Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12618

What is the speed limit for the streets around your home? If you'd like to find out how fast your family car can REALLY go, you'll have to move to Germany! Discover more about this big modern country!



learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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There are nearly 200 countries in the world today.

  • Which do you think has the most people?
  • Which has the least?

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.

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  • Were you close?
  • Which country surprised you the most?

Keep reading to discover how all those people live in Germany!

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 that is false. Even though it has the second-largest population size, Germany has the seventh-largest land area in Europe.

In this lesson, learn about the history, geography, and culture of this population-dense region.

A Brief History

The region known as Germany has a long and complex history.

Some of the world's ancient civilizations occupied it, including Rome. In addition, the region played a key geopolitical role during and after World War II.

To learn more, read A Brief History of Germany and create a timeline of important events that have occurred. Try to include at least eight in your timeline.

When you are finished, 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 did the outcome of the war impact Germany?
  • Why do you think Germany was the center of such political tension for centuries?


Find Germany on the map below. Write a few sentences describing its relative location on a separate piece of paper.

map of Europe

Germany is in Central Europe. Two bodies of water border it to the north: the Baltic and North Seas. It is also surrounded by these nine neighboring countries.

  Denmark France Czech Republic
  Netherlands Switzerland Poland
  Belgium Austria Luxembourg


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.

Use the arrow keys to view the map's legend.

  • What types of climates can you find when visiting Germany?

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Germany is predominantly characterized by two 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 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 sometimes become rather windy.

  • 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: executive, legislative, and judicial.

The executive branch has a Chief of State, the international representative of Germany, and a Chancellor, the head of the government.

The legislative branch is called Parliament and comprises two chambers or houses: the Bundestag and the Bundesrat. The Bundestag consists of elected representatives, and the Bundesrat consists of elected representatives from each German state.

Germany plays an active role in Europe. It is a member of the European Union (EU), 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 and answer these 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?

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Besides 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 adopting 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 ready, move to the Got It? section to learn how this large population gets around.

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