In this lesson, students learn about the effects of a high population density and what it would be like to live in one of the world's most densely populated areas—Tokyo, Japan—and it's suburbs. Students will analyze pictures, population density maps, and a short article to build their understanding of Japan's population and population density. Then, students watch an interview with an Oklahoma city planner to learn about what city planners do and their career paths.
Can too many people live in one area? How does city planning help accommodate large amounts of people living in one area?
Students consider a personal experience when they were in a densely populated area and what precautions were taken to help deal with that high population density. Through sharing answers, the class creates a Collective Brain Dump.
Students analyze pictures and maps of Tokyo Prefecture, then deduce what those pictures and maps mean in terms of the area's high population density.
Students read a short article about how Tokyo Prefecture is accommodating its dense population. Students then discuss their thoughts with an Elbow Partner.
Students watch an interview with a real city planner from Oklahoma, recording notes with the Window Notes strategy.
The completed Window Notes and interview questions serve as assessments for this lesson.
Lesson slides (attached)
City Planning in Tokyo reading (attached; one per student)
Window Notes handout (attached; one per student)
Use the attached Lesson Slides to guide the lesson. Begin with slide 3. Briefly, read aloud the lesson objective. Then, read the essential questions: Can too many people live in one area? How does city planning help accommodate large amounts of people living in one area? Ask students to think about how they would answer this question: What problems have you noticed when you are in a small area or event that is suddenly packed with lots of people? Move to slide 4, which features an image of a large crowd of people. Ask students to think about a time when they went somewhere with large amounts of people (e.g., the county fair, the mall on Black Friday, a concert, an amusement park, a sporting event, a rodeo, etc.) and if they noticed any problems that resulted from so many people being in the same place.
After giving students about two minutes to think about their answers, have them share their thoughts with an Elbow Partner. After another 2–3 minutes of partner discussion, ask partner groups to share their answers with the class. Through this discussion, generate a class list of problems that might occur with large groups of people in a small area. This strategy is called a Collective Brain Dump. Transition to the next activity by telling students they will now look at Japan and the most populated city in the world, Tokyo. They will learn how Tokyo manages high population density through some of their city planning.
Display slide 5. Ask students to look at the map of Japan and the quick facts about Japan and Tokyo's population.
Pass out a copy of the attached Window Notes graphic organizer to each student. During the next activity, students should use the Window Notes strategy to fill in their graphic organizers piece-by-piece. Next, invite students to look at a series of pictures that demonstrate the dense populations at different locations in the Tokyo Prefecture. Ask students to, for every picture they see, write down what they observe happening in the picture. Students should write their observations in the upper left-hand box of the Window Notes graphic organizer. Move to slide 6, which contains three picture links. Show each picture individually, allowing time for students to make observations and write their observations on the graphic organizer.
After students have recorded their observations from the pictures, have them pair with their partners to discuss what they wrote and add to their observations anything their partners noticed that they may have missed. Ask a few partner groups to share out with the class what they observed. Transition to the next activity by telling students they are going to look at some additional maps that will provide more information about Tokyo's population density.
Move to slide 7, which contains a population density map of the Tokyo Prefecture. Tell students to record anything they observe about this map in the upper right-hand box of their Window Notes graphic organizers. Next, repeat with slide 8, which contains Tokyo's subway map, and slide 9, which highlights countries in the world with smaller populations than Tokyo Prefecture.
After students have recorded their observations in their Window Notes graphic organizers, have them meet with their partners and share and discuss their observations. Again, ask them to add any information they may have missed that their partners found. At this point, ask several groups to share out what they observed in both the pictures and the maps. After this discussion, display slide 10 and have students draw conclusions about what they observed in the pictures and graphics. Make sure that they fill out the lower left-hand box of the Window Notes graphic organizer, answering the questions, "What do you now know about Tokyo's dense population? How do Tokyo officials deal with population issues?"
Transition to the next activity by telling students that they are going to read about Tokyo to further their knowledge about population density.
Display slide 11. Pass out a copy of the attached City Planning in Tokyo reading to each student. This short reading on population density in Tokyo discusses the ways in which the prefecture accommodates such a large population. Before students read, have them look at the question in the lower right-hand box on the Window Notes graphic organizer. Tell them to keep this question, "How does Tokyo plan or prepare for dense population-related issues?", in mind as they read. After they have finished reading, ask students to complete the graphic organizer. Once they have completed their graphic organizers, have them once again share their answers with a partner. Ask a few partner groups to share out with the whole class. If there is any additional information you believe the students still need, share it with the class at this point in the lesson.
Transition students by telling them that many of these decisions were made by Tokyo officials who understand city planning.
Display slide 12. Before showing the city planner interview, ask students to listen for possible responses to the following questions: "What does a city planner do? What is their daily work? How does city planning help manage large populations of people? What other aspects go into city planning?" Then, move to slide 13. Play the video on the slide. Alternatively, you can use the embedded version of the video below or the link here: "ICAP - People Here, People There, People, People Everywhere."
Ask students to jot down notes in the lower left-hand box provided on the second page of the Window Notes graphic organizer about any information they learn from the video. After the video is finished, ask them to compare the city planning interview in the video to what they know about city planning in Tokyo. Have students share their answers with an Elbow Partner. Display slide 14. Have students revisit the essential question, "Can too many people live in an area?" together and write down their opinions in the right-hand box provided on the second page of the graphic organizer. After a minute or two, ask a few student pairs to share out with the class what they observed from the interview. Their answers to the opinion question do not need to be shared.
The Window Notes and the completed interview questions serve as formative assessments for the lesson.
K20 Center. (n.d.). Collective brain dump. Strategies. https://learn.k20center.ou.edu/strategy/baee4e90c5fa1a7060ca04dd8b00450e
K20 Center. (n.d.). Elbow partners. Strategies. https://learn.k20center.ou.edu/strategy/ccc07ea2d6099763c2dbc9d05b00c4b4
K20 Center. (2020, May 26). ICAP - People here, people there, people everywhere. [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/neRA3yz7bwQ
K20 Center. (n.d.) Window notes. Strategies. https://learn.k20center.ou.edu/strategy/fc74060730ea745c8c4f356aa2015ac0