005 - A Lost


Debatable Question

Population change always causes technological innovation which negatively impacts resource sustainability.

Key Terminology

  • Innovation

  • Networks

  • Sustainability

We have defined the key terms above in previous lessons, go back over them to remind yourselves of their meaning.

Activity One - Research

We are going to be exploring how relevant Malthusian theory actually is. We will be exploring this through the historical example of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and a more modern(ish) example of Mauritius. Before we begin to link what has happened to these two areas to Malthusian theory we need to initially develop a fact file to develop our knowledge of these places. We are initially going to focus on Rapa Nui by watching the video - you will be asked to watch a section of the video and make notes on the shared Google Doc (your name is next to the time on the 2022 Crowdsourcing Notes Rapa Nui below).. You will then create a fact file about Rapa Nui by using the notes from the video and by exploring a number of resources in the 'Useful Resources' box. Once you have created a fact file for Rapa Nui you will be asked to do the same for Mauritius.


  • Location - Map

  • Distance from nearest countries

  • Landscape - shape, vegetation, size of the island

  • 'Discovered' when and by who?

  • Population - how has it changed?

  • Food

  • Resources

  • Ideas behind the causes of population change.


You will be able to choose how you record the information but you will be given the following:

  • A4 plain paper

  • Pencil

  • Ruler

  • Coloured pens

Useful Resources

Rapa Nui

Useful Resources


Activity Two - Extended Writing

Now you have learnt about two different areas of the world and how they have reacted to a change in their population you are going to be asked to write an extended piece of writing (essay) answering the following question:

With the aid of a historical AND a contemporary example, discuss how far they can be used as illustrations of Malthusian theory.

Tackling the Question

Before you can begin to plan your answer to this question you need to consider what it is actually asking of you. Follow the steps below to identify and understand the question.

  1. BUG the question.

            • Box the command term. This is the doing word and it will tell you how to 'attack' the question. You may need to define the command term.

            • Underline the 'Geography'. What is the focus of the essay from what we have studied?

            • Go back and re-read the question.

2. Collect a copy of the 'Think, Pair, Share' sheet below and complete the routine.

Planning -The Geography

          • This will all be done on paper.

          • Show an understanding of Malthusian and Neo-Malthusian Theory.

          • Show an understanding of how the examples population have been impacted by resource availability/bio-capacity.

          • Perhaps consider the idea of an open and closed system.

          • To include graphs which show the changes in population.

          • What is the opposing argument? Perhaps consider the importance of external factors such as the country's network (migration/trade/knowledge) in the changes in population. Is there any evidence of Boserup's theory working within the two countries?


      • Introduction - What is Malthusian theory? What your main ideas are. What examples of place you are going to use.

      • Main Body - Three/four key paragraphs focusing on for and against the assertion arguments. Remember to explain your idea and then to illustrate it using examples of place (Mauritius and Rapa Nui).

      • Conclusion - Summarising your points and deciding if the statement is more true or false. No new ideas.

Essay Structure

        • Five paragraph essay - including a clear introduction and conclusion

        • P = point - what is your main idea for the paragraph?

        • E = explain - say why your main point occurs

        • E = exemplify - give an example of place with data to illustrate your point

        • L = link back to the question - to show the relationship between your point and what the essay is asking of you


      • 1000 word limit

      • Typed - size 12 font

      • Tahoma, New Times Roman or Verdana font

      • Create a header and write in it your name, the year, and I&S.

      • Footnotes and a Bibliography to cite your sources (MLA format)

      • Each map or graph used should be labeled with a figure number and a title e.g. 'Figure 1 - A Map of Rapa Nui.

      • Submit a pdf of your essay onto ManageBac so that turnitin can be used

      • Print out your essay to hand to your teacher on the due date

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed on Criterion A - Knowing and understanding, Criterion B - Investigation (strands ii and iii), Criterion C - Communicating, and Criterion D - Thinking critically (strands i and ii)

Assessment Task - A Lost Civilization - Subject-Specific Criteria

Activity Three - Extension - Future Predictions

How relevant is Malthusian theory today? Answer the following questions:

      1. Where in the world do you think a similar scenario may happen? Explain your answer.

      2. Do you think it would be allowed to happen again? Explain your answer.

      3. What factors may prevent Malthus's theory from happening again?

Alternative Task (Activities One and Two)

Activity One - Investigation

Your task is to investigate why the people of Rapa Nui disappeared and to present your findings to the group. You will be working in teams of 3 or 4.

Devising a Concept Question

      1. As a team devise a concept question for the project. The command word which you use is important as it could narrow your focus. Try and use the specific MYP Humanities command words which are on display in the classroom.

      2. Remember you will need to back up your theories with specific data and archaeological evidence.


To answer your question you will need to research and record your answers thoroughly. To record your teams findings you will use a MindMeister Map which you will share with me. Consider the following points when researching:

      1. Map - Where is the island located? Remember to label the key features such as mountains, rivers, ports, natural resources, etc.

      2. Inhabitants - Who lived there and when? Why did they go there? What did they do? Why are they famous?

      3. Disappearance - What happened to the island for the people to disappear? Think about the types of resources they used.

      4. Today - How is the island described today? Has it recovered?

Activity Two - Evaluations and Reflections

Complete the grid in the link below as you listen to the different presentations.

Easter Island Evaluations - Year 11