004 - Population


Factual Questions:

What is a population pyramid?

How can population pyramids be linked to the Demographic Transition Model?

Key Terminology

            • Population Pyramid

Define the word above using the resource in the 'Useful Link' below:

Useful Link

Activity One - What is a population pyramid? What do they show?

Graphical information is key for geographers to help them to represent different ideas and findings. Population pyramids can help us to understand the population structure of a country or region within a country. By analysing them we can infer what possibly may happen in the future and plan for the services and resources that may be required to cope with any population change.

      1. What do population pyramids represent?
      2. Using diagrams describe the three main pyramid shapes.
      3. Give two examples for each of the the three main pyramid shapes.

Activity Two - Making Pyramids

We are now going to be creative by using Lego to develop example population pyramids for the different stages of the Demographic Transition Model. You will be given a selection of Lego pieces to complete this activity.

      1. Using the lego provided, build a population pyramid for each stage of the Demographic Transition Model.
      2. Draw the models on paper and next to them justify (suggest why) you have chosen that shape for the five different stages of the Demographic Transition Model. Below the image are suggested ways to help you to do this.

Image One - Lego


Justify - Give valid reasons or evidence to support an answer or conclusion.


  1. Draw the population pyramid (remember to use a pencil to draw).
  2. Justify the shape and why it would link to the stage of the Demographic Transition Model.

Suggested sentence beginnings:

I have drawn the pyramid with a ... (describe the shape).

This illustrates Stage One of the Demographic Transition Model because ...

Key Words

  • Birth rates
  • Death rates
  • Life expectancy
  • Economically active
  • Curve
  • Steep
  • Steady
Population Pyramids and the DTM

Activity Three - Analyse

Now you have an understanding of what a population pyramid is and how they help to tell a 'story' about a particular country or region within a country, you are now going to analyse two different pyramids. What does analyse mean?

Analyse - Break down in order to bring out the essential elements or structure. To identify parts and relationships, and to interpret information to reach conclusions.

Suggestions of How To Approach This

              • Initially describe the graphs.
                    • Describe the 'obvious' - what is the general shape.
                    • Include the 'specific' - use the data in your answer when you describe. In this case years and percentages.
                    • Describe the 'odd' - is there an anomaly that you wouldn't expect? Remember to include data (numbers).
                    • Explain the shape - the obvious and the odd.

How will I be assessed?

You will be formatively (to let me know what your understanding is so you can improve) assessed using Criteria A - Knowing and Understanding and Criteria D - Thinking Critically.

Formative Assessment - Population Pyramids