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Be Smart, PBS


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, History

Resource Type

  • Videos, 8 minutes, 21 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

How to Defuse the Overpopulation Bomb

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  • This animated video on overpopulation details how Earth's population has changed over time, why these changes have occurred, and what this might mean for our future. 
  • Increasing women's access to education is described as a key solution to curb population growth in parts of the developing world. 
  • The video ends with a short interview of Bill Gates where he describes the relationship between improving health and curbing population growth.
Teaching Tips


  • The video is optimistic when addressing the future health of our population and solutions for curbing population growth. 
  • Women empowerment is highlighted as a climate change solution that also slows population growth. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • There is an ad at the start of the video. 
  • At 5 minutes, 50 seconds the first portion of the video ends and the interview with Bill Gates begins. 


Scientist Notes
The resource explores the consequences of population growth, giving historical evidence. It explores the underlying factors and the measures that check future population growth. There is no contradiction in the video and this is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.8.2 Analyze the purpose of information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and evaluate the motives (e.g., social, commercial, political) behind its presentation.
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