Lesson Plan - Get It!
Put the following countries in order, starting with the one you think has the largest population size and ending with the one you think has the smallest population size. Then, read on to find out how all those people live!
At nearly 83,000,000 people, Germany has the second-largest population in all of Europe, exceeded only by Russia.
You may think that also means Germany has one of the largest land areas, but this is not the case. Even though it has the second-largest population size, Germany has the seventh-largest land area in all of Europe. In this lesson, you will learn about the history, geography, and culture of this population-dense region.
A brief history
The region currently known as Germany has had a long and complex history. It was once occupied by some of the world’s ancient civilizations, including Rome. In addition, the region played a key geopolitical role during and after World War II. To learn more about the history of this region, read the following article. As you read A Brief History of Germany (Tim Lambert, Localhistories.org), create a timeline of important events that have occurred in Germany. Try to include at least eight important events in your timeline.
When you are finished reading the article, use the timeline you created to help you answer the following questions on a separate piece of paper:
- In what ways has Germany changed since the Middle Ages?
- How many times has Germany been divided? Why have these divisions occurred?
- What role did Germany play during World War II? How was Germany impacted by the outcome of the war?
Discuss your responses with your teacher or parent. Why do you think Germany was a center of such political tension for so many centuries?
Find Germany on the map below. Write a few sentences describing its relative location on a separate piece of paper:
As you can see, Germany is located in Central Europe. It is bordered by two bodies of water to the north: the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. It is also surrounded by nine neighboring countries, including:
- Czech Republic
The terrain of Germany changes the farther south you go. The northern region is characterized by lowlands, with the elevation increasing as you move south. The southern region is home to the Bavarian Alps, which are large snow- and ice-covered mountains. The Bavarian Alps extend for about 70 miles. Zugspitze is the highest peak at 9,718 feet.
Find Germany on the Köppen climate map below. The Köppen climate classification system is one of the most commonly-used systems for identifying climate zones. It is named for the person who invented it, Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen. What types of climates can you find when visiting Germany?
As you can see, Germany is predominantly characterized by two types of climates. The eastern half of the country is known for having a temperate oceanic climate, and the western half is known for having a temperate continental climate.
- In a temperate oceanic climate, the temperature does not shift too much throughout the year. This region typically has cool, wet summers and winters.
- In a temperate continental climate, the temperature changes more throughout the year. This region is typically hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Precipitation throughout the year is moderate and the region can become rather windy at times.
Based on the weather, would you prefer to live in east or west Germany?
Germany’s government is a democratic, federal parliamentary republic. Like the United States, Germany has three branches of government: an executive branch, a legislative branch, and a judicial branch.
- The executive branch has a Chief of State, who acts as the international representative of Germany, and a Chancellor, who is the head of the government.
- The legislative branch is referred to as Parliament and is composed of two chambers or houses: the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The Bundestag consists of elected representatives, and the Bundesrat consists of an elected representatives from each German state.
Germany plays an active role in Europe. It is a member of the European Union (EU), that is a coalition of European nations that work together to promote stability and economic cooperation throughout the continent. To learn more about the role of the EU, watch the following video. As you watch What is the European Union? | BBC Newsbeat, answer the following questions on a separate piece of paper:
- When was the EU formed?
- What was the original organization that eventually became the EU?
- What was Winston Churchill’s original intent for the EU?
- How many countries are part of the EU today?
- What are some of the benefits of being a member of the EU?
In addition to being a member of the EU, Germany is also a member of the Eurozone, which was briefly mentioned in the video. The Eurozone is a coalition of 19 EU countries that have all adopted the same currency, the Euro. On a separate piece of paper, write down what you think are some of the pros and cons of using the same currency throughout neighboring European countries.
Germany has the fifth-largest economy in the world. It is a world leader in manufacturing, producing machinery, automobiles, and household equipment. It also offers many natural resources, such as iron, copper, nickel, and uranium. In today’s world, natural resources used to create energy are among the most valuable. Germany offers natural energy resources, such as coal and natural gas. This combination of manufacturing industries, natural resources, and energy resources has made Germany an economic powerhouse and has enabled its citizens to live comfortable lifestyles.
You have had the opportunity to learn about the history, geography, and culture of one of Europe’s most-populated countries.
When you are ready, move on to the Got It? section to learn how this large population gets around.