Elbow Room - Exploring Population Density and Land use Issues

Watch - The 300 millionth American New York Times online video

Population Density is the total population within the state's geographic boundaries measured in terms of persons per square mile.
This project determines the amount of land in a state on which people can live or work. You will also determine the amount of land available for each person.

This is an exercise in gathering data from tables and web sites. You will use the data to create a spreadsheet.
From the spreadsheet - you will generate a bar graph (chart).

Online data resources:

U.S. Census | 50 States - data | NLCD Land Cover Statistics Database | Public Forest acreage by State | Forest inventory by state
National Atlas | Population Reference Bureau | Mapping out a new world order CNN

Which state has the greatest area? What is the state's acreage? How much land in the state is held by the Federal government?

Which state has the least area? What is the state's acreage? How much land in the state is held by the Federal government?

What is your state's area? What is the acreage? How much land in your state is held by the Federal government?

Get the picture

Make a Spreadsheet (Excel | AppleWorks | iWork Numbers | Google Docs Spreadsheets. | Gnumeric ).

Enter the data. Create a bar chart/graph that shows the information you have collected.

 

blackboard with numbers If the land were portioned out equally...

How much useable land is available per person in your state or commonwealth?

How much useable land is available per person in your school district?

Keep in mind - Federal Lands are not available. Should square acres of water be included? Your state or commonwealth may also have set aside lands like state parks. Who would like to live on a Superfund site? Can you identify other uninhabitable land features?

Use the most current data you can find. Hint: State government web sites can be a treasure trove of data.

Compare your findings with a state located in another region of the US. Which one has more elbow room - more available land person?

Make a spreadsheet (Excel | AppleWorks). Enter the data. Create a bar chart/graph that shows the information you have collected.

 

question mark Extend your thinking:

Which county or parish in your state or commonwealth has the most Federal land?

How much land in your county or parish is Federal land?

What are the positives of having government held lands in your county?

How does this present a challenge for local government?

Your community could undergo a significant change in population. What challenges will that present?

 

cross Extra effort:

Complete - Population Density exercise | The Genographic Project | GIS | GPS | Green Maps Around the World

Consider: States in West and South to gain political clout in 2010

Elections & Voting | Gerrymandering - does your vote count? | Selecting the President - Electoral College

Generate a map of your state's population density by county at the U.S. Census Bureau site - Make some observations.

Explore the issues of population growth versus decline described in - It is getting crowded in here by CBS/AP news.
Where do you come down on growing the population in your community, state or the USA?

Single Women | Community Development | Government's role in Diversity | Put your town on the map

Ecology - Population Dynamics | Tree Inventory & Map Project


"No man acquires property without acquiring with it a little arithmetic also." Ralph Waldo Emerson


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2006 Cynthia O'Hora Posted 11/2006, Utd 11/09

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Academic Standards:
Geography - Standard B. Essential Skills 2.
The student will understand the regional distribution of the human population at local to global scales and its patterns of change.

Mathematics - Data Analysis & Probability
Find, use, and interpret measures of center and spread, including mean and interquartile range.
Discuss and understand the correspondence between data sets and their graphical representations
Use observations about differences between two or more samples to make conjectures about the populations from which the samples were taken.
Use conjectures to formulate new questions and plan new studies to answer them.
Science and Technology
3.7.7 A. Apply computer software to solve specific problems. • Identify and solve basic software problems relevant to specific software applications.
Demonstrate a basic knowledge of desktop publishing applications.

Proof your responses. It is funny how speling errors and typeos sneak in to the bets worck. smiling icon