Lesson: Iran in Demographics (Math connections)
Lesson Name: Iran through Demographics Course: High School Language Arts by Anke al-Bataineh
Students will be able to interpret pie and bar graphs of demographic information
Students will understand class differences and what they imply in Iranian society
Students will understand religious diversity in Iran
Essential Questions: (write on board)
What are people’s lives like in Iran?
How can we use numbers and graphs to understand this?
sidewalk chalk, large area with concrete/paved surface
Large index cards with vocab. Words printed on them
Calculator (to create proportional numbers with however many students are in your class)
Portable White Board and Marker
Articles on Iranian Demographics (Attached)
Teacher Guide to Demographics in Iran
Anticipatory Set: (3 min)
Tell students we are going to learn about a country (Iran) by looking at its demographics. Ask if students know what this means. Write the definition in big letters on the board. I use “numbers and statistics that tell us how many people fit into different categories within an area.” Ask if they can think of some categories you might want to study about a country, like “how many people _____________?”
Input: (15 mins) Intrapersonal
Spread dictionaries around the room. Pass out index cards to students with the following terms. If a student knows or wants to look up the meaning, they should keep the card. If they want, they can switch with a neighbor. Provide 2-3 minutes for them to write the definition on the card. Then, transcribe (10 mins) or paste (2 mins) these on the board or overhead, depending on the time you have and the difficulty of the words for students.
6. Social Class
9. Margin of Error
14. Birth Rate
21. Other (when used in a graph or chart)
Guided Practice: (35 min) Kinesthetic
When terms have been understood by most of the class, take the class outside into a courtyard, playground, alley or sidewalk. Tell the students that you are going to arrange them to represent how many people in Iran fit into some categories, so that they can learn some general ideas about Iran. (I bring along a stuffed Ugly Doll, which I happen to have, and say that it represents less than one person.) You may elect a particularly disruptive or physically active student to draw the chalk outlines after looking at the original chart and placing all the people.
If you have a large number of students, you might choose to draw the chalk outline once they are properly placed. I recommend drawing a big circle that should fit everyone beforehand, placing them, and then drawing chalk divisions between the sections. Label the sections and then ask students to look around and see if they can draw a conclusion. Write reasonable conclusions on the white board so you can bring them back to the classroom.
Conclusion/Assessment: (12 min) Logical, Verbal
Once you have done this for each chart (starting with the easiest and moving to the more complex), take the class inside and discuss the conclusions drawn from the demographics. For example, we saw that only a little more than half of the country is ethnically Persian. What problems might we forsee due to this diversity? Do we notice any correlations between ethnic groups and languages spoken? What does this tell us about society? What similarities and differences do we see between Iran and the United States?
Expansion on this topic:
I assign the Youthful structures article for Independent reading (in class if there’s time, or homework if they do it) and ask them to respond to the following questions. It is challenging to read, so I tell them to skip the words they don’t know and underline ideas they can understand. You might choose to assign any of the other related articles.
1. Why did Iran’s population grow a lot in the 1970s?
2. How did the government feel about this?
3. What did the government do?
4. How did the government’s plan work out?
5. Is there a population problem in Iran currently?
Vocab to Watch Out For:
see index card list
What went well?
What would you change?
What needs explanation?
Students enjoyed moving around and drew conclusions quickly about a mostly young population, little religious diversity, and a big difference between the US and Iran in terms of immigration issues. They anticipated that while the US is worried about who to let in, Iran might worry more about how to make people want to stay.
During the outside portion of this activity, students will have to interact physically and in close proximity. Take precautions about students who might interact inappropriately in this setting, separating them or talking to them ahead of time about expectations.
Not a math whiz? That’s okay! Here’s how you figure out how many students go into each bar or slice on your human graph. Convert the percentage to a decimal, and then multiply that decimal by the number of students you are “using.” To emphasize difference, round bigger portions up and smaller portions down. This will never be exact. An example: You have 26 students, and need 51% to stand in the “Persian” ethnicity category. Using a calculator, multiply 0.51 x 26. You should get 13.26. Put 13 students in that area and say it’s “about half.”