Proportion and percentages as topics have never been so emotive

Every now and then I receive an email from one of my friends or family with a presentation attached. The content of this could be pictures of anything from people doing dangerous things, lucky escapes for aircraft landings to inspirational quotations. Most of the time I enjoy looking at these but would never see a use for them in the mathematics classroom.

Last week however, I received the presentation below that starts with:

If you could fit the entire population of the world into a village consisting of 100 people, maintaining the proportions of all the people living on Earth, that village would consist of:

  • 57 Asians
  • 21 Europeans
  • 14 Americans
  • 8 Africans

It goes on to supply thought provoking statistics that all relate to looking at different proportions of people in the world. If you teach pupils in the Western world who all have iPods and laptops, this presentation should hopefully make them realise how lucky they are by using the idea of mathematical proportion to do so. Since it scales the world population down to a village of 100 people, it could also be used to introduce the concept of percentages.

Click here to download the presentation.

This week one of my pupils told me for Christmas he got a 32-inch Samsung LED television for his bedroom. One minute later his hand was up asking me if he could borrow a ruler! What does this say about society???!!!

NOTE: you should certainly view the presentation beforehand and check that your pupils won’t be overly upset/ affected by some of the issues raised. Also, making it clear that wandering around with a metal pole in a storm is not sensible may also be appropriate…!

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1 Response

  1. Fiona Jostsons says:

    Another good you tube video to look at the proportion of the world’s population is The Miniature Earth Project.

    Thanks for all your great teaching ideas! Truly excellent!

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