discuss the questions on the topic in pairs, and experience has shown that they are more motivated to participate if the questions are freely selected. Alternatively, all questions can be answered by all students. At the end, interesting results (e.g. How long would you like to work? With whom would you like to live with in old age?) can be collected and evaluated, and presented as a diagram for the class.

  • Chapter 2: "How important are my early years of life?"
  • Chapter 6: "How do ageing societies work?"
  • Chapter 7: "Is there a formula for healthy ageing?"
  • Chapter 8: "How can I remain independent in old age?"


*To use the app in the classroom, the students need access to an iPhone or an iPad. The app can be downloaded for free from the App Store.*

Lesson 2 Cover