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Understanding the World

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The following is a sample geography standard for grades 5-8:

Human Systems

The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface.

By the end of the 8th grade, the student knows and understands:

  1. The demographic structure of a population.
  2. The reason for spatial variations in population distribution.
  3. The types and historical patterns of human migration.
  4. The effects of migration on the characteristics of places.

Therefore, the student is able to:

A. Describe the structure of different populations through the use of key demographic concepts, as exemplified by being able to:

Describe differences in the rate of population growth in developing and developed countries, using such concepts as rates of natural increase, crude birth-and-death rates, and infant mortality.

Explain changes that occur in the structure (age and gender) of a population as it moves through the different stages of the demographic transition.

Use population pyramids to depict the population structure of different societies (e.g., the youthful populations in Kenya and Mexico, the older populations in Germany and Sweden).

B. Analyze the population characteristics of places to explain population patterns, as exemplified by being able to:

Create population pyramids for different countries and organize them into groups based on similarities of age characteristics.

Demonstrate an understanding of demographic concepts (e.g., birthrate, death rate, population growth rate, doubling time, life expectancy, average family size) and explain how population characteristics differ from country to country.

Use population statistics to create choropleth maps of different countries or regions and suggest reasons for the population patterns evident on the maps (e.g., population density in Madagascar, population growth rates in South Africa).

C. Explain migration streams over time, as exemplified by being able to:

Identify the causes and effects of migration streams (e.g., the movement of the Mongols across Asia and into Europe in the thirteenth century, Chinese workers to western North America in the second half of the nineteenth century).

Identify and explain how physical and other barriers can impede the flow of people and cite examples of ways in which people have overcome such barriers (e.g., the Berlin Wall, the Appalachian and Rocky mountains, the closed border between North and South Korea).

Explain past and current patterns of rural-urban migration in the United States.

D. Describe ways in which human migration influences the character of a place, as exemplified by being able to:

Use maps and pictures from different periods to illustrate changes in a place due to migration (e.g., New Delhi before and after the partition of the Indian subcontinent in the 1940's and the massive realignment of the Hindu and Muslim populations; Boston before and after the large-scale influx of Irish immigrants in the mid-nineteenth century).

Explain how the movement of people can alter the character of a place (e.g., the impact of Indians settling in South Africa, Algerians settling in France, Vietnamese settling in the United States).

Identify ways in which human migration patterns are currently evident in urban service industries in the United States (e.g., the prevalence of immigrants among the ranks of taxi drivers, tailors, music teachers, restaurant workers).

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